Additional residential units - Townships

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Update: October 31, 2022

Community Planning staff has reviewed all community input received through Speak Up, Oxford!, township council presentations, and the public meeting. Thank you for your input!

Oxford County Council held a public meeting under the Planning Act on September 14, 2022, to discuss amendments to the Official Plan that would allow additional residential units (ARUs) in Oxford’s five rural townships and to obtain further input.

On October 26, proposed amendments to the Official Plan were deferred by Oxford County Council to allow staff time to report back on proposed changes to the Planning Act announced October 25 as part of Ontario's More Homes Built Faster Act, 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

The public consultation period for ARUs in Oxford's townships concluded on September 14, 2022. Opportunities for the public to provide feedback included:

  • Email/electronic submissions: Questions and comments were accepted through email to planning@oxfordcounty.ca; directly to the project lead, Meghan House, at mhouse@oxfordcounty.ca; or via the online question form.
  • Local council meetings: These took place between June 21 and August 9, 2022, and provided an opportunity for the public to hear a presentation on proposed changes.
  • Public meeting: This took place at County on September 14, 2022. Download the public notice
  • Feedback form: A short survey presented different options and scenarios for comment. The survey closed at midnight on Sunday, August 14, 2022.


More info about public consultation options


More information

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


Update: October 31, 2022

Community Planning staff has reviewed all community input received through Speak Up, Oxford!, township council presentations, and the public meeting. Thank you for your input!

Oxford County Council held a public meeting under the Planning Act on September 14, 2022, to discuss amendments to the Official Plan that would allow additional residential units (ARUs) in Oxford’s five rural townships and to obtain further input.

On October 26, proposed amendments to the Official Plan were deferred by Oxford County Council to allow staff time to report back on proposed changes to the Planning Act announced October 25 as part of Ontario's More Homes Built Faster Act, 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

The public consultation period for ARUs in Oxford's townships concluded on September 14, 2022. Opportunities for the public to provide feedback included:

  • Email/electronic submissions: Questions and comments were accepted through email to planning@oxfordcounty.ca; directly to the project lead, Meghan House, at mhouse@oxfordcounty.ca; or via the online question form.
  • Local council meetings: These took place between June 21 and August 9, 2022, and provided an opportunity for the public to hear a presentation on proposed changes.
  • Public meeting: This took place at County on September 14, 2022. Download the public notice
  • Feedback form: A short survey presented different options and scenarios for comment. The survey closed at midnight on Sunday, August 14, 2022.


More info about public consultation options


More information

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


  • Public meeting recording and expected return to Council

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    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 in October.

  • Report to County Council and public meeting

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    September 12, 2022

    A report on amendments to the Official Plan to allow additional residential units (ARUs) in Oxford’s five rural townships is before County Council on September 14, 2022. This Council meeting includes a public meeting in which any member of public can delegate or make comments before Council.

    You can watch the public meeting live at County Council on September 14 at www.oxfordcounty.ca/livestream.

  • Consultation period closed

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    August 20, 2022

    Thank you to those who submitted comments through the feedback form, now closed.

    You can now review the proposed Official Plan Amendment (OPA 285 in the Documents section at right) and provide comments to Community Planning staff at any time leading up to or at the County Council public meeting on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. An agenda with the full report to council will be posted in advance on Friday, September 9 in the Council section of the website. To watch the public meeting live on September 14, go to www.oxfordcounty.ca/livestream.

  • Have your say on ARUs in Oxford's rural townships

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    July 4, 2022

    Oxford County is updating its Official Plan policies to allow for Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in Oxford’s rural areas and we want to hear from you!

    ARUs are smaller dwelling units that are part of a primary residence, for instance an apartment or tiny home. An update to Oxford County's Official Plan policies would allow for Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in the Townships of Blandford-Blenheim, East Zorra-Tavistock, Norwich, South-West Oxford and Zorra.

    Here's how you can have your say:

    • SEND AN EMAIL. 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 Oxford June 21 2022 - 7:00 p.m.

    Zorra July 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.

    East Zorra-Tavistock July 6, 2022 - 9:00 a.m.

    Blandford-Blenheim July 6, 2022 - 4:00 p.m.

    Norwich August 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.
  • Oxford County updating Official Plan policies to allow for Additional Residential Units in Oxford's rural areas

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    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.

Page last updated: 31 Oct 2022, 11:47 PM