Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing

residential houses on hillside

In late 2023, the Government of B.C. introduced new legislation to amend the Local Government Act (LGA) aiming to increase the availability, variety, accessibility, and affordability of housing across all municipalities in B.C. This required local governments to update their regulations to permit Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH). To comply, relevant bylaws must be updated and adopted by Council by the deadline of June 30, 2024.

On June 27, 2024, Council adopted the City’s new Zoning Bylaw No. 2506 (PDF). The full report and Staff presentation are available on the May 27 Regular Council Meeting agenda.

The new legislation requires B.C. municipalities to allow for more housing density as well as different types of housing, particularly in single-family neighbourhoods and near transit hubs and transit corridors. 

As a city, it is essential to ensure that our residents are informed about the mandated provincial changes and how these changes may influence the growth, development, and transformation of existing single-family neighbourhoods in White Rock.

Learn more about the new local government housing initiatives on the Government of B.C.’s website.

Key changes

The Province has required the City of White Rock to allow new housing in the form of Small-Scale, Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) in order to increase density on existing single-family and duplex lots on lands within the City’s boundary that are located within the urban containment boundary. The urban containment boundary is established through Metro Vancouver and contained within the Metro 2050: Regional Growth Strategy (PDF). Examples of SSMUH may include, but are not limited to:

  • Secondary suites
  • Single-family dwellings
  • Detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), such as garden suites or coach houses
  • Duplexes
  • Houseplexes

Within most residential areas in White Rock, SSMUH legislation requires the City to create zones that will allow up to three or four dwelling units on lots that are considered single-family or duplex lots, based on their lot size. In addition, single-family or duplex lots, based on their lot size and within 400 metres of a prescribed bus stop must allow for up to six dwellings per lot. 

The Province has changed the Local Government Act to prohibit the holding of a public hearing on a zoning bylaw proposed for the sole purpose of complying with SSMUH legislation. 

What this means for White Rock

In the near future, residents will likely see a diversity of housing configurations emerging in areas traditionally categorized for single-family dwellings. The latest provincial housing legislation mandates that the City accommodate the development of small-scale, multi-unit residential buildings on lots previously designated solely for single-family and duplex homes.

It is expected that the current single-family and duplex lots will potentially see a variety of dwelling unit configurations. These configurations could be in the form of a single-family home with a registered secondary suite plus an accessory detached dwelling unit(s( depending on the area of the lot and its proximity to a prescribed bus stop:

  • A minimum of three dwelling units on residential lots with an area of 280m2 (3,014 ft2) or less
  • A minimum of four dwelling units on residential lots with an area greater than 280m2 (3,014ft2)
  • A minimum of six dwelling units on residential lots with an area of 281m2 or greater (3,014 ft2) and within 400m of a prescribed bus stop. The Province has incorporated provisions within the legislation, that prohibit the City from requiring off-street parking for lots within these areas.

What this means for your property

The SSMUH legislation requires that the City adopt zoning regulations no later than June 30, 2024, that permit a variety of dwelling-unit configurations on lots that are currently single-family or duplex lots. 

Has your zoning changed? Launch the SSMUH Zoning Tool to determine your new zone.

New Small-Scale, Multi-Unit Housing Residential Zones

The table below lists the former zones and their correlating new Small-Scale, Multi-Unit Housing Residential Zone. 

Former ZoneNew Zone

RS-1 One Unit Residential Zone  (RS-1 zoned properties with lot size 742m2 and greater) 
RT-1 Two Unit (Duplex) Residential Zone 
RT-2 Three Unit (Triplex) Residential Zone

RS-1 SSMUH Residential Zone

RS-4 One Unit (12.1m Lot width) Residential Zone 
RS-1 One Unit Residential Zone (RS-1 zoned properties with lot size less than 742m2)

RS-2 SSMUH Residential Zone

RS-2 One Unit (Small Lot) Residential Zone 
RS-3 One Unit (Small Lot, Hillside) Residential Zone

RS-3 (Small Lot, Hillside) SSMUH Residential Zone
RE-1 Estate Residential 1 ZoneRE-1 SSMUH Estate Residential 1 Zone

RE-2 Estate Residential 2 Zone 
RE-3 Estate Residential 3 Zone

RE-2 SSMUH Estate Residential 2 Zone
RI-1 One Unit (Infill 1) Residential ZoneRI-1 (Infill 1) SSMUH Residential Zone
RI-2 One Unit (Infill 2) Residential ZoneRI-2 (Infill 2) SSMUH Residential Zone
CD-10 (987-91 Keil Street)RS-3 (Small Lot, Hillside) SSMUH Residential Zone
CD-26 (Anderson and McDonald)RS-3 (Small Lot, Hillside) SSMUH Residential Zone
CD-27 (15611– 19 Columbia)RS-3 (Small Lot, Hillside) SSMUH Residential Zone
CD-39 (14310 Marine Drive)RS-3 (Small Lot, Hillside) SSMUH Residential Zone
CD-65 (14401 Sunset Drive)RS-2 SSMUH Residential Zone

What the City is doing

  • The City has updated its Zoning Bylaw to facilitate Small-Scale Multi-Unit housing by June 30, 2024. 
  • The City is looking into what the infrastructure impacts may be from increased density and will be considering future updates to master plans and development cost charges to help fund the costs of growth.
  • The City is required to prepare a Housing Needs Report using the methodology provided by the Province by December 31, 2024.
  • The City is required to update its Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw to reflect all legislative requirements by December 31, 2025 to align with the updated Housing Needs Report and permit 20 years of future residential growth. The OCP must now also be updated every five years.


Government of B.C.

City of White Rock


For any questions regarding SSMUH in White Rock, please contact the Planning Division via email: 

If you have questions about the provincial mandates, please contact the B.C. Planning and Land Use Management Branch