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Laneway Housing: A Summary of the latest City Council Meeting

Held on May 2nd, “Laneway Housing – A Summary of the latest City Council meeting of May 2, 2018”, outlines the latest information about Toronto’s progress towards laneway development. Further, the council went forward with recommending that “second units”, be provided city-wide, which was something that was not anticipated, (please see our earlier blog https://www.flatrockinc.ca/blog/2018/02/19/assessing-the-potential-for-both-laneway-suites-and-detached-secondary-suites/ ). This speaks volumes about the fact that the City is in need of increased rental housing stock and will look further than just laneway homes.     

Laneway Home

Our summary discusses the specifics of comments received and of the Toronto City Council meeting of May 2, 2018 

The City Planning Division recommends that:

1. City Council amend the Official Plan, for the lands within the boundaries of the Toronto and East York Community Council, substantially in accordance with the draft Official Plan Amendment No. 403 appended as Attachment No. 2 to the report (April 16, 2018) from the Acting Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District

2. City Council amend Zoning By-law 569-2013, as amended, for the lands within the boundaries of the Toronto and East York Community Council area as it was known on January 1, 2017,  substantially in accordance with the draft Zoning By-law Amendment appended as Attachment No. 3 to the report (April 16, 2018) from the Acting Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District;

3. City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make such stylistic and technical changes to the draft Official Plan Amendment an Draft Zoning By-law Amendment as may be required;

4. City Council direct the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division, to monitor all aspects of the implementation of the proposed Official Plan Amendment No. 403, identified in Recommendation 1, above, and the proposed Zoning By-law Amendment, identified in Recommendation 2, above, and the “Changing Lanes: Laneway Suite Design and Process Guidelines”, for a period of up to three (3) years, and report to Toronto and East York Community Council in the fourth quarter of 2021, or earlier, if necessary, to review and recommend any necessary revisions to the policy, zoning and guidelines, and/or other changes to improve implementation;

5. City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services Division, in consultation with necessary City Divisions, to report to Toronto and East York Community Council in the first quarter of 2019 on the appropriateness of limiting the number of on-street parking permits issued to the owner or occupants of any lot containing a laneway suite;

6. City Council direct the Chief Building Official, Toronto Buildings, in consultation with necessary City Divisions, to advise City Planning, Transportation Services, Parks, Forestry, and Recreation Divisions, and Toronto Hydro of any building permit applications received after January 1, 2019 for laneway suites, for information; and,

7. City Council direct the Director, Affordable Housing Office, to report to the Executive Committee in the second quarter of 2019, as part of the City’s Housing Opportunities Toronto Action Plan for 2020-2030, on the implementation details of a Pilot for affordable Laneway Suites as summarized in this report.

Summary
This report recommends establishing a planning framework to permit laneway suites on lands within the Toronto and East York District that are designated as Neighbourhoods by amending both the Official Plan and City-wide Zoning By-law.

The City’s Official Plan does not reference or set out specific provisions for second units, however second units are permitted city-wide as-of-right in the City-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013.  A second unit can take many forms but is generally considered to be subordinate to the primary dwelling unit on a lot. Second units are an important part of the City’s rental housing stock. Laneway suites are one form of second unit.

Similar to other second units, laneway suites are a part of complete communities. They can provide more opportunities for people to live in ground related housing, for residents to live close to where they work, shop, and play and, can help make the city’s urban lanes more green, liveable, and safe. Laneway suites can contribute to increasing the supply of rental housing and provide additional housing options for households at different ages and life stages.

At its meeting of July 4, 2017, Toronto City Council directed City Planning staff, in consultation with numerous City Divisions, to initiate a review and consultation of the City’s current policy and planning framework regarding laneway suites within the Toronto and East York District. City Planning staff were directed to prepare a report to Toronto and East York Community Council with recommended policy and Zoning By-law amendments necessary to implement a laneway suite strategy, and with recommendations on other related matters such as the provision of affordable housing and infrastructure costs.

This report contains a detailed planning rationale for the introduction and regulation of laneway suites within the Toronto and East York area and discusses the policy implications and intent of proposed performance standards and criteria. These performance standards and criteria intend that laneway suites will provide a new form of ground-related, rental and extended family housing that will fit appropriately within the scale of established Neighbourhoods, and limit their impact on the existing physical character, while contributing to the growth of the City’s rental housing stock.

Background Information
(April 16, 2018) Report and Attachments 1-6 from the Acting Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District – Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites – City-Initiated Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Amendment – Final Report 
(http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-114362.pdf)
(May 2, 2018) Attachment 3 – REVISED Draft Zoning By-law Amendment (569-2013) 
(http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-114856.pdf)
(May 2, 2018) Staff Presentation, Greig Uens, City Planning 
(http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-114773.pdf)

End of Post

Robert Offenbacher is the President of Flatrock Inc, a multi-discipline, licensed design and construction firm located here in Toronto. Robert has been involved in Toronto’s design and construction industries for almost 25 years. Have you thought about a Laneway Home, rental property or newly approved second unit? Please give him a call at 416 770 7475