KAWARTHA LAKES – As the housing market continues to skyrocket and becoming a homeowner becomes more and more difficult, a petition was brought to council, requesting the legalization of tiny homes in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
According to Richard Holy, (Acting) Director of Development Services, the potential by-law change to allow tiny homes in Kawartha Lakes has been referred by Council to the Rural Zoning By-Law for consideration.
“Staff together with the consultant will review this matter and provide some options through the public meeting phase of the process. Finalization of the Rural Zoning By-Law is expected to be completed in 2022,” he said.
Councillor Tracy Richardson says the Planning Division is currently taking a close look at the existing 13 Rural Zoning by-laws in an effort to consolidate them into one. In the consolidation, a variety of topics are being considered and the legalization of tiny homes was found to be best suited to be addressed during that process, she said.
“Tiny homes were flagged in the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement, they are identified as a housing option and meant to be a permanent year-round home. It is a newer trend with the hopes of filling the gaps and provide an affordable way of living,” she said. “Tiny homes is a eco-friendly model, smaller footprint with lower expenditures, which is a viable option regarding the current crisis with house affordability. The City is reviewing through the rural zoning bylaw consolidation and I do support looking into this option.”
The petition brought to council by local resident of Lindsay, Peter Wallace, had 98 signatures and stated that, “We the undersigned, petition the Council of the City of Kawartha Lakes to legalize the construction and full-time occupancy of tiny homes, both on foundations and on wheels, in our community through modification of existing zoning by-laws. We further ask that tiny homes be permitted as both secondary dwellings on properties with existing residential homes and as primary dwellings on vacant land.”
The petition called for the legalization of tiny homes for both construction and year-round occupancy in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Summary of concerns listed on the petition:
- We are in the middle of a housing crisis and homeownership is no longer an obtainable goal for a significant portion of the population.
- The inability for many to achieve homeownership is eroding the middle class.
- Tiny homes will never be the entire solution, but they offer a meaningful option for those interested in this form of living.
- Tiny homes should exist as a legal option for those that want to build them safely.
- Municipalities can benefit from the increased tax revenues by allowing tiny homes as accessory dwellings or on their own.
- An infusion of young adults in the community, a welcome boost to the local economy for any town with an ageing population.
- Increased access to affordable housing options particularly for single people or “empty nesters” who do not require a traditional family size home.
- Increased supply of rental housing in the community.
And with the pandemic, a housing market that has gone haywire and other restrictions make homeownership a distant dream for many, a tiny home can be a viable option if the current by-laws allow it.
According to Ontario.ca, a “tiny home” is defined as a small, private and self-contained dwelling unit that features:
- living and dining areas
- kitchen and bathroom facilities
- a sleeping area
- intended for year-round use
A tiny home can be a primary home or a separate structure on a property that already has an existing house. Campers, recreational vehicles, cottages and other structures used on a seasonal basis are not considered tiny homes.
The size of a tiny home varies from municipality to municipality, depending on standards set out in zoning by-laws.
Some municipalities have minimum size requirements, while others have maximum size requirements.
Some of the important things you should talk to your municipality about as you consider building a tiny home include:
- municipal zoning requirements that apply to your property
- designing your tiny home to comply with the Building Code
- getting necessary building permits
- required building inspections during construction
- parking requirements
- size requirements for tiny homes, if any
- rules about connecting to municipal services, if available
For further information on tiny homes visit, https://www.ontario.ca/document/build-or-buy-tiny-home.