Official plan amendment will permit more ancillary units at private residences

BRUCEDALE – Wellington County planners have been presenting a proposed amendment to the official plan to its member municipalities and on Oct. 19, the presentation came to Guelph-Eramosa council.

Jameson Pickard, a county planner, said official plan amendment 112 comes from direction from the province to allow more and different kinds of ancillary residential units to help increase the supply of affordable housing.

Currently the official plan only allows for one ancillary unit at a residence such as a basement apartment within an existing dwelling.

The proposed amendment would allow two ancillary units, plus the primary residence on a property.

That could include an apartment over a garage, for example.

Once the official plan amendment is approved by county council, municipalities will have to amend their zoning bylaws to bring them in line.

This kind of intensification could lead to on-street parking issues and problems between neighbours, and councillors voiced concerns that the change would remove their ability to resolve these kinds of issues.

“Municipalities are in the driver’s seat when deciding what happens locally,” Pickard said.

“There’s room for municipalities to decide whether to permit a unit or not.”

Much of the conflict resolution would come at the site plan and building permit stages of any such application, he said.

Pickard said ancillary units are to be “subordinate” to the primary residence and must also comply with source water protection regulations and building codes.

Once in place, the policy and zoning regulations can’t be appealed.

“Can we ban this in the township?” asked councillor Corey Woods.

“No. The intent is for these units to be allowed,” Pickard replied.

He said a final report, with comments from the municipalities, will go to the county planning committee and the final, approved amendment will be circulated.

“Then the municipalities can figure out the policy to enable it,” he said.