Last week the Toronto and East York Community Council (TEYCC) voted to implement the Changing Lanes policy. This is an amazing step forward, and we are thrilled with the outcome.
POSITIVE TEYCC OUTCOME
After May’s deferral, we were worried that many of the issues raised by the TEYCC were attempts to pander to NIMBYs, or layer on additional restrictions that would make laneway suites more expensive, time-consuming, and complicated to get approvals for. We are pleased to say that City Staff recommended avoiding any negative changes, and only positive changes occurred – except for some pandering to minority opposition.
The TEYCC was diligent about listing specific performance metrics for staff to track, including mapping uptake, tracking tree damage/removal, tracking parking changes, and consulting with seniors groups to strengthened aging-in-place standards. This information will allow the Changing Lanes policy to meaningfully grow over time. Its openness to change makes it future-proof.
What we are most please by, though, is Councillor Joe Mihevc’s motion for staff to consider rear yard suites for properties without laneways. Seeing this kind of thinking from the Councillors is proof that they are motivated to empower homeowners with the planning tools needed to afford their mortgages and infuse sensitive growth into our low-rise neighbourhoods where rental housing is most desperately needed.
Finally, the TEYCC should be applauded for dedicating $1million of the federal/provincial Investment in Affordable Housing Program to a pilot for subsidized laneway suites.
Please take a moment to email your Councillor, and thank them for their support of this policy:
- Ana Bailao (18) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joe Cressy (20) email@example.com
- Paula Fletcher (30) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mary Fragedakis (29) email@example.com
- Mike Layton (19) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Josh Matlow (22) email@example.com
- Mary-Margaret McMahon (32) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joe Mihevc (21) email@example.com
- Gord Perks (14) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lucy Troisi (28) email@example.com
- Kristyn Wong-Tam (27) firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, Councillor Janet Davis (31) was not present for the vote.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The TEYCC was the biggest hurdle to cross, however, there is a process the policy must follow before it is enacted as By-Laws.
The amendment must be adopted by City Council at their June 26th session. Community Council decision are usually adopted quickly and with minimal discussion, as they do not impact the City as a whole, but laneway housing has the potential to impact a broader housing landscape and many outer wards are interested in adopting similar policies. A lot of Councillors will be interested in this item, and some discussion is likely to result. City Staff will be present to answer any questions from Councillors. We are optimistic that the policy will be adopted with no detrimental changes. Expect Lanescape to broadcast the result as soon as the item is heard.
After City Council adoption, staff will be briefed on the new policy. We have reached out to the Planning department to see how long this is expected to take, but estimate at least a few weeks of administrative work will be required.
We are hopeful that homeowners can begin submitting applications for building permits some time this summer/fall. We will be keeping our hand on the pulse of City Hall to keep everyone informed. If you would like assistance in understanding the application process or your property’s conformance with the forthcoming bylaws, please contact email@example.com.