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Home builders call on city of Ottawa to allow fourplexes on properties

Ottawa homebuilders are calling on the city to allow fourplexes, up to four-storeys high on properties and ease zoning rules around major transit stations, as part of a review of the Zoning Bylaw for housing.

The Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association released a new white paper outlining possible reforms to housing, as the city of Ottawa develops a new “comprehensive Zoning Bylaw” to be approved next year.

“Ottawa has the opportunity to be an example of progressive leadership in zoning,” Jason Burggraaf, executive director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, said in a statement.

“The city’s bylaw amendments will not only shape the lives of the people who call this city their home today, but for generations to come.”

The Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association said its proposals are “critical reforms” to address the demand for housing by “offering actionable insights and suggestions.”

The association is calling on the city to expand as-of-right zoning to allow four units, up to four storeys high per lot.  Other recommendations include easing zoning rules to allow unlighted heights within 800 metres of transit stations and removing parking spot minimums for housing.

“Ottawa should only require, at most, up to one parking spot for the primary unit,” the GOHBA white paper says, “If more than one parking space is required, then two could be tandem parking spaces.”

The association also calls on the city to streamline planning approvals to simplify the development approval process and introduce a broad permissions model, remove the 45-degree angular plane requirement on mid-rise and high-rise developments and allow front-yard parking.

“The Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) recognizes that the current review of the City of Ottawa’s zoning bylaws presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform existing rules and restrictions to increase the city’s housing supply and improve affordability for residents, both now and in the future,” the report says.

As part of the city of Ottawa’s $176 million federal Housing Accelerator Fund agreement with the federal government, the city committed to allowing fourplexes on lots as part of the Zoning Bylaw review and re-zoning additional density around transit stations.

Ottawa’s housing pledge targets include 12,583 starts in 2024, 15,100 in 2025 and 17,617 starts in 2025.

Last week, Premier Doug Ford ruled out allow municipalities to build fourplexes as part of the next Ontario housing bill. In 2022, the government allowed the use of up to three units per lot in most existing residential areas.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Katherine DeClerq

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