Additional residential units - Townships

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Update: September 19, 2022

Oxford County Council held a Public Meeting under the Planning Act on September 14, 2022, to discuss amendments to the Official Plan to allow additional residential units (ARUs) in Oxford’s five rural townships, and to obtain public input. Community Planning staff is reviewing the input received and anticipates that the final draft Official Plan Amendment will return to County Council on October 12, 2022.




Additional residential units in the five rural townships

June 20, 2022

Oxford County is in the process of updating its Official Plan policies to allow for Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in Oxford’s rural areas, including the Townships of Blandford-Blenheim, East Zorra-Tavistock, Norwich, South-West Oxford and Zorra. These updates will allow residents to establish ARUs in rural settlements and on rural residential and agricultural lots, where appropriate.

The Planning Act directs that municipalities enact policies and zoning provisions that authorize ARUs in, and/or on the same property as, low density housing types, such as single-detached and semi-detached homes. This is one way that communities can provide additional housing options and increase the overall housing supply.

Updates to policies for ARUs in Oxford’s urban areas, including Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, and Woodstock, are being considered separately. The ARU policies for Woodstock were recently approved and more details are available on the project webpage.


What are ARUs?

ARUs are smaller, secondary dwelling units (i.e., self-contained units with their own kitchen, bathroom and sleeping areas) that are inside, attached to, or on the same property as (and in close proximity to) a primary dwelling, including single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and street fronting townhouses. ARUs can take many forms, such as basement apartments, attached suites, tiny homes and coach houses. It is expected that ARUs would need to meet minimum criteria, such as:

  • located to the rear/side of the principal house with setbacks from lot lines and other uses;
  • appropriate unit access and parking;
  • adequate public/private water and wastewater services; and
  • a maximum unit size to maintain affordability and minimize impacts to existing development and infrastructure.

Such units would also need to meet all local zoning, building and fire code requirements and may be eligible for funding or other support programs, such as the County’s My Second Unit program (see "Resources" at right).


Have your say

As this project progresses, there will be opportunities to provide feedback through written comments on the proposed changes and/or at a public meeting. Please check this page again for more information.

  • SEND AN EMAIL. You can send a question or comment at any time to planning@oxfordcounty.ca or the project lead, Meghan House, at mhouse@oxfordcounty.ca. While comments may be sent at any time, those received before the draft policies are presented to County Council will be used to help develop the policy.

  • ATTEND YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL MEETING. Oxford County staff will present draft Official Plan policies (see "Documents" at right) to Township Councils for feedback on the following dates:
South-West OxfordJune 21 2022 - 7:00 p.m.
ZorraJuly 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.
East Zorra-TavistockJuly 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.
Blandford-BlenheimJuly 6, 2022 - 4:00 p.m.
NorwichAugust 9, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.

Meetings are open to the public: please check the individual Township websites and meeting agendas for details. Township Councils will further discuss detailed zoning provisions and how the policies will be implemented at a later meeting date.

  • ATTEND THE COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING - September 14, 2022 – 9:00 a.m. The public meeting at County Council is an opportunity for members of the public to state comments for the public record or delegate to make a presentation. Visit the Council section of the Oxford County website for more information.
    Download the public notice | Download Proposed Amendment OPA 285 | See Current Application Notices and Reports on the website

  • ASK A QUESTION. Do you have questions about how additional residential units would work in your community? Use the comment form below to ask your question and a staff member will get back to you within three business days. Go to question form

  • FILL OUT THE FEEDBACK FORM. This short survey can be found below and presents different options and scenarios on which you can share your opinion. The survey deadline is midnight on Sunday, August 14, 2022. Note: The feedback form is now closed.


More information

To learn more about proposed policies for additional residential units in the rural areas of Oxford County, please review the Council report in the Documents section to the right.

If you have questions, please send an email to planning@oxfordcounty.ca.


Update: September 19, 2022

Oxford County Council held a Public Meeting under the Planning Act on September 14, 2022, to discuss amendments to the Official Plan to allow additional residential units (ARUs) in Oxford’s five rural townships, and to obtain public input. Community Planning staff is reviewing the input received and anticipates that the final draft Official Plan Amendment will return to County Council on October 12, 2022.




Additional residential units in the five rural townships

June 20, 2022

Oxford County is in the process of updating its Official Plan policies to allow for Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in Oxford’s rural areas, including the Townships of Blandford-Blenheim, East Zorra-Tavistock, Norwich, South-West Oxford and Zorra. These updates will allow residents to establish ARUs in rural settlements and on rural residential and agricultural lots, where appropriate.

The Planning Act directs that municipalities enact policies and zoning provisions that authorize ARUs in, and/or on the same property as, low density housing types, such as single-detached and semi-detached homes. This is one way that communities can provide additional housing options and increase the overall housing supply.

Updates to policies for ARUs in Oxford’s urban areas, including Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, and Woodstock, are being considered separately. The ARU policies for Woodstock were recently approved and more details are available on the project webpage.


What are ARUs?

ARUs are smaller, secondary dwelling units (i.e., self-contained units with their own kitchen, bathroom and sleeping areas) that are inside, attached to, or on the same property as (and in close proximity to) a primary dwelling, including single detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and street fronting townhouses. ARUs can take many forms, such as basement apartments, attached suites, tiny homes and coach houses. It is expected that ARUs would need to meet minimum criteria, such as:

  • located to the rear/side of the principal house with setbacks from lot lines and other uses;
  • appropriate unit access and parking;
  • adequate public/private water and wastewater services; and
  • a maximum unit size to maintain affordability and minimize impacts to existing development and infrastructure.

Such units would also need to meet all local zoning, building and fire code requirements and may be eligible for funding or other support programs, such as the County’s My Second Unit program (see "Resources" at right).


Have your say

As this project progresses, there will be opportunities to provide feedback through written comments on the proposed changes and/or at a public meeting. Please check this page again for more information.

  • SEND AN EMAIL. You can send a question or comment at any time to planning@oxfordcounty.ca or the project lead, Meghan House, at mhouse@oxfordcounty.ca. While comments may be sent at any time, those received before the draft policies are presented to County Council will be used to help develop the policy.

  • ATTEND YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL MEETING. Oxford County staff will present draft Official Plan policies (see "Documents" at right) to Township Councils for feedback on the following dates:
South-West OxfordJune 21 2022 - 7:00 p.m.
ZorraJuly 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.
East Zorra-TavistockJuly 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.
Blandford-BlenheimJuly 6, 2022 - 4:00 p.m.
NorwichAugust 9, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.

Meetings are open to the public: please check the individual Township websites and meeting agendas for details. Township Councils will further discuss detailed zoning provisions and how the policies will be implemented at a later meeting date.

  • ATTEND THE COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING - September 14, 2022 – 9:00 a.m. The public meeting at County Council is an opportunity for members of the public to state comments for the public record or delegate to make a presentation. Visit the Council section of the Oxford County website for more information.
    Download the public notice | Download Proposed Amendment OPA 285 | See Current Application Notices and Reports on the website

  • ASK A QUESTION. Do you have questions about how additional residential units would work in your community? Use the comment form below to ask your question and a staff member will get back to you within three business days. Go to question form

  • FILL OUT THE FEEDBACK FORM. This short survey can be found below and presents different options and scenarios on which you can share your opinion. The survey deadline is midnight on Sunday, August 14, 2022. Note: The feedback form is now closed.


More information

To learn more about proposed policies for additional residential units in the rural areas of Oxford County, please review the Council report in the Documents section to the right.

If you have questions, please send an email to planning@oxfordcounty.ca.


  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Approximate time: 5 minutes

    Oxford County is in the process of updating the Official Plan policies to allow for additional residential units in the rural areas of the County. You can give your feedback on these proposed changes through this form. If you would like more information before you start, please review the draft materials here. The deadline to complete the survey is Sunday, August 14, 2022 at midnight. 

    Please note that your personal information, such as email address, will not be shared. Comments and survey results will be compiled anonymously in a future report to County Council.

    Complete Form
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Page last updated: 29 Sep 2022, 05:10 PM