Burlington commits to allowing fourplexes and waiving fees on low-income housing to get more homes built in the city

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Published December 13, 2023 at 4:41 pm

more housing planned for burlington

The City of Burlington reiterated its commitment to getting more homes built in the city at a Dec. 12 council meeting by promising to move forward with its plans to allow fourplexes (homes with up to four units), waive parking minimums in two areas, waive fees on lower-income housing and developing a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) focused on affordable housing. 

Council unanimously approved the resolution, brought forward by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Deputy Mayor and Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte, yesterday.

On her website, Meed Ward said the commitments made in the resolution will help the city secure federal funding to meet its housing goals. 

With the city set to be home to 240,050 people by 2041 (and 265,160 people by 2051), there has been pressure to put forward a plan to increase housing supply. In August, the city applied for approximately $40 million from the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund, which is managed by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC). 

On her website, Meed Ward says the CMHC asked the city to “consider ways to be more ambitious in terms of its approach to creating more housing…and requested that the city convey its commitment to being more ambitious while still respecting [its] strategic priorities.

The resolution calls for the city to reiterate its commitment to the following initiatives: 

  • Allowing four units on a single lot to ensure there are more housing options for residents while also increasing the types of housing available
  • Launching a new “no parking minimum” (which means developers will not be mandated to build parking spaces that homebuyers don’t want) pilot program in the Fairview Street and Plains Road and Appleby Line corridors, both of which have been identified as future major transit nodes. 
  • Committing to understanding the impact of Bill 134 (a new provincial bill that revises the definition of affordable housing that’s exempt from development charges) and waiving fees on housing geared towards low- and moderate-income households, including co-ops. 
  • Developing a CIP to encourage the creation of more affordable/attainable housing, non-market housing and additional residential units. 

The city voted to allow fourplexes (also called four units as of right) last month.

This means that homeowners can now add up to three extra living spaces on their property by way of an addition, in the basement, on top of a garage or through a new structure in the backyard. The units can be self-contained with their own kitchens, bathrooms and sleeping areas.

The city still has to iron out the details of how the program will work and under the new rules, some homes may not qualify based on zoning regulations or other technical and structural conditions.

The resolution also calls for continued commitment to a Community Planning Permit System that will remove barriers to intensification and allow the development of more communities. 

Meed Ward also said the city supports the federal government’s move to potentially create a new version of a wartime housing effort to make it easier to build communities faster. 

“We hope reaffirming our commitments, with new additions and clarification, will lead us to federal approval of the City of Burlington’s Housing Accelerator Fund application of $40 million,” Meed Ward said on her website. 

The resolution will be sent to higher levels of government. 

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