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Premier Ford clarifies fourplex comments despite insisting it would be a ‘disaster’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is clarifying his comments on fourplexes across the province, even as his government shuts down the idea of allowing four-storey buildings to be constructed in residential neighbourhoods without prior municipal approval.

On Friday, Ford stated that while he’s in favour of four units on a single property, he’s against the idea of four-storey buildings in neighbourhoods that are typically made-up of single-family or semi-detached homes.

“You have to differentiate between putting four units in an existing house or your neighbour tearing down the house and putting a four-storey tower,” Ford said at a housing-related announcement in Hamilton.

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“But what I’m not for is putting four-storey, six-storey, eight-storey towers, right dead centre in a community with regular housing,” Ford said.

While the Ford government was actively considering whether to accept a recommendation from the Housing Affordability Task Force on fourplexes, the premier publicly put his foot down, ruling out the policy entirely.

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The taskforce, which views as-of-right policies as the quickest way to boost housing in existing communities, recommended allowing residential housing “up to four units and up to four storeys on a single residential lot” without municipal approval.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie used the recommendation to write a private members bill, called the Build Ontario Act, that would allow four units and fourplexes to be built provincewide as-of-right.

Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are likely to knock down the Liberal party bill because the policy, the premier said, would be a “disaster.”

Ford said the province would not “override municipal planning to force four-, six-, eight-storey buildings” and allow city councils to decide whether fourplexes are right for their neigbourhoods.”

“Queen’s Park doesn’t know best,” Ford said.

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser criticized Premier Ford’s position, saying it chose “red tape and the status quo.”

“I sincerely hope the Ford government changes course on this decision,” Fraser said in a statement.

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