Zoning by-laws, InZone Project

The Town’s existing Zoning By-law is poorly drafted. No one disputes we are dealing with legislation that needs revising. The Town has embarked on a process to re-write the Zoning By-law. It is called the InZone project. Details can be found on the town's website. The draft residential zoning by-laws will be ready this December.

On June 19, 2012, the CMGRA made the following written submissions to Dana Anderson at the Town of Oakville. Although the Town acknowledged receipt of the e-mail, the CMGRA has not yet been invited to engage in further discussion with them.

1.      Front Yard Setbacks. We require that the paramountcy of averaging be returned to the calculation of front yard setbacks. By-law 2010-057 was passed just prior to the last Council meeting with absolutely no public input or discussion. It amended s.17 of the Residential Zoning By-law to grant paramountcy to the 9M and 7.5M numbers in the Tables for R02 and R03 respectively. Averages can now only be used to create a reduced streetscape – never one larger than the static number in the Table. The power of average setbacks to preserve and protect the wide streetscapes that are an essential feature of our neighborhoods – and the manner in which that power was removed – are significant issues to our Association.

2.      Massing The calculation of floor area/lot area ratio differs between the R01 and the R02/R03 zones. As discussed last week open spaces internal to the structure are “double counted” in the calculation of “Floor Area” in R01 but are “single counted” in the other zones. This discrepancy will need to be rectified as it is now open for developers to argue (as they did successfully before the OMB with respect to 1315 Ario Road that Council intended even more massing be permitted on the smaller lots in R02 and R03 than is contemplated by the sliding “GFA%” scale. If there are other ways to control massing in every zone we would like to discuss same given the issues associated with the floor area/lot area limit.

3.      Detached Front Yard Garages It took an OMB decision to rectify Staff and COA decisions that permitted a detached accessory building in the front yard of an R03 property in the JCRA’s jurisdiction. That Staff interpreted the by-law as permitting detached front yard garages in R02 and R03 was deeply disappointing. The new By-law will need to be more clear on detached Accessory Buildings.

4.      Height is not well regulated in any of the zones. There are references to height calculation and different roof styles in the by-law but they do not seem well understood. The rules are creating the presumably unintended consequence that virtually every new home has a mansard style roof line that a variance allows to exceed 9M by a metre or two. We need height regulation that encourages creativity and buffering not the monolithic brutalism our zoning regulations are fostering today.

Other than thanking us for our submission we have not heard back from the Town.