Residential Zoning Project

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

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.

  • Presentation and Q&A - November 12 & 16

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

    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.