Planning Committee backs new regulations for secondary housing

This article from April 22 has information on new regulations for sceondary dwellings across the city.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

Councillors on the Planning Committee have backed the introduction of new regulations aimed to reduce red tape for property owners who want to add units in their home or detached dwellings on their land.

For more details, please continue reading below…

The new regulations backed by Planning Committee are designed to streamline various rules for granny flats and laneway houses that have applied to various parts of the city since amalgamation.

The provincial government More Homes, More Choice Act of 2019 has allowed for municipalities to allow secondary units.

Coun. John Paul Danko expressed support towards the move to simplified and uniform regulations for secondary units overall, with councillors backing his motion to limit the number of bedrooms per secondary unit to two in a 5-3 vote.

He did, according to this Spec article, express concern that “unscrupulous property owners” would take advantage of the reworked policies to jam tenants into inappropriately small spaces.

“It’s the density that causes all of the problems with property standards and garbage collection and parking,” Danko said.

The initiative to offer “by right” permission to create secondary units, whether they’re laneway homes or basement suites, has been welcomed by many as a way to tackle Hamilton’s increasingly unaffordable housing market.

Applicants who don’t meet the prescribed requirements can still apply for minor variances before the city’s committee of adjustment with fees reduced to $600 from the regular range of $3,230 to $4,145.

The Spec reports that an influx of legal secondary units is also seen as a way to curb urban sprawl through added density, with Hamilton projected to grow by 236,000 people, hitting 820,000 by 2051.

Among the proposed regulations by staff is one parking space per secondary unit for most of Hamilton, except for parts of the denser, lower city, where there’s no requirement for a dedicated spot.

The maximum size for a detached unit is 75 square metres — about 800 square feet.

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