"A laneway house, as defined by the city, is a small house or cottage built on the space provided for a garage. Allowed on lots 33 feet wide or wider, it can be rented, or provide alternate or additional housing for the property owner, family members or a caregiver.
It is not a stratified property, and cannot be bought or sold, as can infill housing, which is generally larger and subject to different regulations.
Last December, city council unanimously voted to allow an initial 100 laneway houses to be built in single-family neighbourhoods citywide--in either the space permitted for parking, or by converting existing garages.
While laneway housing is just one of the recommended "actions" in the city's EcoDensity Charter, also unanimously approved last year, "significant public support" for the policy convinced council to move ahead with it, and give it a trial run. "There's a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation out there about EcoDensity and the process--and it's made peopled distrustful," says Coun. Raymond Louie. "So it's important to break out each of the components and do a better job of explaining the benefits and negatives."