Panhandle lots are typically developed at the rear of an existing home and accessed by a narrow strip of land. Previously, there were no policies to guide the development of panhandle lots. All ‘R’ and ‘RE’ zones now include regulations for this housing typology. A Development Permit would be required to develop a panhandle lot within the Urban Settlement Area.
What has changed?
- The new OCP policies clarify that:
- Panhandle lots are not the preferred form of development. This is because it can be challenging for panhandle lots to contribute positively to the streetscape, and they may impact neighbours more so by developing closer to private rear yards.
- Building height should be limited to one storey on panhandle lots. If a variance to increase height is received, the following criteria should be considered:
- A predominant 2-storey building height on adjacent properties,
- No variance to setbacks are proposed,
- A reduced building footprint is proposed to protect trees or other natural features,
- A shadow study confirms impacts are minimal,
- Topography would not exacerbate potential overlook,
- A sensitive building design mitigates potential impacts,
- The dwelling on the standard lot is 2 storeys and the panhandle dwelling would not sit any higher.
What are the new regulations?
- All ‘R’ and ‘RE’ zones now include regulations for panhandle lots.
- Panhandle lots are limited to 25% lot coverage and a 4.5 m building height (1-storey).
- On ‘RE’ lots the building height can be increased to 8.0 m if setbacks are at least 8 m from all property lines.
- Accessory dwelling units (suites or cottages) are not permitted on a panhandle lot within the Urban Settlement Area.
- A Development Permit would be required to develop a panhandle lot within the Urban Settlement Area.
- The Subdivision Regulations now include access strip requirements (see below).
Subdivision Regulations for Access Strip
- The minimum lot frontage and width of an access strip serving a panhandle lot is 6.0 m, except that where the access strip is straight, 45 m or less in length, and has clear site lines from end to end, the lot frontage and width may be reduced to 4.5 m.
- Where an access strip is not straight but is 45 m or less in length, the Approving Officer may accept a reduced lot frontage and width, subject to it being demonstrated that the site lines and vehicle clearances meet or exceed engineering standards that would serve a handi-dart bus and ambulance.
- The lot frontage and width of an access strip may be reduced to 3.5 m where two adjacent panhandle lots have abutting access strips and a reciprocal access agreement is registered on title, which shall include the District as a party for the sole purpose of ensuring the agreement is not modified or discharged without the approval of the District.