Second Dwelling Units

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location of SDUs

The More Homes, More Choice Act (2019) require municipalities support housing choices by 'identifying a diverse range and mix housing options', noting that Second Dwelling Units (SDUs) play an essential role in addressing affordable housing and contributing to housing options. Currently, the Town of Pelham Official Plan has limited policy guidance concerning SDUs. The Zoning By-law does not speak specifically to permitting an SDU, which results in property owners maneuvering through red tape should they wish to request permission for an SDU.

Establishing an SDU requires several applications and permits, making it difficult and expensive to achieve. And instead of

The More Homes, More Choice Act (2019) require municipalities support housing choices by 'identifying a diverse range and mix housing options', noting that Second Dwelling Units (SDUs) play an essential role in addressing affordable housing and contributing to housing options. Currently, the Town of Pelham Official Plan has limited policy guidance concerning SDUs. The Zoning By-law does not speak specifically to permitting an SDU, which results in property owners maneuvering through red tape should they wish to request permission for an SDU.

Establishing an SDU requires several applications and permits, making it difficult and expensive to achieve. And instead of obtaining the necessary permissions, people are building SDUs illegally, without the benefit of building permits or inspections to ensure compliance with Building and Fire Code requirements. This negligence can result in unintended life safety risks to the habitants of the SDUs. Staff have drafted SDU policies and regulations to align with the recent Provincial updates. These updates will highlight the specific needs of the public; resident engagement will play a key role in developing a "made in Pelham" solution.

Staff presented an information report on February 8, 2021, providing the Committee of the Whole and the public with an opportunity to receive information regarding SDU policy and regulations.

Currently, the zoning by-law does not contain specific regulations permitting an SDU. The zoning by-law amendment seeks approval to allow SDUs that are self-contained units with bathroom, kitchen and sleeping facilities separate from those of the principal dwelling on the same lot. The amendment will permit an SDU in the Agricultural (A) zone, Specialty Rural (SR) zone and Residential Village 1 (RV1) zone, Residential 1 (R1) zone and Residential 2 (R2) zone and comply with the provisions of the Town's comprehensive zoning by-law.

The proposed zoning by-law amendment only permits a second dwelling unit in a single detached dwelling, not in a townhouse or semi-detached dwelling; the proposed Official Plan amendments specify that if a second dwelling unit is proposed in a townhouse or semi-detached unit, a zoning by-law amendment is required.

Presently, the Official Plan does not contain policies specific to Second Dwelling Units, but allows for Accessory Apartments only in single-detached dwellings and only in the College and Emmett Street neighbourhood. However, the Zoning By-law has not been updated to conform with this policy. The draft proposes a Second Dwelling Unit's permission in a principal dwelling unit and accessory structure subject to meeting specific policy requirements. Those policies include deleting and replacing accessory apartments throughout several sections in the Official Plan. These policies would be slightly amended to ensure that the floor area of the proposed unit will be less than the gross floor area of the principal residential unit.

Following the public meeting, some revisions may be made to the drafts, and a recommendation report on final policies and regulations will be prepared for Council with a date yet to be determined.

  • Draft Offical Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments

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    Following the public meeting in February, staff received comments from the Niagara Region that identified some inconsistencies with the Second Dwelling Unit requirements under the Planning Act. In response to these inconsistencies, Staff has revised the amendments that were originally presented to Council at the Public Meeting in February to comply with the requirements of the Planning Act for final approval.


    The amendments are located under the documents tab on the right side of this page.

  • Second Public Meeting - Monday June 14th, 2021

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    Second Public Meeting for a Zoning By-law Amendment and Official Plan Amendment in accordance with Section 34 and 22 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, as amended.

    The Town has initiated amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to include policies and regulations with respect to second dwelling units within the Town. Changes to the Town’s Zoning By-law (1987) and Official Plan (2014) are to implement changes to the Planning Act made by Bill 108/Regulation 299 of the Province of Ontario (More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019). Changes to the Act require that the Town permit additional dwelling units on a property containing a single detached, semi-detached or street townhouse residential dwelling as well as permitting these units in an accessory building.

    The proposed Amendments apply throughout the Town of Pelham. General Official Plan policies and Zoning By-law provisions will be established which if met will allow a Second Dwelling Unit to be permitted without the need for an Amendment to either the Official Plan or Zoning By-law.

    Please find the Notice of Second Public Meeting under the documents tab.

  • Public Meeting Presentation

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  • What's happening with Second Dwelling Unit(s) in Pelham

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    What is a Dwelling Unit?

    A dwelling unit is a living space designed and intended for use by one or more people who maintain a common household. As defined by the Town’s Zoning By-law (1987) a “Dwelling Unit” means:

    • a suite of habitable rooms which:
      • is located in a building;
      • is used or intended to be used in common by one or more persons as a single, independent and separate housekeeping establishment;
      • contains food preparation and sanitary facilities provided for the exclusive common use of the occupants thereof; and
      • has a private entrance directly from outside the building or from a common hallway or stairway inside the building.

    What is a Secondary Dwelling Unit?

    A Secondary Dwelling Unit (SDU) is a self-contained residential unit located within a principal dwelling unit or an accessory building and permitted in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings. The unit may be in any part of the house, including the basement.

    Secondary Dwelling Units are a requirement within the Town of Pelham, and here is why?

    The Provincial government made changes to the Planning Act through Bill 108/Regulation 299 of the Province of Ontario (More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019) on June 6, 2019. The More Homes, More Choice Act requires that the Town permit additional dwelling units on a property containing a single-detached, semi-detached, or street townhouse residential dwelling and permitting these units in an accessory building.

    What is Bill 108?

    The intention of the More Homes, More Choice Act is to address the housing crisis in Ontario by minimizing regulations related to residential development through changes to various Acts dealing with the planning process, including reducing fees related to development by reducing the number of services that may be subject to development charges, shortening the timelines for the approval of many planning applications and providing as of right permissions to allow second dwelling units. The Provincial government identifies affordable housing as a “fundamental need," and second dwelling units were identified as one of the least expensive ways to increase affordable housing supply while encouraging intensification and maintaining neighbourhood character.

    Can I Establish a Secondary Dwelling Unit?

    Currently, the Town of Pelham Official Plan and Zoning By-law does not permit second dwelling units as a right and amendments are required for these permissions. We have begun working on policies to allow people to explore putting an SDU on their property. Things to consider include servicing requirements, parking requirements, building and fire code requirements and location, among others. We want to hear from you on this matter on what types of standards or regulations you'd like to see implemented by Council. A public meeting on the proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments is scheduled for February 8, 2021, and an online survey will also be developed to obtain public input on this subject.

    For more information on adding an SDU to your home, please refer to the following webpage: https://files.ontario.ca/mmah-adding-a-second-unit-in-an-existing-house-en.pdf

    SDUs can come in many different shapes or sizes. There are many requirements beyond the zoning of a property when considering how to establish a legal SDU. The Province of Ontario has put together some basic information for property owners who are considering an SDU. This information can be accessed by clicking the image above to open the 'Adding a Second Unit in an Existing House' Guide, by checking out their 'Build or Buy a Tiny Home' guide, by visiting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website, or by searching for more information on the 'More Homes, More Choice Act' Housing Supply Action Plan.

    What are the benefits to a Secondary Dwelling Unit?

    Secondary Dwelling Units come in many shapes and sizes and are commonly referred to as basement apartments, granny flats, coach homes, in-law suites, garage apartments, etc. They can have many benefits, including increasing rental units available to the community, providing rental income opportunities, and providing housing for family or friends who may need extra care.

    Municipalities are required to provide a diverse range and mix of housing types and ownership styles. This is where SDUs can make a difference and create a balance within the housing market in the Town of Pelham.