James Bacon of Bacon’s Rebellion has also written a blog post on the Wall Street Journal story — and he sums up the laneway situation quite eloquently.
Be sure to read the whole story, but briefly, his points are:
First, while accessory units may increase the population density of a neighborhood by today’s standards, they reverse a decades-long trend of de-densification….increasing numbers of accessory units allow urban neighborhoods to return to population densities for which they were originally designed. Why would cities support regulations to halt a healthy evolution?
Second, allowing homeowners to convert idle space (in the case of basement and garage apartments) or add new space (in the case of laneway houses) creates a revenue stream from the property.
Third, accessory units provide an alternative to institutionalizing the elderly in extended living facilities and nursing homes.
Fourth, there is a question of property rights. Conservatives believe in an expanded definition of property rights
Fifth, accessory units are fiscally efficient. They embed new housing in an existing urban fabric of streets, sidewalks, water, sewer and utilities.
I’m pretty sure James and I would not see eye to eye on many political issues, but on the concept of densification in our cities and laneway homes we have found common ground.