It’s official – the tiny homes movement will soon be coming to a neighbourhood near you. Just this week, Kitchener City Council unanimously approved a motion to allow additional dwelling units to be constructed on qualifying existing lots all across the city. This amendment is expected to affect the status of as many as 57,000 properties in Kitchener, with existing zones of RES-1 through RES-5 now permitted to have up to three separate dwelling units per lot – i.e. a duplex, a triplex, or a detached coach house or ‘tiny home’.

The new regulations are expected to come into force by mid-year and have many residents wondering what these changes could mean for the value and potential of their own property. So without further ado, here’s a quick primer on what we know about this new zoning amendment:

What does the city mean by ‘additional dwelling unit?’

An attached additional dwelling unit is a separate self-contained dwelling unit within a single detached, semi-detached, or street townhouse dwelling. The current zoning by-law refers to one attached additional dwelling as a duplex.

detached additional dwelling unit is a separate self-contained dwelling unit located in a detached building on the same lot as a single detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling unit, or street townhouse dwelling unit. The current zoning by-law refers to this as a coach house.

Subject to regulation, RES-1 to RES-5 zones will permit three types of additional dwellings:

a) One additional dwelling, attached i.e. duplex

b) Two additional dwellings, attached i.e. triplex

c) Additional dwelling, detached i.e. coach house, tiny house, granny house etc.

How will I know if my own property is eligible?

Properties zoned RES-1 through RES-5 and meeting the regulations in section 4.12 of the new zoning bylaw can have additional dwelling units:

Regulations common for all three types of additional units:

a) Maximum 3 dwelling units on a lot

b) All units must connect to full municipal services

c) Only one door visible from the front

d) One parking space per unit

e) Maximum 55% lot coverage for all buildings

Regulations for Detached Additional Dwelling Units (coach houses, tiny houses and granny houses)

a) Min lot width 13.1m

b) Min lot area 395 m2

c) Maximum of one detached additional dwelling per lot

d) Must be located in rear yard minimum 0.6 m from property lines

e) 6.0 m max height and 3.0 m shortest wall height

f) Min side yard for principal building of 2.5m for interior lots

2 | FAQ: Additional Dwelling Units

g) 1.1m unobstructed path to the entrance

h) All required parking spaces can be in tandem

i) Total area of detached structures and additional dwellings cannot exceed 15% of lot area

j) Subject to site plan control

Regulations for One Attached Additional Dwellings Unit (duplex)

a) Must have access to full municipal services

b) Only one door visible from the front

c) One parking space per unit

d) Not subject to site plan control

Regulations for Two Attached Additional Dwellings Units (three units in a building)

a) Only in existing single detached dwellings

b) Only allowed in existing buildings and rear yard additions of up to 25% of existing floor area

c) Min lot width 13.1m

d) Min lot area 395 m2

e) Min landscaped area 20%

f) One of three required parking spaces can be in tandem

g) Subject to site plan control

What kinds of things are involved in site planning and control?

Detached Additional dwellings and two attached additional dwellings will be subject to site plan approval. You will need to prepare drawings and submit an application. The application fee is approximately $500. There is no meeting. Staff will review how your proposal addresses:

• design and massing

• water and sanitary servicing

• parking

• access

• stormwater management

• tree preservation

• landscaping

• amenity areas

Finally, if you have any questions whatsoever about your own specific circumstances or property to which you can find answers here, I’d invite you to reach out to one of our agents directly!  We’re always happy to offer a no-obligation consultation.

Article originally written by Lee Quaile on April 23, 2021