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.


Submit a comment or question

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    Do the ARU's have to be occupied by a relative? Do the occupants have to live there for 12 months or can it be seasonal? Minimum/Maximum square footage of an ARU. Wonderful concept! Great forward planning on the part of local government.

    Janis asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your questions. 

    Under the Planning Act (Ontario Regulation 299/19), ARUs may be occupied by any person regardless of whether the person who occupies the additional residential unit is related to the person who occupies the primary residential unit(s) and/or the person who occupies with the primary or additional residential unit(s) is the owner of the lot.  

    The current draft Official Plan policies do not propose a minimum occupancy period.

    The draft policies propose a cumulative maximum gross floor area (i.e., all ARUs on the lot) of no greater than 50% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, to a maximum of 100 m2 (1076 ft2).

     We hope this answers your questions.

     

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