The residential fourth density (R4) zoning review started in January 2016. This project was created because of the continual construction of unreasonably large apartments that were operating as unlicensed rooming houses — also known as bunkhouses — in the inner urban area. The project proceeded in two phases.
This first phase was finished in June of 2018. There was a zoning amendment created that stopped the development of any further bunkhouses. The amendment made it illegal city-wide to develop bunkhouses.
The second phase is starting this year. This phase primarily focuses on housing pressures of the inner urban area. One of the aspects of this is to help improve housing affordability by looking at the zoning changes to allow more low-rise, multi-unit housing.
The next steps for the project are to be made within the next year — 1) this spring and summer, the City will develop changes to the R4 zoning standards; 2) this fall, the city will ask for the public’s feedback on the proposed changes; and 3) in the spring of 2020, the amendment will be brought to the Planning Committee. However, the final zoning proposal should be produced and shared early this year.
In Stittsville, there are 32 social and affordable housing units; however, the average is 229.4. This shows just how little Stittsville has affordable housing units, but this also includes houses which not many people with lower incomes can afford. According to the 2016 Canadian census, the average monthly cost for rented dwellings in Stittsville was $1,486 while the cost for owned dwellings was $1,668 (in Stittsville, 70 percent of homeowners still have a mortgage). Hopefully, this will change with the help of the R4 zoning review, and we can change the developments to help those that need lower-rental units.
Any proposed changes to the R4 zoning review should include City Planning Committee and Council enforcing developers to commit to affordable housing (not bunkhouses) in their plans. R4 zoning should embed affordable housing availability for communities where this is sorely lacking — like Stittsville.
If you’d like more information on or provide your comments to the R4 zoning review, visit their website here, and if you’d like to receive future updates on the matter email R4zoning@ottawa.ca or email@example.com.