Tiny homes versus large scale development

Tiny Homes
Photo credit: Brian Turner.
Posted on: September 20, 2018

Brian Turner

At a regular session of Carleton Place council’s planning and protection committee meeting held on Sept 18th, residential housing proposals from both ends of the size spectrum received a lot of attention and prompted a great deal of discussion.

Tiny homes hit council’s attention in June of this year when Terrilee Kelford of Cornerstone Landing made a presentation on youth homelessness in Lanark County and how smaller structures could play a part in a solution. At that meeting council directed town staff to explore how they might be incorporated into current development and building practices and regulations.  Kelford was present at the Sept 18 meeting and rose to report that county planning officials among other authorities were examining tiny homes as well.  She noted that not only could they be an “affordable housing option” but could also serve as “secondary residential suites” on lots with existing homes.  She remarked that this initiative needs “creative planning moving forward.”

Town development services manager Joanna Bowes told council she had recently visited and toured a tiny homes manufacturing facility and that her department has already received an inquiry from a local property owner interested in constructing this type of building.  In the end council directed staff to work with other municipal planners and building officials to discover how tiny homes through a planning policy while adhering to Ontario Building Codes.  Staff also agreed to accept applications on a site specific basis in the mean time.

On the other end of the residential scale, council was presented with details of a change in ownership of one of Carleton Place’s largest development projects as Nuglobe Development has sold their property at the southwest corner of Coleman and McNeely to Cavanaugh Construction.  Town staff Bowes reported that Cavanaugh is seeking some changes to the Nuglobe subdivision application that was approved back in 2013.  Cavanaugh’s plans would see the original number of single family homes reduced and replaced with semidetached and street townhome residences.  The total number of units would increase from 185 to 211, They were also seeking approval to increase the number of parking spots from the town’s required 2 places per unit to 3.6 spots by creating room for 2 vehicles to park in tandem in front of attached single vehicle garages as well as using 67 on-street spaces.

Councilor Doug Black raised his concerns with parking indicating that “we’ve had serious issues with parking in subdivisions in the past and it directly affects the quality of life for residents”.  Resident Mark Smith, who registered to speak on this application, asked how the new application (which will go to county for review) meets Ontario’s new policy on storm-water management.  These changes came out in 2015 after the original Nuglobe application was approved.  He also remarked that tree conservation as required in town planning regulations was effectively off the table for discussion as clear-cutting has already occurred.  Staff remarked that the application would be back for review at future meetings.