The R4 Zoning Review began in January 2016 in response to the continued development of buildings in the inner urban area containing unreasonably large dwelling units that operated as unlicensed rooming houses, commonly known as bunkhouses.
The project is proceeding in two phases. R4 Phase 1 concluded in June 2018 with a zoning amendment that closed zoning loopholes, clarified definitions. As a result of these zoning changes, further bunkhouse development is now illegal city-wide.
R4 Phase 2 will address the broader housing pressures affecting the inner urban area, of which bunkhouses were merely a symptom. For almost a decade now, Ottawa's inner-urban neighbourhoods have faced persistent low rental vacancy rates. Census data suggest that rents on newly vacant units are rising by 12%-17% per year.
To help improve housing affordability, the R4 Zoning Review will explore zoning changes to make it enable a wider range of low-rise, multi-unit infill housing in R4-zoned neighbourhoods, while respecting compatibility and context sensitive design. In doing so, it will seek to fill a "missing middle" range of affordable mid-density infill housing suitable to a wide range of household types, incomes and tenures, as directed by the Official Plan.
- The City will develop and model draft changes to the R4 zoning standards in the spring and summer of 2019.
- Public consultation on the proposed changes will take place in the fall of 2019.
- Final zoning proposals will be produced and circulated in early 2020, and an amendment brought to Planning Committee in the spring of 2020.
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