Residential Zoning Project

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The City of Hamilton is completing Zoning By-law No. 05-200 in stages; the Residential Zone project is the last major component. It focuses mainly on the Urban Area of Hamilton.

Stage 1 Low Density
Background Discussion Papers, Technical Papers and development of Low Density Zones (areas where the predominate land uses are single detached dwellings, semi detached dwellings and street townhouses)

Stage 2 High Density
Development of High Density Zones (areas with apartment buildings higher that 8 storeys)

Stage 3 Medium Density
Development of Medium Density Zones - (townhouses and apartment buildings less than 8 storeys)

What is a zoning by-law?

If you would like to know what a zoning by-law is and the 6 Zoning By-laws in effect for the residential areas in the City’s urban area, please visit www.hamilton.ca/city-planning/official-plan-zoning-by-law/zoning-by-law


Stage 1 - Phase One - Second Dwelling Units

The City of Hamilton invites you to attend our Virtual Consultation, which is an opportunity for you to learn about specific topics you might find interesting, and provide feedback. We encourage you to spend as much time as you wish and provide suggestions. Feel free to download any information at your own leisure.

If you haven’t already, sign up to receive project updates and be added to the mailing list for notifications of future events and release of information.

There are many components to the Low Density Residential zoning project. Second Dwelling Units are one topic that has a separate public engagement process. The initial stage of the virtual public engagement for SDU’s will take place between mid-October and mid-November. As an interim step and until the completion of the low density residential zones, amendments to the existing 6 former municipal Zoning By-laws will be undertaken.

Further public engagement on SDU’s will occur, in 2021, as part of a larger virtual consultation on low density zone regulations, uses and mapping.

What is a Second Dwelling Unit (SDU)?

You might have heard the words basement apartment, or granny flats, or coach houses. Or perhaps Accessory Dwelling units or Secondary Suites. These terms are used to describe a dwelling unit that is accessory to the main dwelling. The diagram below are examples of what an SDU might be.

Various types of Secondary Dwelling Units. Due to site constraints, not all lots may be able to have an SDU.Image caption: Various types of Secondary Dwelling Units. Due to site constraints, not all lots may be able to have an SDU.

Elements of an SDU include:

  • A Dwelling Unit that contains its own bathroom, kitchen and living area.
  • Must be on the same lot as a Single Detached, Semi-Detached, and Townhouse.
  • Cannot be sold or severed to create a new lot.
  • Has its own entrance from rear, side, or in a common foyer or vestibule.

There are three types of Second Dwelling Units:

  • Internal to the main dwelling such as a basement apartment, dwelling in an attic space, or extension to the existing building.
  • A new constructed detached SDU in the rear and/or side yard.
  • A converted detached SDU from an existing detached garage or work shed.

Not all lots can have an SDU due to limitations such as lot dimension and size, parking, heritage value, or presence of a natural feature.

Where can I learn more about Second Dwelling Units?

Now that you know the basics of SDUs, there are three documents for your review. You don’t need to read them all. Feel free to choose which one to read based on how much information you need. They include:

Discussion Paper
Contains background information and literature review of Second Dwelling Units; Provincial and municipal legislation and policy review; and proposed regulations and considered options. Creation of Secondary Dwelling Units in Hamilton Discussion Paper

Brochure
A quick and easy summary based on the Discussion Paper, and includes diagrams, tables, and illustrations to visually show proposed regulations. Guide to Proposed Zoning By-law Regulations for Second Dwelling Units

Options Summary
Graphically shows all the proposed regulations and options considered to address matters such as compatibility and community integration. Options for Secondary Dwelling Units in Zoning By-law 05-200 - Summary Chart

Proposed Summary Table
A summary of all the proposed regulation in short document. The proposed regulations are extracted from the Discussion Paper. Proposed Summary Table.

The City of Hamilton is completing Zoning By-law No. 05-200 in stages; the Residential Zone project is the last major component. It focuses mainly on the Urban Area of Hamilton.

Stage 1 Low Density
Background Discussion Papers, Technical Papers and development of Low Density Zones (areas where the predominate land uses are single detached dwellings, semi detached dwellings and street townhouses)

Stage 2 High Density
Development of High Density Zones (areas with apartment buildings higher that 8 storeys)

Stage 3 Medium Density
Development of Medium Density Zones - (townhouses and apartment buildings less than 8 storeys)

What is a zoning by-law?

If you would like to know what a zoning by-law is and the 6 Zoning By-laws in effect for the residential areas in the City’s urban area, please visit www.hamilton.ca/city-planning/official-plan-zoning-by-law/zoning-by-law


Stage 1 - Phase One - Second Dwelling Units

The City of Hamilton invites you to attend our Virtual Consultation, which is an opportunity for you to learn about specific topics you might find interesting, and provide feedback. We encourage you to spend as much time as you wish and provide suggestions. Feel free to download any information at your own leisure.

If you haven’t already, sign up to receive project updates and be added to the mailing list for notifications of future events and release of information.

There are many components to the Low Density Residential zoning project. Second Dwelling Units are one topic that has a separate public engagement process. The initial stage of the virtual public engagement for SDU’s will take place between mid-October and mid-November. As an interim step and until the completion of the low density residential zones, amendments to the existing 6 former municipal Zoning By-laws will be undertaken.

Further public engagement on SDU’s will occur, in 2021, as part of a larger virtual consultation on low density zone regulations, uses and mapping.

What is a Second Dwelling Unit (SDU)?

You might have heard the words basement apartment, or granny flats, or coach houses. Or perhaps Accessory Dwelling units or Secondary Suites. These terms are used to describe a dwelling unit that is accessory to the main dwelling. The diagram below are examples of what an SDU might be.

Various types of Secondary Dwelling Units. Due to site constraints, not all lots may be able to have an SDU.Image caption: Various types of Secondary Dwelling Units. Due to site constraints, not all lots may be able to have an SDU.

Elements of an SDU include:

  • A Dwelling Unit that contains its own bathroom, kitchen and living area.
  • Must be on the same lot as a Single Detached, Semi-Detached, and Townhouse.
  • Cannot be sold or severed to create a new lot.
  • Has its own entrance from rear, side, or in a common foyer or vestibule.

There are three types of Second Dwelling Units:

  • Internal to the main dwelling such as a basement apartment, dwelling in an attic space, or extension to the existing building.
  • A new constructed detached SDU in the rear and/or side yard.
  • A converted detached SDU from an existing detached garage or work shed.

Not all lots can have an SDU due to limitations such as lot dimension and size, parking, heritage value, or presence of a natural feature.

Where can I learn more about Second Dwelling Units?

Now that you know the basics of SDUs, there are three documents for your review. You don’t need to read them all. Feel free to choose which one to read based on how much information you need. They include:

Discussion Paper
Contains background information and literature review of Second Dwelling Units; Provincial and municipal legislation and policy review; and proposed regulations and considered options. Creation of Secondary Dwelling Units in Hamilton Discussion Paper

Brochure
A quick and easy summary based on the Discussion Paper, and includes diagrams, tables, and illustrations to visually show proposed regulations. Guide to Proposed Zoning By-law Regulations for Second Dwelling Units

Options Summary
Graphically shows all the proposed regulations and options considered to address matters such as compatibility and community integration. Options for Secondary Dwelling Units in Zoning By-law 05-200 - Summary Chart

Proposed Summary Table
A summary of all the proposed regulation in short document. The proposed regulations are extracted from the Discussion Paper. Proposed Summary Table.

  • The City is developing new Zoning By-law regulations for residential areas. One type of housing important to a community is Second Dwelling Units.

    A second dwelling unit is a separate and self-contained dwelling unit that is accessory to and located on the same lot as the main house. It can be physically located within the principal dwelling or located within an accessory building to the principal dwelling.

    A SDU cannot be severed into a separate lot.

    There are 3 types of SDUs and separate Zoning By-law regulations will be developed for each type.

    1. Within a Single Detached, Semi-Detached or Townhouse
    2. Detached Second Dwelling Unit (newly built)
    3. Detached Second Dwelling Unit (conversion of an existing building – shed garage)

    Why do we need any Regulations? 

    • Certain regulations are required to ensure neighbourhood compatibility, minimize neighbourhood impact, maintain privacy as well as address safety and environmental issues.   
    • Before you answer the survey please take a look at the brochure, the various options that were considered or the Discussion Paper.
    • Below are series of questions to get your thoughts on the proposed regulations for the three different types of SDU’s.

    If you know a family member, relative, neighbour, co-worker, or friend who do not have access to a computer or internet, please contact us at residentialzoning@hamilton.ca with the name, telephone number, and full address so we can send printed versions so they too can participate in the consultation

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  • The City is revising the existing Zoning By-law 05-200  regulations for second dwelling units (SDUs).

    A second dwelling unit is a separate and self-contained dwelling unit that is accessory to and located on the same lot as the main house. It can be physically located within the principal dwelling or located within an accessory building to the principal dwelling.

    A SDU cannot be severed into a separate lot and is serviced from the same water supply and well as the existing dwelling.

    The current regulations in the Rural area allow:

    • expansion to an existing home for a farm help unit only; and,
    • a granny suite (detached second dwelling unit) for a maximum of 20 years.

    There are 3 types of SDUs and separate zoning by-law regulations will be developed for  each type.

    1. Within an existing Single detached (e.g. a basement apartment)
    2. Detached Second Dwelling Unit (newly built accessory building)
    3. Detached Second Dwelling Unit (conversion of an existing building – e.g, an existing shed or garage)

    Why do we need any Regulations 

    • There are certain regulations that are required to ensure neighbourhood compatibility ,   maintain privacy as well as address safety, servicing and environmental issues.  
    • Before you answer the survey please take a look at the brochure, the planning options map or the Discussion Paper.
    • Below are series of questions to get your thoughts on these proposed regulations for the three different types of SDU’s.

    If you know a family member, relative, neighbour, co-worker, or friend who do not have access to a computer or internet, please contact us at residentialzoning@hamilton.ca with the name, telephone number, and full address so we can send printed versions so they too can participate in the consultation 

    Take Survey
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link