Garden Suites Get the Green Light

It’s a Green Light for Toronto Garden Suites After All

It looks like Toronto garden suites have the green light after all.

The City of Toronto Garden Suites Bylaw is in full force after the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) dismissed an appeal on Monday. The Garden Suites Bylaw and Official Plan Amendment were adopted by Toronto City Council on February 2, but were appealed shortly after when an alliance of Toronto residents’ associations slammed the move for what they called its hasty “one-size-fits-all approach.”

On June 2, the OLT heard a motion from the City to dismiss the appeal.

“This is good news and it will help get some more housing built. Garden suites are often a way to create homes for family members — parents, grandparents or adult children — or can be used as rental housing units,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “The Garden Suites regulations approved earlier this year represent a ‘Made In Toronto’ solution with sensible regulations to protect neighbours, trees/greenspace and gentle density. Allowing garden suites across Toronto is a key step forward in expanding housing choice within the City’s neighbourhoods and creating a more inclusive and resilient city for current and future residents.”

Garden suites are viewed as a means to add more much-needed housing stock to the market at a time when Toronto is facing substantial housing needs across a variety of housing types, tenures, and levels of affordability. Allowing greater variety in the type and form of housing that can be built in the city’s neighbourhoods is one solution to increase housing choice and access for current and future Toronto residents. It’s also a means to put cash into the hands of homeowners faced with hefty monthly mortgages on their primary residences.

“Housing is essential to every resident in our city and is key to building sustainable and inclusive communities,” says Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee. “I am proud to support work that results in inclusive neighbourhoods and provides for greater housing options for our residents. Garden suites and other initiatives to expand housing options in low-rise neighbourhoods are key to creating a diverse mix of housing choice that is affordable and accommodates people at all stages of life, household size, and income level. The garden suites initiative will create gentle density increases where residents have access to parks, schools, and main street businesses and restaurants.”

If a proposed garden suite meets various performance criteria, such as maximum building height and setbacks, as well as all applicable bylaw standards, only a building permit application is required, according to the City of Toronto. Any garden suite proposal that does not meet the Zoning Bylaw requirements can seek a minor variance application at the Committee of Adjustment. Through that process, City Planning staff review the application to determine if the proposed variances are appropriate and meet the intent of the Official Plan policies and the Zoning Bylaw.

Garden suites and other forms of housing being considered as part of the City’s Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (EHON) program are a necessary adjustment to Toronto’s current growth strategy, says the City. The City established the EHON program to review, consult on, and advance permissions to allow additional forms of housing in Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods. “Increasing the type of housing supply provides more housing options for a range of household structures, for people at different ages, abilities, and incomes, for people to move within their current neighbourhood to support generational housing turnover, and for new residents to find a home,” said the City of Toronto in a press release.

Permits for the construction of Toronto garden suites can now be issued, provided the application complies with the Bylaw requirements and all other applicable law.

Article courtesy of Erin Nicole Davis