Creston Housing Hub

Housing Action Plan

Moving forward

It takes an entire community working together to tackle something as complicated as our housing crisis. We need to work together to build this community of equal opportunities, safety, and enjoyment, and we need housing for everyone.

The Town of Creston Council adopted a Housing Action Plan that provides the Town of Creston with recommended actions to help face the current challenges Creston residents have finding affordable, secure, and healthy housing. The actions are listed in the following four priority areas: 

Action 1 (Complete): Create a Housing Liaison position to act as a housing advocate and support homeowners, non-market housing providers, and developers in Creston.

In December, 2022 the Town hired an Affordable Housing and Climate Change Coordinator.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, developing accessory dwelling unit information, developing and updating this Housing website, providing education sessions on energy efficient developments, and coordinating with other communities to address barriers to new housing development.

Action 2: Increase housing density and lower parking requirements in the R4 Residential High-Density Zone in Creston, BC.

This will help encourage the development of more affordable housing options and attract senior government funding or private rental or condominium development.

The recommended changes include:

  • A density of 2:1 FAR
  • A height of 12.2m
  • A lot coverage of 75%
  • A parking requirement of 0.75 per studio/1 bedroom, 1 per 2 bedroom, and 1.25 per 3 bedroom or larger with a 50% reduction for rental
  • Private outdoor space of 10% of unit size allowed as common indoor space instead
  • Common outdoor space of 3.7 m2 (40 sq ft) per unit, minimum 93 m2 (1001 sq ft)
  • Setbacks of 6m in the front and rear, 3m on the interior side, and 5m on the exterior side lot line.

Action 3: Provide Development Cost Charge waivers for rental housing (100%) and strata developments, including apartments and multi-family housing (50%).

Development Cost Charges are currently limited to a small number of properties in Creston where housing could be developed but are expected to expand in the near future. It is important that development cost charges do not become a further disincentive to multi-family housing development.

The current development cost charges in Creston are $1,754.06 per unit, which equates to only about 0.6% of total development costs for rental development and 0.3% for strata developments. 

Action 4: Provide existing municipal land and acquire new land for non-market housing.

The Town of Creston should identify land it currently owns that could be used for housing and establish appropriate policies and processes to gift it to non-market housing providers. The Town should also look to gain additional land for this purpose through partnership arrangements and through the rezoning process. The Town may also consider purchasing land for this purpose. 

Action 5: Create an Affordable Housing Fund.

Establishing an Affordable Housing Fund creates a financial reserve from which the Town of Creston can assign funding to support a variety of non-market housing projects, including emergency housing, supportive housing, special needs housing, independent below-market rental, and co-op housing.

Action 6: Allocate a portion of property tax revenues to the Affordable Housing Fund.

An allocation of 2.5% of property taxes would raise approximately $123,000 based on the 2022 Town of Creston Budget. The funds would be used to support non-market housing projects. 

Action 7: Lobby the Province to be able to apply Development Cost Charges to new development to help fund employee housing. 

The Development cost charge system divides the cost of providing municipal services between new developments and existing taxpayers. However, this system might not solve all the problems because there aren’t many new developments in Creston that would be subject to the employee housing development cost charge. The Housing Action Plan also suggests that the charges for certain types of housing could be reduced or waived completely.

Action 8: Extend property tax exemptions for new rental development beyond 2024.

This will provide financial benefits by reducing operating costs. The Town of Creston should consider extending the program beyond 2024 until some rental housing starts to be built.

Action 9: Increase the permitted size of Accessory Dwelling Units.

Attached accessory dwelling units are often referred to as secondary suites, and detached accessory dwelling units are small buildings that are a home for one household. The proposal is to increase the size of attached and detached accessory dwelling units to allow homeowners to develop multi-bedroom family-oriented units.

Action 10: Permit more Accessory Dwelling Units per lot.

Suites can be important mortgage helpers and expanding the allowance to duplexes (now permitted by the BC Building Code) may be important as duplex prices rise. For both single-family dwelling and duplex lots, allowing up to four dwelling units per lot may encourage more homeowners to becoming landlords or create opportunities for these types of homes to be effectively triplex or fourplex properties.

Action 11: Reduce Accessory Dwelling Unit parking requirement.

Providing additional parking adds to the cost of development and for some properties it is challenging to find the space.

Action 12: Establish an Accessory Dwelling Unit advisory service.

This will help homeowners navigate zoning and building code rules related to developing accessory dwelling units. The service would be provided with no charge to homeowners. The service would not involve bylaw enforcement but would require staff to pursue items like missing or malfunctioning smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.

Action 13: Permit sharing of homes and room rentals.

This means explicitly allowing multiple unrelated people to share a dwelling unit or a family to rent one or more rooms to long-term renters. The definition of family would be expanded to include up to five unrelated persons or up to three persons in addition to the main family group. This would allow for more affordable rents and supplemental income for landlords. 

Action 14: Reduce parking requirements for multi-family housing.

The current requirement of 1.25 parking stalls per unit is costly and disincentivizes the development of less expensive housing. The proposed changes would reduce the requirement to 0.55 parking stalls per unit for studios, 0.7 for 1-bedroom, 0.85 for 2-bedroom, and 1 for 3-bedroom units and larger.

Action 15: Adopt a 1:1 floor area ratio (FAR) maximum density within the R3 Medium Density Zone.

Currently, the R3 zoning allows a lot of building area, which fosters development of larger, more expensive units. The goal is to encourage more “missing middle” development by providing smaller, more affordable townhouses. The development of multi-family dwellings in the R3 zone is not limited by the current permitted density of 60 units per hectare. The proposal is to switch to an FAR approach with a slightly reduced density, encouraging more units per lot with lower average prices.

Action 16: Decrease the minimum lot size in R1, R2, and R3 Zones

This aims to support the goal in the Official Community Plan of having smaller homes on smaller lots. The proposed minimum lot size for a single-family dwelling is 250 sq. m. and is expected to foster smaller single-family dwellings. For duplexes, rowhouses, pocket neighborhoods, and townhouses, the proposed minimum lot sizes vary.

Action 17: Reduce the R1 duplex lot frontage requirement to 15.2m.

This action aligns lot frontage requirements across duplex and rowhouse zones. The current requirement of 18m excludes several lots that could be candidates for duplexes in Creston.

Action 18: Reduce permitted lot coverage except where Accessory Dwelling Units are constructed on single-family and duplex lots.

The current 50% lot coverage allowance is very generous, and when combined with a 9.2m building height, it allows for the construction of very large, expensive homes. The changed lot coverage and height regulations will restrict the construction of large, expensive homes and attract developers/homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units.

Following are proposed changes:

Single Family Dwelling

Lot Coverage

  • 30% for 250 sq. m lot, minus 2% for each additional 100 sq. m to minimum of 10%

Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

  • 0.4 to 1 for lots 250 sq. m. decreasing by 0.02:1 per sq. m to minimum of 0.2:1

Single Family Dwelling with 1 ADU

Lot Coverage

  • 40% for 250 sq. m lot for 250 sq. m lot, minus 2.5% for each 100 sq. m of lot area to minimum of 15%


  • 0.55 to 1 for lots 250 sq. m., decreasing by 0.025:1 per sq. m to minimum of 0.3:1

Single Family Dwelling with 2 or more ADUs

Lot Coverage

  • 50% for 250 sq. m, minus 3% for each 100 sq m of lot area to minimum of 20%


  • 0.7 to 1 for lots 250 sq. m., decreasing by 0.03:1 per sq. m to minimum of 0.4:1

Action 19: Participate in the BC Housing Affordable Homeownership Program by providing 100% Development Cost Charge waivers.

The program works with developers to provide new housing at a minimum of 10% below market prices, and by attracting developers to participate, lower-priced homeownership options can be created. The program provides lower-priced financing in exchange for developers guaranteeing sale prices at least 10% below market.

The Town can provide increased density, variances, or other support to further encourage developers to participate in the program.

When the home is sold, BC Housing holds a second mortgage that reflects the difference between what the homeowner has paid and the market price. This allows the homeowner to get conventional financing without paying high-ratio mortgage insurance. When the homeowner sells their home, BC Housing’s second mortgage is paid out from the sale and that money is provided to the municipality to support local affordable housing programs.