What are additional residential units (ARUs)?

    Additional residential units (ARUs) are 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 located close to) a primary dwelling unit, such as a single or semi-detached dwelling. They can take many forms, such as basement apartments, tiny homes, attached suites and coach houses.

    Why is the County updating its policies and zoning by-laws for additional residential units?

    The More Homes, More Choices Act, came into effect in Ontario in September 2019. The resulting changes to the Planning Act direct municipalities to enact policies and zoning provisions that allow for additional residential units to be established in low density housing types, including single-detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings and rowhouses (typically referred to as "street fronting townhouses" in Oxford County). Further details were added to the legislation by Ontario Regulation 299/19. 

    The proposed updates to the County Official Plan and Township Zoning By-Laws are being undertaken to implement this provincial direction in a manner that is appropriate for Oxford’s rural areas.

    What will change?

    County Council has directed staff to draft proposed policy amendments that would provide direction to establish additional residential units in the five rural townships. Development of these new policies will include consultation with Township staff and Councils, residents, and other stakeholders. Further details about the proposed policies and associated zoning regulations will be provided as the project progresses.

    Once the policy direction is established, it is anticipated that fact sheets/user guides will be developed to provide further information on the process and requirements for establishing an additional residential unit on a lot in the County’s rural areas, including on a lot in a village with full municipal services or a settlement without fully municipal services (i.e., villages and rural clusters) or on an agricultural or rural residential lot. For more details, read the Planning Report CP 2022-16 under Documents.

    Are there any funding programs for ARUs?

    Oxford County is in the process of launching a secondary unit program to help homeowners plan, finance and rent out a secondary, self-contained dwelling unit in their home. For more information see the  Add a second unit in your house page (My Second Unit) in Speak Up, Oxford!

    When is this happening?

    Residents and other stakeholders have the opportunity to provide their input on the draft policies (see "Documents section") through July 2022. Please submit any comments or questions to the project lead. It is expected that the policies will be presented to County Council in September 2022, and the final drafts will be made available to the public before that meeting.