Recommended updates to Zoning Bylaw will create more housing options in Guelph

Guelph, Ont., December 3, 2020 – On December 14, City Council will discuss recommendations to update policies and regulations for additional residential dwelling units—known as accessory apartments, basement apartments and coach houses—in Guelph’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to make them consistent with the provincial Planning Act and Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act.

“We recognize there is a need for creative and suitable housing solutions in Guelph,” explains Abby Watts, who is managing the Zoning Bylaw review. “The changes we’re recommending were developed based on public feedback and provincial policy direction to create consistent and easy-to-follow rules for additional residential dwelling units that meet our community’s needs.”

Community feedback

The City consulted with property owners and the community about additional residential dwelling units earlier this year. Overall community feedback included:

  • Concerns about large units inside the primary dwelling, which may create a duplex
  • Support for flexibility to allow units in different housing types, such as townhouses and semi-detached homes
  • Support for smaller detached units and increasing setbacks from neighbouring properties and green space
  • Support for detached units to be the same height or lower than the primary dwelling
  • Suggestions for unit size to be based on property context and lot area
  • Suggestions for allowing larger units to provide affordable housing for families

Proposed updated rules for additional residential dwelling units

Based on community feedback, internal consultation, research and policy analysis, the City is making recommendations that would allow two additional residential dwelling units on a lot, one in the same building as the main home on the property (the primary dwelling), and one in a separate building on the same lot as follows:

  • One additional unit in the primary dwelling:
    • Overall maximum size of 45 per cent of the total floor area of the primary dwelling (previously 80 square metres)
    • Maximum three bedrooms (previously two)
    • Basement apartments can take up the entire basement area
  • One additional unit in a separate building on the same lot:
    • The unit cannot take up more than 30 per cent of the yard and can only be built in side or back yards
    • Maximum two bedrooms
    • Maximum height of two storeys or 6.1 metres without being able to go higher than the primary dwelling

Property owners would be required to provide one parking space for each additional residential dwelling unit, in addition to parking for the primary dwelling.

Additional dwelling units would be allowed anywhere single-detached, semi-detached and on-street townhouses are located.

“The proposed zoning bylaw regulations will ensure additional residential units are smaller than the primary dwelling, fit within the character of the neighbourhood, provide enough recreation space, green space and parking and are safe,” adds Watts.

Have your say

Members of the public can delegate or submit written comments about the proposed recommendations by registering online or contacting the City Clerk’s office at [email protected] by 10 a.m. on Friday, December 11.

Next steps

If approved, the updated bylaws for additional residential dwelling units will come into effect.

This work aligns with the Building our future priority in the City’s Strategic Plan by helping increase the availability of housing that meets community needs. This work also supports the Community Plan by creating more homes that are affordable, accessible and suitable regardless of income, age or situation.

Media contact

Abby Watts, Project Manager, Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review
Planning and Building Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3314
[email protected]