Here is a great, easy to understand Guide on Building Laneway Houses in Vancouver.
Like main houses, laneway houses must be located in a defined portion of a lot and are subject to regulations regarding zoning (only RS-1 and RS-5 are allowed), setbacks, fire access, lane access, size, height, parking and tree protection. Together, these siting and design regulations provide a basic template for laneway house design.
Like many developments in Vancouver, the application process can be long, but laneway houses are becoming much more common. In order to apply for the approval from the city, you have to do your due diligence beforehand. A very brief outline of the steps involved are:
1. Site Servicing Research: Investigating costs and requirements for sewer, water, electrical and gas.
2. Pre-Application Review: Submit a site survey and other plans for Engineering, Design and Landscaping.
3. Application Process: Submit your permit application with all related approvals (i.e. Homeowner Protection, etc.)
Note that this research, and the application itself can be quite costly before any building is actually done. Other costs include architects, builders, materials, furnishings, unexpected delays and more.
The attached Laneway House Guide features more in depth information on the requirements, resources, as well as some good examples for 33 and 50 foot lots.
If you have any other questions about laneway houses or specific neighbourhoods, feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find some other guidelines here:
Laneway Housing Zoning Regulations: http://www.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/BYLAWS/zoning/sec11.pdf
RS-1 & RS-5 District Zoning Regulations:
Laneway Housing Guides: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/guidelines/L007.pdf
Laneway Housing Submission Checklist:
Protection of Trees Bylaw: http://vancouver.ca/bylaws/9958c.pdf
Homeowner Protection Office: http://www.hpo.bc.ca