Council to make zoning bylaw changes to accommodate looser rental unit rules

PUSLINCH – As a result of the More Homes, More Choices Act, which passed into law in 2019, Wellington County is amending its official plan and brought a presentation to Puslinch council on May 20 to explain how the changes would impact the township.

Jameson Pickard, senior policy planner with the county, said the act, broadly, is designed to include more legal rental opportunities for homeowners.

“Before, I didn’t think there would be a demand, but since then, this is an attainable housing plan,” he said.

Additional rental units used to be allowed only in single-family dwellings; now they are allowed in semi-detached and rowhouses too.

The new legislation allows for up to three housing units on a property – the primary dwelling, a rental unit in the primary dwelling, and a rental unit in an ancillary building such as over a garage.

Garden suites are also allowed under the official plan, so potentially there could be four housing units on a property.

Garden suites, also called granny flats, are separate, self-contained living quarters in the back or side of an existing single-family home usually built to house a senior relative. They are governed under a separate part of the official plan.

The changes will require the township to update its zoning bylaws, Pickard said.

“It’s important to note that these changes will not be appealable to LPAT,” he said.

Septic capacity will be among the matters that will have to be decided when zoning bylaw changes come forward.

“Through the zoning process you may consider what’s permitted,” he said. “These will be case-dependent.