Vancouver councillors have officially finished two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods that are currently restricted to single-family homes.

The decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for young families pushed out of the Vancouver market by soaring property prices.

A press release from the mayor’s office says the policy change will allow duplexes on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering more affordable options than detached homes.

The 7-4 vote was split along Mayor Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party’s Adriane Carr voted against it.

Robertson said the duplex proposal is not a “silver bullet” that will resolve Vancouver’s housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.

“Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,” he says in the release.

The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.

Robertson says the policy is a “modest, but important change.”

As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor’s office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.

“Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,” the release states.

That report could potentially be brought to council by next summer.

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