Residents oppose fourplex policy in Mississauga
Published November 30, 2023 at 3:53 pm
A policy to allow four-unit homes in many areas in Mississauga met with opposition from a handful of residents and councillors.
The idea to allow property owners to convert their detached homes or rebuild to create four-unit homes was brought forward as a way to tackle the housing crisis. The issue came to the Planning and Development Committee meeting last night (Nov. 29).
Councillors raised concerns about losing the character of some neighbourhoods. In particular, Coun. Matt Mahoney suggested the heritage and character of Mississauga Road should be preserved. A Mississauga scenic route policy was approved to protect the area.
Staff indicated the character of the homes and the setbacks would remain intact while the house is retrofitted into a fourplex.
Coun. Brad Butt raised concerns about fire safety, parking, and added strain on municipal services such as water and sewage capacity. But staff said the homes will still need to meet Ontario building code regulations. Staff also said the people per home has declined in many areas so adding extra units wouldn’t be a burden.
The Orchard Height Homeowners Association expressed concerns about changes to their community.
“We care about the kind of lifestyle we enjoy here and the character of this community, it’s why people choose to live here,” said Tonya Elmazi, president of the association.
Zoning to allow multiple-unit buildings would change the “chosen lifestyle for thousands of residents,” Elmazi said.
The quiet, suburban communities are highly valued, she said.
The change is “significant and profound” and there was minimal public consultation, she added.
She said allowing fourplexes and more density would lead to more traffic, crime and infrastructure strain.
Mary Furlin, Mineola resident and president Credit Reserve Association, argued the costs to build fourplexes wouldn’t be profitable in many neighbourhoods.
Furlin said builders may go into the luxury market, draining resources. She feared people would just build luxury fourplexes or build mega-mansions. There needs to be control, she said.
“This measure could end up damaging affordable housing in the city,” Furlin said.
She suggested adding “affordable fourplexes” to the zoning changes.
But staff said the policy is for rental units not large luxury homes.
There were also residents who felt fourplexes could work in the community as long as they aren’t too big and the units are affordable.
Mary Simpson of the Town of Port Hope Association didn’t think allowing fourplexes would put a dent in the housing crisis but she felt they are needed.
Simpson said residents will worry about loss of privacy and shadow on their homes.
She was happy to see there are height and depth restrictions in the zoning, and hoped the city would stick to those restrictions and not allow builders leeway.
“It can be done well, it just has to be done thoughtfully,” she said.
The fourplex zoning and official plan changes still need to go to council for approval.
To hear the full discussion, see the meeting online here.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising