More rural homes may soon have apartments under Bill 23

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You may see more apartments in homes in rural areas.

It’s one of the changes in the Build More Homes Faster Act. And it is an issue Warwick Township is looking at during a community open houses.

Ken Melanson, the manager of planning and development services with Lambton County, says the province will allow up to three units on one property as long as there are no additions to the building

“What the additional dwelling unit rules talk about is this sort of internal conversion of your existing home. So you’re not changing the footprint or any exterior appearances,” he says.

The practice is fairly common in urban centres, but if the bill is passed, rural homeowners on a septic system will be able to convert their homes into three units.

“Additional dwelling units are typically a more urban form of additional or more gentle density. And here’s some recognition that we should enable them on a rural basis under certain circumstances. So what Bill 23 will do is, provide some overarching policy that may enable them on a rural lot.”

The owners would have to make sure the septic system would handle the waste of three units and follow the same rules already in place.

While Melanson says there hasn’t been a huge call for apartments in rural homes, it could help some of the housing issues being faced today.
“Perhaps the, the younger generation takes over the family home… having an additional dwelling unit above a garage or in a basement might allow a multi generational home for instance. And they and then the parents can have a level of independent living.”