Court dismisses appeal and allows gardens to be built in Toronto – Toronto |

Garden suites are allowed in Toronto after an appeals court dismissed attempts to block a city statute allowing the units to be built.

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In February, Toronto councilors passed an ordinance allowing residents to build second homes, known as laneway and garden suites, next to their property.

A garden suite is a dwelling unit “generally located in the rear yard of an existing home, but separate and apart from the main home,” according to a definition released by the city in February.

The city said garden suites are “generally” smaller than the main house on the lot and are often created as a way to house family members, such as parents, grandparents or adult children. They can also be used as rental units.

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Toronto City Council votes to allow garden suites in residential properties

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The statute was proposed as a potential route to alleviate the cost of housing in Toronto, for homeowners and renters, by expanding supply through infill.

A report from found that the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto during June cost $2,133, an increase of nearly 16 percent compared to 2021.

However, the statute was appealed to the Ontario Land Court (OLT) by a group of Toronto residents’ associations, Building Better Neighborhoods.

“In its appeal, the alliance argues that the city clearly overstepped provincial regulations limiting garden suites to single-family, semi-detached and semi-detached homes,” the group said in a statement issued March 8.

That appeal was dismissed on July 4, allowing the city of Toronto’s February charter to take effect, the city said in a news release.

The decision means that garden suites can now be built in Toronto, if they comply with other area-specific planning rules.

If a proposed garden suite meets area planning regulations — for example, it’s not taller than maximum height regulations — it just needs a building permit to be built, the city said.

For garden ensemble plans that do not comply with local zoning bylaws, residents can request a minor variance from the Toronto Adjustment Committee.

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“This is good news and will help build more housing,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

Gregg Lintern, Toronto’s chief planner, said allowing garden suites was a “key step” in expanding the city’s housing options and housing supply.

Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives also pledged to build 1.5 million new homes over 10 years during the election campaign.

— with files from Hannah Jackson of Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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