Mar 26

Ever Wonder Why Affordable Housing is an Oxymoron?

Ever wonder why the term “affordable housing” is an oxymoron in Ontario?

I visited a client in a small township south of Ottawa yesterday. She lives on a rural property in the home shown above.

She wanted to add a tiny coach house to her property for her adult daughter to live in so she built one; it has a common wall with a storage shed. It is also shown above.

The storage shed is the basis for a successful home-based business they run–they sell recycled, pre-owned windows and doors.

The problem with  their coach house? They have to renew its occupancy permit every three years–it’s only a temporary use, which can be revoked at any three year interval at the pleasure of their local council.

This makes no sense. 

They’ve protested so vehemently that: a) local council refuses to speak with them or allow any of their staff to speak with them–they’re only allowed to communicate with the township’s solicitor (for which he bills them his time, talk about double dipping and conflict of interest) and b) council gave them an exemption that allows them to keep their coach house as long as ownership of the property doesn’t change hands, which, of course, depresses, the value of their property. 

I mean if one day you bought the place and the business, you’d have to bear the cost of tearing it down and the loss of its rental income.

This is why people like James Howard Kunstler (author of Home from Nowhere, 1998) and others have pretty much given up–the only advice they can give folks is: “Burn all your zoning codes.”

It also explains why I have the utmost respect for building, health, fire and safety codes, but almost none for most zoning rules and regulations. 

@ quantum_entity

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.