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Laneway suites consultation

I just got home from the Citywide Laneway Suites Consultation meeting that was held this evening at the Evergreen Brick Works here in Toronto. (I guess I do find time to go to public meetings.) 

For those of you who are interested in laneway housing, or an equivalent housing typology, here are a couple of takeaways from the event.

There’s political support. Councillor McMahon and Councillor Bailao were there voicing their support for laneway suites. Both see it as an opportunity to diversify the housing stock and increase the supply of affordable ground-related housing in the city.

Laneway suites (in the context of this current groundswell) are being thought of as secondary suites – exactly like basement suites. This is a smart approach that gets around a number of the hurdles that laneway houses currently face in the city.

Because of this, the idea is that both the main house and the laneway house will remain under the same ownership. No property severances. No selling off the back lot.

Other than this, nothing was really put forward in the way of guidelines. The whole point of these public meetings is to solicit community feedback and then roll that into a set of laneway suite design guidelines that will allow these homes to be built “as of right.”

Obviously there are a number of questions around building height; minimum lot size; window orientation (laneway and/or backyard?); maximum number of secondary suites on a property (would both a basement and a laneway suite be allowed?); and so on.

The next step is a report that will get submitted to the city in the new year. So if you haven’t already, please complete this Lanescape survey. We’ll see where all of this goes, but right now you can certainly feel the momentum.

I also don’t think this is a Toronto-specific topic. Many other cities have adopted similar policies and I am certain that many more will do the same in the future. 

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