Housing in Oak Bay

Housing Framework

The District is working toward a Housing Framework – a group of initiatives to provide a more comprehensive and clear approach to housing in Oak Bay. The overall intent behind the Housing Framework is to ensure consideration is given to providing for a more diverse range of housing options in the community.

A Housing Framework for Oak Bay is based on two key components:

  • The housing policy directions contained in the Official Community Plan (OCP); and
  • Council’s Strategic Priority to Ensure Access to Diverse Housing Options within the Built Environment, which reflects the unique character of Oak Bay’s neighbourhood and village centres, by reviewing and planning for community needs.

The Housing Framework is completed through a series of strategic initiatives to be undertaken over the next few years, including preparation of:

  •  A Housing Needs Report  [complete],
  • a Secondary Suites Study [complete, bylaw changes underway],
  • Infill Housing Options in Neighbourhoods [underway], 
  • Village Area Plans [planned 2023], and
  • Zoning Bylaw review [secondary suite amendments underway, further review pending].

Implementation of the Housing Framework will involve development of more detailed policy directions, regulations, and design guidelines for housing options in Oak Bay.

Development of a Housing Framework for Oak Bay will take time and will involve community engagement for each of the initiatives.  Ultimately, the goal of the Framework is to develop an approach to housing options that is best suited to Oak Bay.

Housing Needs Report

The Province requires that all local governments prepare a Housing Needs Report every five years.  These reports include the collection of data to help determine both current and anticipated housing most needed in the community.  They are useful for identifying gaps in the housing supply, and help to inform future policies and development decisions.

The Oak Bay Housing Needs Report for 2020 provides an estimate for the number of residential units needed to address community needs, and includes information on some of the anticipated needs for types of housing for different segments of the community’s population.

Secondary Suites Study

The District’s Zoning Bylaw does not allow for secondary suites in Oak Bay.  The Secondary Suites Study, which is currently underway, is examining the different options and regulations that could be put in place to allow secondary suites in single family homes.  Following the completion of this study, a policy and regulatory framework is being developed to implement this housing option in Oak Bay. View more information on the proposed changes.

Infill Housing

Another initiative of the Housing Framework involves a review of Infill Housing options in neighbourhoods.  Based on Official Community Plan (OCP) policy directions and housing needs identified by the community, the District is in the process of examining the potential for smaller lots, duplexes, triplexes, laneway housing and detached secondary suites, and heritage home conversions.  Depending upon the results of this review, the primary ways to address infill housing include OCP policy , design guidelines for some housing types in neighbourhoods, and regulatory changes in the Zoning Bylaw.

In 2022 a Infill Housing Strategy is being considered and public consultation has been sought. For more information on the public consultation process, vist www.connect.oakbay.ca/infill

Village Plans

Village and corridor plans are used to consider how multifamily housing can be accommodated near village areas that provide a range of services.   These Plans involve the preparation of policies, design guidelines, and direction for regulatory changes to the Zoning Bylaw to implement this housing option.

The development of Village Plans for Oak Bay would include Oak Bay Village and the Foul Bay Road / Cadboro Bay Road area; followed by secondary villages such as Estevan. This work is anticipated to start in 2023.