Multi-family homes on single-home lots raise eyebrows in Saskatoon

The idea of allowing developers to build a complex of four homes on a lot that had been used for just a single home is generating some debate in Saskatoon.

Lots would have to be 15 metres wide for a fourplex

A new report commissioned by the City of Saskatoon recommends infill rather than developing in new areas. (CBC)

The idea of allowing developers to build a complex of four homes on a lot that had been used for just a single home is generating some debate in Saskatoon.

The city is considering a new set of regulations that would permit the construction of fourplex units as infill on lots in older neighbourhoods. It is being pitched as one way to bring new vitality to older parts of the city.

A corner lot, with a wide front, could hold enough space for a fourplex infill. The city is considering a policy change for that. (Steve Pasqualotto/CBC)
"I think it's good," Doug Jaques, who live in one of Saskatoon's established areas. He says his corner lot could easily hold a home for many families. "If you look at the size of this, it's less density than it probably should be."

The city's strategy, if approved, would allow for a maximum of four units on corner lots that are at least 50 feet (or 15 metres) wide. The current policy would only allow for a duplex on such a lot.

"It's a matter of ensuring that there's enough people living in a neighbourhood to keep the neighbourhood active and vibrant," Darryl Dawson, from Saskatoon's planning and development department, explained. "[To have] enough children going to the schools and [people] visiting local shops."

Scale not right for street

The idea, however, has not met with universal acceptance especially among those who have seen what has happened in some neighbourhoods.

"In North Park for example, where I was raised, every fourth or fifth house is having a duplex put on the lot," Norm Wipf observed. "The sewer probably won't handle it. Same as probably in this area."

Dan Ring has seen a duplex rise next to his bungalow and feels the scale is not right for the street.

"It's a little too large for the neighbourhood," Ring told CBC News. "I think it's really out of context. It sticks out like a sore thumb and it's much too high I think."

A decision on the proposed change to Saskatoon's infill policy won't be made until city council considers it at a meeting in the fall of 2014.

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With files from CBC's Steve Pasqualotto


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