Mayor says “tiny homes” are the answer

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Working from home makes it a lot easier to live far away from the office. The length of one’s commute ceases to be a concern when it can be measured in steps between the bed and the computer desk, rather than in kilometres on the road. It is probably true that major cities exist – and are quite popular – because of their densely packed amenities, and ample employment opportunities. Small communities suddenly have many, many more employment opportunities when working from home is an option.

Many North Grenville residents enjoy the “country life” while the City of Ottawa is still accessible nearby. There are undoubtedly countless North Grenville residents who work in Ottawa. When the pandemic hit, however, North Grenville became a popular spot for those who would prefer country living, but refuse to have a long commute. Since housing is a “supply and demand” equation, the increased demand likely drove North Grenville real estate prices up, and general local housing availability down.

Now, Mayor Nancy Peckford is asking North Grenville property owners to consider adding “additional residential units” (ARUs) to their property. These can include basement apartments, renovated sheds, or so-called “tiny homes”.

Mayor Peckford and Director of Planning and Development, Amy Martin spoke with the CBC about the Municipality’s push toward ARUs. “We’ve seen a trend towards smaller dwelling units, both as a principal dwelling and as a secondary dwelling unit on a property. So … smaller spaces with less maintenance,” Director Martin told the CBC.

The Municipality allows up to two ARUs on each property. They must be fully livable spaces, with kitchen and bathroom areas, but they are significantly smaller than “regular” homes. Homeowners can be eligible for up to $25,000 in funding through the Housing Accelerator Fund to add an ARU to their property, while landlords can get up to $50,000.

“The reality is, 10,000 of our residents live in more rural settings, so they can comfortably accommodate an accessory dwelling,” the Mayor said to the CBC. “Whereas in town, maybe you’re looking at … more like a granny suite in your basement.”

For more information on adding an ARU to your property, contact the Municipality of North Grenville Planning Department.

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