Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Fire green to accessory dwellings in Quebec

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Aerial view of the Limoilou district and the north of Quebec City.

  • Louise Boisvert (View profile)Louise Boisvert

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The Marchand administration will table its regulations on Tuesday to allow gentle densification on residential land in Quebec City. The objective is to relax regulations to encourage the conversion of basements or a second floor into housing or even allow the construction of “garden houses”.

This is one of the measures put in place to accelerate the creation of housing in the territory of Quebec City. The Marchand administration has an ambition to build 80,000 new housing units by 2040 to meet demand. This is part of the actions that had been identified to add a range of products, underlines councilor Mélissa Coulombe-Leduc, member of the executive committee, responsible for urban planning.

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Mélissa Coulombe-Leduc, councilor of the Cap-aux-Diamants district and responsible for town planning to the executive committee.

The City hopes to encourage small-scale densification. After the adoption of the regulation later in the spring, interested citizens will be able to obtain a permit to convert a basement or second floor into a dwelling completely independent of the main residence.

They may also decide to build a small house on their land, which the City designates as accessory dwelling units or garden houses.

The Marchand administration refuses to talk about tiny homes. The advisor explains that the expression is associated with a construction model which does not always meet standards. We wanted to move away from this product. It will be important in the case of garden houses that they are homes that comply with the Building Code.

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The director of the territorial planning division in the planning and environment department at the City of Quebec, Mylène Gauthier, adds that this is a Security Question. We are talking about emergency exits, clearance of margins and pedestrian access.

You don't transform a garage by putting a door in and making a home inside. There are standards to respect.

A quote from Mylène Gauthier, director of the territorial planning division in the planning and environment department at the City of Quebec

The accessory dwelling project is also a response to the numerous constraints that were imposed on multi-generational homes, the number of which remains marginal in Quebec.

Previously, the additional accommodation had to be accessible from inside the main accommodation and the tenant had to be related to the owners. These two conditions will be removed. At a given moment, the family context evolves, says Councilor Coulombe-Leduc. The grandparents are moving or the children are leaving the family nest.

There will be a consultation session, early next month, to explain and hear the concerns of citizens. The Marchand administration believes the project should be well received.

Where the model was implemented, municipalities had to deal with several requests for information in the first year after its adoption. It starts slowly and then there is a wave of requests, confirms Mylène Gauthier.

The director reminds that owners whose residence is in one of the sectors subject to the town planning and conservation commission will retain the same obligations. Additional housing will have to go through the commission to ensure proper integration. They must also meet current regulations.

For the garden house, there is a maximum surface area, the equivalent of the size of #x27;a container, for example. There is also a maximum height which allows the development of a mezzanine. Projects can be built in the backyard or side yard, if space permits.

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In a presentation, the City of Quebec demonstrates several possibilities for adding housing, either above the garage, in the garage, upstairs, attached to the house or even in the basement.

It will be necessary to plan the installation of a hedge or a fence to maintain a degree of privacy out of respect for the neighborhood. The City will support citizens who would like to embark on this great project, assures the director.

The City does not intend to authorize the development of neighborhoods entirely dedicated to the creation of garden houses, such as in Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval. The new regulations target land where there are only single-family residences, regardless of where in the territory of Quebec City. This excludes land where there are semi-detached or row houses.

This is not going to solve the housing crisis, recalls the Councilor Coulombe-Leduc. There are several measures that will make this possible.

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