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Skip Navigation LinksZoning-By-law-Updates-for-Affordable-Housing Zoning By-law Updates for Affordable Housing

​Zoning By-law Updates for Affordable Housing

On October 4, 2021, City Council adopted two by-law amendments to Zoning By-law 2009-141 to facilitate more and better affordable housing options. 

In March 2021, City Staff provided an update to Council on progress made towards the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy goal to create 840 affordable units by 2024. Included in that report were several recommendations, including a review of Zoning By-law standards and proposed amendments to facilitate more affordable housing options.

Public Meeting: June 15, 2021

At a June 15 public meeting, a presentation​​ was made by City staff, providing an overview of the proposed amendments. The meeting was open to members of the public to express comments/feedback on the proposed amendments (see the public notice for details). Members of Council asked questions of clarification to City Staff. 

No decision was made at the public meeting.

City Council: October 4, 2021

Following the June 15 public meeting, the City revised the proposed amendments based on feedback and presented them to Council for adoption.

This resulted in the passing of By-law 2021-085, which updates standards for detached accessory dwelling units and second suites, and By-law 2021-086​, which updates standards for affordable housing more generally.​

To further support these new affordable housing standards, and to ensure a smooth process, Council also passed updates to other supporting by-laws: including one related to registrations and another related to site plan control.

About the Amendments​

The intent of the proposed amendments is to address barriers to housing affordability, clarify definitions, update development standards for second suites and detached accessory dwelling, and improve implementation of the Zoning By-law to support affordable housing initiatives.

Second Suites and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units

The proposed by-law updates to the second suites and detached accessory dwelling unit provisions are intended to address concerns regarding affordability and land use compatibility, while maintaining conformity with provincial Planning Act requirements:​

There has been considerable uptake in the construction of second suites in Barrie, however affordability of these units is declining. In 2020, only 25% of new second suites were assumed to be rented at an affordable rate, compared to 70% in 2018 and 2019, and 90% in 2017.

Staff also noted a growing interest in the construction of detached accessory dwelling units, as well as concerns from residents regarding their size and impact on neighbouring properties.

Scoped Site Plan Approval

Detached accessory dwelling units in all residential zones are now subject to scoped site plan approval. More information is coming soon. If you are interested in applying for a detached accessory dwelling unit in the interim, please contact Shelby.White@barrie.ca​.

Other Proposed Affordable Housing Changes

Other proposed Zoning By-law changes seek to make it easier to building more affordable housing options by:

  • permitting smaller units.
  • making it easier to create additional dwelling units in existing multi-residential buildings.
  • exploring options for mixed institutional-residential uses.

Providing more as-of-right permissions in the Zoning By-law for affordable units should provide greater project certainty for housing providers, make it easier for them to secure government funding, and reduce approval times—all of which directly and indirectly impact the cost and feasibility of building affordable housing.

Summary of the Proposed Amendments

The proposed amendments to the text of the By-law would apply city-wide and may trigger associated revisions to standards requirements in other sections of the By-law. A summary of changes is provided below.

Minimum dwelling unit floor area requirements

Proposed deletion of all minimum dwelling unit floor area requirements from the Zoning By-law to permit smaller units as of right, and instead rely on the Ontario Building Code to regulate minimum unit size.

Section 3.0 (Definitions)

Make changes to Section 3.0 Definitions to improve implementation of the By-law, including:

  • Revise "Attic," “Basement," “First Storey," and “Storey" to match the Ontario Building Code definitions.
  • Revise “Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit," “Duplex Dwelling," and “Second Suite" to improve clarity and better distinguish between these built forms.
  • Revise “Multiple Dwelling" to state it is a building containing 4 or more units.
  • Add "Grade" and “Tandem Parking Space" to improve clarity.
Section 4.4 (Non-Conforming Uses)

Proposed changes to Section 4.4 Non-Conforming Uses to make it easier to add additional dwelling units into existing, legal non-conforming buildings or lots by exempting them from meeting current zoning standards, except for parking, when adding units into an existing building, including converting non-residential buildings to a residential use or mixed use. This would only apply when the proposed use is already permitted on the property. Any new construction or additions to the existing building would need to comply with applicable zoning standards.

Table 5.2 (permitted uses in the Residential Zone)

Proposed update to Table 5.2 to clarify that “Second Suites" are a permitted accessory use, and add “Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit" as a permitted accessory use in the R1, R2, R3, R4, RM1, RM1-SS, RM2, and RM2-TH zones.

Second suite standards

Proposed changes to the existing second suite standards include:

  • Clarifying that these are only permitted as an accessory use to a single detached dwelling, semi-detached dwelling unit, or street townhouse dwelling unit.
  • Setting a new maximum unit size.
  • Requiring a 1.2 metre wide unobstructed path of travel to be provided to the primary entrance of the second suite from the street, driveway, or parking area.
  • Establishing that second suites are not permitted in an area subject to natural hazards such as flooding or erosion hazard.
Detached accessory dwelling unit standards

Proposed changes to detached accessory dwelling unit standards include:

  • Clarifying that these are only permitted as an accessory use to a single detached dwelling, duplex dwelling, semi-detached dwelling unit, or street townhouse dwelling unit.
  • Setting a maximum unit size.
  • Detached accessory dwelling units would continue to be subject to the maximum lot coverage requirements for accessory structures, and not permitted in front yards.
  • Requiring a 1.2 metre wide unobstructed path of travel to be provided to the primary entrance of the detached accessory dwelling unit from the street, driveway, or parking area.
  • Establishing that detached accessory dwelling unit are not permitted in an area subject to natural hazards such as flooding or erosion hazard.
  • Establishing new development standards for accessory building and structures containing a detached accessory dwelling unit, including a maximum height of 4.5 metres, a minimum front-yard setback of 7.0 metres, minimum side-yard setback of 3.0 metres  and minimum rear-yard setback of 7.0 metres.
  • Prohibiting basements as part of a detached accessory dwelling unit.
  • Clarifying encroachment permissions.
  • ​Requiring any lot with a detached accessory dwelling unit to require a landscape buffer area with a minimum width of 3.0 metres wide along the rear and interior side lot lines adjacent to it.
Section 8.0 (Institutional)

Proposed amendment to Section 8.0 Institutional to permit residential uses in conjunction with permitted Institutional uses on properties zoned Institutional (I), subject to appropriate development standards.

Add a new provision to allow a maximum lot coverage of 50.0 per cent when Residential uses are located on the same lot as Institutional uses.

Table 14.5.2 (permitted uses in the Residential Neighbourhood and Residential Multiple Neighbourhood Zones)

Proposed update to Table 14.5.2: Change “Two Unit Dwelling" to “Semi-Detached, Duplex Dwelling" and add “Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit" as a distinct permitted Accessory Use in the R5 and RM3 zones, subject to the new standards in Section 5.2.9.

See the public notice for more detail.

Frequently Asked Questions

What affordable housing Zoning By-law amendments were made previously?

n November 2019, Council approved By-law 2019-115, which included updates to the Zoning By-law that made it easier to build a second suite and other forms of affordable housing, including permitting both a second suite and a detached accessory dwelling unit in the R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, RM1, RM2, RM3, and RM2-TH zones, subject to Section 5.2.9 of the Zoning By-law.

The change to allow a second suite and third unit in an accessory structure was made to bring the Zoning By-law into conformity with changes made to the Planning Act by Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, which requires municipalities to authorize the use of two residential units in a detached house, semi-detached house or rowhouse, and in an accessory building or structure to these.

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