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Council Will Have To Remove Secondary Suite 3yr Exclusion

Council Will Have To Remove Secondary Suite 3yr Exclusion


When Council decided that the best solution to the “are they or are they not duplexes” was not to clean up their definitions but instead to put a restriction on secondary suites so they could not be added to a new home or homes less than 3yrs old, many saw this as a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that Council created and failed to fix and that cost taxpayers $140,000.

Furthermore, the confusion continued as it was unclear whether decisions could be challenged at the Ontario Municipal Board by way of appeal.  Council passed the restrictions and sent them to the County of Simcoe for approval as OPA #9 (Official Plan Amendment #9).  To their credit, Council wisely had their lawyer look into this although they likely did not expect the response that is coming back to them.

This zoning or definition fiasco saw neighbours on Aberdeen upset and the municipal tax purse likely robbed of $140,000 in development charges.  Without the will to go back after the developer for the lost income, likely due to the ambiguity around the the Town’s own definitions of Duplex and Secondary Suites, they resigned themselves (and the rest of us) to the losses and figured they’d outsmarted any future attempts to build new homes that blurred the lines between duplexes and secondary suites without having to clean up something as simple as definitions.

Their legal council is now reporting otherwise.  In a letter that will be officially presented to Council on Monday’s meeting, the Town’s solicitor states that “the Province will likely actively intervene in ensuring that OPA No. 9 is not approved with policies that allow for its implementation based upon the age of the dwelling.

In addition the Ministry of Housing’s own planner Steven Barber says:

“This proposed policy indicates that second units will be created in accordance with the Zoning By-law, which may include restrictions concerning the location and age of the primary dwelling and the size and servicing requirements of the secondary unit. Zoning By-laws 2016-28 and 2016-29 provide that a primary dwelling must be a minimum of 3 years of age in order for a second unit to be permitted.

This requirement is, in the view of Ministry staff restrictive and not consistent with the intent of the Planning Act which envisions second suites in new builds as well as retrofit units. It is worth noting that it is, in many instances, easier to accommodate a second suite in a new build.

The proposed OP policy would more appropriately state that a second unit “shall be permitted” in accordance with zoning provisions dealing with: a) maximum number of second units per dwelling; b) minimum second unit size; c) parking provisions; d) exterior; and e) landscaping requirements. We recommend that the reference to limitations on the age of the primary dwelling be removed from the OP and the Zoning By-law.”

This may be bad news for those who were happy to not see any secondary suites and “rentals” in premium neighbourhoods, and means that Council likely needs to deal with their definitions of Duplexes and Secondary Suites clearly and concisely to avoid un-intended development.  It seems that the Province’s intent is to see secondary suites allowed by anyone at anytime and without onerous restrictions.  Council needs to go back to the drawing board and people who don’t want to see “renters” in their neighbourhoods will need to accept that reality and move on.  No neighbourhood will be exempt in Ontario.  And in this author’s opinion, that’s the way it should be.

Read the whole chain of letters below.

Link to documents: http://www.ourmidland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/aird-belis.pdf



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  1. It is quite incorrect to suggest that the purpose of the three year rule adopted by Council is to prevent “renters” from neighbourhoods. This has never been the reason for urging and supporting the three year restriction for the construction of second units. It should also be understood that the three year restriction does not prevent the development of second units from among Midlands 7,500 existing single detached qualifying homes, including all the Tiffin homes, or in completely new subdivisions like the new one on Highway 12 behind Walmart.

    There are 5 incomplete subdivisions in Midland. This includes the one around Tiffin Pond off Aberdeen Boulevard. When the residents purchased their homes they were zoned and sold as being part of a community of single family homes. These people had every reason to believe this is exactly the way the community would continue to develop.
    Under the guise of the “Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act” a developer was allowed to construct 10 duplexes renting at $1,350 for two bedroom and $1,695 for three bedroom units. As the Town of Midland Planning Department pointed out these units are not about affordable rental housing, “It is the provision of executive rental housing and not in keeping with the spirit of Bill 140 which is called, “Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act.”

    The community was completely blindsided by the construction of the 10 duplexes on south Aberdeen. With around 70 % of the lots around Tiffin Pond unsold residents are fearful that without the three year restriction another strip of commercial duplex type rental units could be imposed on them and the other four incomplete developments. In short, all the residents of Tiffin want is to see the development completed as per the zoning they were sold and bought into.

    We are urging Midland Council to continue the discussions with Simcoe County regarding Midland’s three year restriction. As we state in our letter to Midland and Simcoe County Councilors, “We believe it makes eminent sense for Town Council to allow the Minister to come to his own conclusions and take any steps he considers appropriate instead of trying to guess what the Minister’s view might be.” If the Minister intends to mandate executive rental units everywhere in the province where local zoning bylaws now permit only single detached homes let the Minister and government take responsibility for that decision.

    Allan Arlett, President
    Tiffin Homeowners Association
    60 Riverwalk Place

  2. You are 100% correct that the main problem is the lack of definition of “duplex” versus “secondary suite”.
    Planning Department has been totally inconsistent in their application of Bill 140. Initially they claimed that the Aberdeen duplexes were Bill 140 “Affordable Housing” mandated….now they become “executive rentals”….not Affordable Housing.
    The Planning (or lack of planning) Staff are a major liability to our town, and previously totally opposed the wishes of the Edgehill Park community…and now Tiffin and elsewhere. They are ably supported by our Mayor who has personal ambitions to be the Simcoe County champion of Affordable Housing…and get a bigger job.
    Affordable housing is not just secondary suites…..all Government (Municipal, County or Province) is doing with secondary suite legislation is shirking and neglecting their responsibilities to the people of our local community and Province. Why are they not genuinely building housing for our people who need it ? Instead they promote that you live in somebody’s basement with all the stigma that is associated with it ? No pride of ownership ? Great way to raise a family……..I think not. Build housing at affordable prices certainly, not stick families in basements.
    I worry that the people who really need to benefit from properly provided affordable housing will suffer more.
    Good luck to us all

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Council Will Have To Remove Secondary Suite 3yr Exclusion

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