Ottawa seeking input on regulations surrounding “coach houses”

(Press release from the City of Ottawa.)

Residents are invited to review a City of Ottawa discussion paper on secondary dwelling units and to offer comments on proposed changes to the Zoning By-law.

Secondary dwelling units are self-contained living units either attached to or on the same grounds as a detached or semi-detached home, duplex building or townhouse. While the Province of Ontario requires municipalities to allow all such secondary dwelling units, the City of Ottawa currently only permits those within primary residential buildings, and not those in detached structures built on the same grounds. The City of Ottawa needs to change its regulations in order to align with Provincial requirements.

Coach houses

Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to read the discussion paper at to learn more about the considerations that will define these units, such as property setbacks, minimum lot size, maximum building height, design and landscaping.

In the City of Ottawa, secondary dwelling units not located within the primary residence – a small apartment in a backyard of a home or above a detached garage, for example – will be termed coach houses. Ottawa is one of the first municipalities in Ontario to tackle this issue and may be the first Ontario city to permit coach houses.

Like other secondary units, coach houses would provide discreet opportunities to introduce more dwellings in established neighbourhoods while maintaining the character of those neighbourhoods. They would offer more housing options and support the City’s goals, set out in the Official Plan and the Older Adult Plan, of providing a diverse supply of housing.

Residents can submit comments from Tuesday, September 15 to Wednesday, October 14 through the online questionnaire available at Final recommendations will be presented at a public information session in 2016.


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