Proposed zoning amendments to strengthen town’s Housing Accelerator Fund application
To improve the availability of housing for its fast-growing population and to gain access to the Housing Accelerator Fund, Oakville Town Council approved bringing forth amendments to the town’s zoning by-law that would permit four units per property across the town, along with facilitating four-storey housing within 800 metres of Sheridan College.
Staff will review the town’s official plan and zoning by-law and prepare updates for public feedback. Following that, the amendments will go to Council for approval within three months.
The town currently permits three units per property, which resulted from recent provincial rule changes. The proposed change to four units per property could come in various forms, for example: the primary housing unit, a secondary unit such as a basement apartment, and potentially third and fourth dwelling units in the house or in garden suites, carriage houses, etc.
Council will also advocate to the Government of Canada to support the inclusion of a gentle density strategy, and to permit the conversion of suitable commercial properties near residential areas into mixed-use.
Town’s application for Housing Accelerator Fund
Since last summer, Oakville has been liaising with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to secure funding from the Housing Accelerator Fund. In October 2023 and January 2024, the Federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities requested additional changes to be considered to strengthen the town’s application to the Housing Accelerator Fund.
To meet the Minister’s request and to deliver on the town’s housing pledge to the Province of Ontario, the town will amend the zoning by-law to permit four units on all properties. This, along with other initiatives, will help facilitate the creation of more than 1,000 new homes and enable the town to secure up to $36 million in federal funding.
More details, including the staff report and request from the Federal Minister, are available online in the January 22, 2024 Planning and Development Council meeting agenda.
Should the town’s application to the Housing Accelerator Fund be successful, funding from the program could be used towards the initiatives that form part of the town’s application, including the additional initiatives approved by Council on January 22, 2024. Together, these will enhance the availability of housing and improve the town’s application for federal funding:
- Innovative housing solutions - policy enhancements and fee updates (Development Charge/Community Benefit Charge/parkland)
- Policy and regulation updates promoting and permitting accessory dwelling units including permitting four housing units per property across the town
- Town surplus land (including the Public Works Site which is to be developed)
- Hard and soft infrastructure planning around Bronte GO Major Transit Station Area
- Complete the Midtown Oakville Urban Growth Area Review
- Zoning updates for as-of-right intensification permissions including increasing density around Sheridan College
- Digital enhancements for development application processing
- Creating a Housing Secretariat Office to assist with advancing the town’s Housing Strategy and Action Plan
- Commitment to creating a Modular Housing Initiative
The funding may also be used for investments in community-related infrastructure that supports housing, including new fire halls, parks, roads, and active transportation enhancements.
The Housing Accelerator Fund is a federal program administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to provide up to $4 billion in federal funding to local municipalities to incentivize and support initiatives that accelerate the supply of housing across Canada.
- In October 2023, the town held two in-person public consultation meetings and launched an online survey to collect feedback on the town’s overarching Housing Strategy and Action Plan
- Currently, low density housing (detached and semi-detached homes) form 64 per cent of Oakville’s housing, while 24 per cent are medium density housing (townhouses, apartments with four storeys or less), and the remaining 12 per cent are high-density housing (apartments of five storeys or more).
- To provide more housing in key growth areas along major transit corridors, the town is looking at ways to facilitate more variety in the types of housing.
- Halton Region’s Official Plan calls for at least 65 per cent of new housing units produced annually in Halton to be in the form of townhouses or multi-storey buildings (higher density housing).
“We are committed to increasing housing opportunities and choices to respond to the diverse needs of our residents. We heard from several youth delegations who spoke passionately and shared their perspectives on the housing supply crisis with Council. We look forward to public feedback as we refine these latest changes to make rental housing and home ownership more achievable.”
- Mayor Rob Burton