Presentation and Q&A - November 12 & 16

We're you unable to join the meeting virtual public information meeting? Watch the video and review the presentation Q&As.

Questions and Answers

1. Will all houses be permitted to have a Second Dwelling Units? Can parking not be required?

The More Homes, More Choice Act (Bill 108) that was approved in June 2019 requires all municipalities in Ontario, including Hamilton, to permit Second Dwelling Units on lots containing a single-detached, semi-detached, and townhouse dwelling, subject to site constraints and proposed regulations.

A citywide parking requirement of 1.0 spaces per dwelling unit is proposed to ensure that every household has a parking space for a vehicle. There are communities where driving is needed due to lack of other transportation options, or where commuting long distances is needed for work, school, or running errands. However for certain older parts of Hamilton such as around Downtown Hamilton, parking might not be required as there are alternative modes of transportation.

2. Will the City of Hamilton allow additions (connected to the existing house) as Second Dwelling Units? When next year can we expect the new Zoning By-Law (in regards to Second Dwelling Units) to take effect?

Yes, Second Dwelling Units will be permitted as an addition to the existing house, but the addition will be subject to the parent zone regulations. For example, building height and setback requirements. Tentatively a staff report is scheduled to go to Council in Q1 2021.

3. There will inevitably be bylaw amendment requests for increased parking. How will the city address these requests as the increased need for parking is a problem for residents, pedestrians and City of Hamilton services such as snow plowing and garbage pick-up? Will the city restrict parking to a reasonable number of vehicles?

There are no maximum requirements for single detached, semi detached or townhouse dwelling units. Homeowners can provide additional parking on site provided they meet the reposed lands scaping requirements (50% of the front yard has to have soft landscaping.

4. Detached granny suites (Garden Suites) are allowed in the rural area designation. What is the maximum size of the granny suite? What are other restrictions placed on granny suites as present regulations allow?

The Rural Hamilton Official Plan (RHOP) contains policies respecting the establishment of Garden Suites which are temporary uses up to twenty years. They include: On-site water and sewage capacity; Use does not expand into Natural Heritage Features and Hydrologic Features; and, the Owner enters into an agreement and post financial securities with the City to ensure the removal of the temporary residence. The homeowner is required to receive a Zoning Approval to permit the use and set certain restrictions such as size and expiry date. Staff are looking at additional policies for permanent detached dwelling units.

5. In Eastmount a lot of properties have small front yards and do not have driveways so were these properties originally not required to have parking?

Depending on the age of the dwelling (e.g. before 1950), there may not have been a requirement for parking at that time.

6. If a homeowner cannot meet the parking requirement then they would be required to get a variance to the Zoning By-law.

How will the Second Dwelling Units by-law allow for properties without sufficient front yard area for parking to have an Second Dwelling Units?

7. For properties with laneway access, has parking in the backyard been considered?

Parking is allowed in the backyard.

8. Why is the minimum size of an Second Dwelling Units currently higher than the minimum size for apartments and condos?

Under Zoning By-law 6593 there is a minimum requirement and that has been a legacy of the 1993 regulations that were introduced. Minimum size requirements for a dwelling unit is regulated under the Ontario Building Code, and as such, there is no minimum size requirements contemplated within this project.

9. Will detached Second Dwelling Units be allowed on properties where the principle dwelling unit is multi-family such as a duplex or a triplex? Properties like this represent a significant portion of Hamilton's urban housing stock yet multi-family properties were excluded from Hamilton's recent laneway home pilot project.

No, Second Dwelling Units will not be permitted in conjunction with duplex or triplexes. Second Dwelling Units will only be permitted on lots containing a single-detached, semi-detached, and townhouse dwelling. There is an acknowledgement that permitting Second Dwelling Units citywide contributes to increases in housing options for a range of household types, and contribute to the overall housing stock in Hamilton.

10. Will the city consider an amnesty for illegal Second Dwelling Units if they meet Ontario building code?

Permitting Second Dwelling Units citywide through this project may legalize illegal units. In a situations where there is more than one Second Dwelling Unit in a Single Detached, Semi-Detached, or Townhouse dwelling, or where Second Dwelling Units are located in other housing forms such as Duplex and Triplex they will remain illegal. Even though once-illegal Second Dwelling Units may meet the new Zoning By-law requirements, they must still meet Ontario Building Code and Fire Code regulations.

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