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Laneway houses were explicitly enabled by the Ontario Government in 2003. The City of Toronto passed a laneway suites bylaw in June 2018.
When the bylaw was passed, it seemed like here was the key to letting older people "age-in-place," letting families support relatives with special needs, allowing adult children to continue living in their neighbourhoods even though houses have become unaffordable for many.
BUT in 2020 most people wanting a laneway house find they're ineligible.
It's time to take the conversation back into the neighbourhoods.
The "buzz" is that laneway houses are just another piece of gentrification. Certainly there's lots of talk about building little designer houses and adding even more resale value to properties that have them. But existing laneway houses mostly look like pretty modest rental accomodation.
Sept.29, an emailed letter went to each city councillor, the mayor, and the heads of the relevant city departments. It gave some reasons why City council should send the Sept.22 report back to the committee. But on Oct.1, the report passed with no discussion Read more
Meeting of the Planning and Housing Committee
The alternative is condos and apartment towers. Here's a MAP of the region around the CELOS office, showing how many such large housing projects are underway nearby. They are mainly on arterial roads. The houses on the side streets often have a lot of extra space that could be filled in with smaller-scale housing.
Toronto Star, March 19, 2019: 78 sites in the permit process, 6 permits issued.
Buildings information, June 13, 2019: 12 building permits issued and 25 additional building permit applications are in the review process.
Sept.27, 2019, from Greg Whitfield (Toronto Buildings): approximately 20 permits issued.
December 20, 2019: FOI Response (dated Jan.24, 2020): 33 permits issued between Aug.1, 2018 and Dec.20, 2019, 11 permits pending as of December 20, 2019
CBC story, Jan,14, 2020: 52 permits issued, 50 more in the queue
September 2020: The original Council requirement called for a review of the June 2018 laneway suites bylaw either when 100 permits had been issued or at the 2 year mark, whichever is sooner. The September report said that only 88 permits have been issued in the last two years, with another 24 applications under review. Not very impressive.
Some context: the same report said that “approximately 47,000 residential lots in the City of Toronto abut a public laneway and are zoned to permit a Laneway Suite.” According to Statistics Canada, during that same time period, between 1500 and 2700 residential building permits a month were issued in Toronto.
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