Be informed on Laneway Housing: Planning Progress & Next Steps

City Planning staff presented background of their work on the Changing Lanes (Laneway Housing) initiative to representatives from Residents' Associations from across the Toronto and East York area and shared a set of draft guidelines for discussion and comment.

For the City's transmittal letter from Graig Uens, with context and next steps, please see BELOW.
For the background presentation, please click HERE.
For Draft Guidelines, as presented at the meeting, please click HERE..

City Planning Staff are planning a Community Meeting to occur in late March. Meeting date and details are not available at this time.


The City's transmittal letter from Graig Uens

From: Graig Uens []
Sent: February 28, 2018 12:34 PM
Subject: Changing Lanes Residents' Association Forum: Follow-up

Hello all,

Thank you to everyone who attended our Changing Lanes Residents' Association Forum on the weekend at St. Paul's Bloor Street. Thank you as well to those who contact me to express regrets at not being able to attend and request future follow-up.

The meeting was attended by a range of representatives from Residents' Associations from across the Toronto and East York area. At the meeting, City Planning staff presented a background of our work on the Changing Lanes initiative and shared a set of draft guidelines intended to guide the form, scale, and location of laneway suites for discussion and comment.

Meeting Materials

The City's background presentation and Draft Guidelines, as presented at the meeting, are attached.

Please note that these are Draft Guidelines. They will continue to develop and expand, with additional information, including details about the application processes, departmental contact information, links to other city documents and forms, and other criteria related to the form and location of laneway suites.  An updated Draft of the Guidelines will be available later this spring. We intend that the Guidelines will evolve to respond to the comments, concerns, and ideas we have received from the community.

These materials will be posted on the City's website, within the next few weeks.

Meeting Discussion

The second half of the meeting allowed attendees an opportunity to discuss the guidelines and other neighbourhood-wide impacts and opportunities created by Laneway Suites. Each table summarized their discussion towards the end of the meeting. Some great questions and common themes were raised by the tables that City Planning staff will continue to work on as we develop our guidelines further.  The following is brief summary of some of the questions and comments raised at the meeting:  

  • General support was expressed for laneway suites where appropriate design, scale, and access could be ensured,  
  • Questions were raised regarding laneway suites impact on affordability within Neighbourhoods,
  • Concern was raised regarding the construction of laneway suites diminishing rear yard landscaped open space,
  • The requirements for emergency access, specifically the provision of a 1 metre side-yard, were noted as being too restrictive, and difficult to accommodate on many sites,
  • It was requested that the City look critically at the application and permit fees, development charges, parks levies, and other costs in assessing the feasibility of laneway suite construction,
  • There were mixed opinions on whether parking should be required on lots with laneway suites. Some noted that parking is a neighbourhood specific issue and should be addressed through locally specific measures,
  • Privacy and overlook into adjacent yards was noted as a concern,  
  • Questions were raised about the process, and whether the City would be supporting minor variances that would increase the scale of laneway suites,
  • It was suggested that laneway suites could help activate laneways, making them safer, more inviting, and better used, and,
  • Questions and concerns regarding MPAC assessments, short term rentals, side yard setbacks, servicing within laneways, and other matters were also raised at the meeting.

Next Steps

City Planning Staff are currently planning a Community Meeting to occur in late March. Meeting details will be emailed to recipients of this message, and notice via mail and newspaper ads will also be issued. We look forward to seeing you then.

 If you have any comments or questions on the attached presentation and guidelines, or the Changing Lanes initiative generally, please reply to this email.

Thank You,
Graig Uens, MCIP, RPP
Senior Planner, Community Planning
100 Queen Street W.
18th floor (East Tower)
M5H 2N2