Planning committee recommends changes for more basement apartments

Planning committee passes recommendation to make it easier to set apartments in homes.

Windsor's planning committee want changes to bylaws to make building secondary units in homes easier

The city's planning committee is recommending the city to change bylaws to make it easier for homeowners to add secondary units to their homes for rentals. (CBC)

Windsor's planning committee has voted to recommend amendments to the city's official plan and zoning bylaws, in order to permit secondary units in homes, duplexes and town homes.

That means homeowners could soon set up basement apartments in their homes with ease.

The recommendation is a response to a provincial law that encourages municipalities to make it easier for homeowners to set up apartments in their houses in order to provide more affordable housing units. 

"We spent a lot of time on housing advisory committee with the planning department talking about all the pieces they're thinking about," said Marina Clemens, who is on the committee. Windsor's housing advisory committee has been working with city administration since 2012 to create this new policy.

"Given the legislation and given it's a right now to do it, it gives people choices."

There are a number of rules to follow.

  • The apartments must be self-contained with their own kitchens, bathroom facilities and entrances.
  • Parking must be provided except in the downtown core where bus service is readily available.
  • Basement apartments wouldn't be allowed in flood plains.

The secondary units can also be created above garages and in secondary structures.

City planner Greg Atkinson told the committee that the basement units must be smaller than the rest of the house. He said because of the units' smaller size, they will likely be more affordable, however there is no way to ensure that. 

Caroline Taylor, resident in the city's west-end, says changing the policies will destroy neighbourhoods in the city. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Not everyone is on board with this proposed change.

Caroline Taylor is a resident in Ward 2, the city's west end, says this policy will only introduce more slumlords into the city and turn areas like Victoria Avenue into a "rental district."

"There's no better way to kill a community than to introduce rental duplexes everywhere," said Taylor. "No one wants renters in their neighbourhood."

This recommendation to the city is pending council approval.

About the Author

Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.