The ‘third rail’ of politics — building more housing in single-family neighbourhoods?

By Jennifer Pagliaro | Star Reporter | July 13, 2020 |

Council is about to wade into one of the most contentious planning debates that has been percolating during an ongoing housing crisis — whether to allow more density in stable, low-rise neighbourhoods.

City planning staff are recommending a work plan spanning 18 months or more, exploring options to expand housing in areas long zoned as residential “neighbourhoods” — what’s called the “yellowbelt” because of the colour assigned those areas on the city’s zoning maps — predominantly low-rise, single-family home communities where building additional units or apartments has traditionally been met with planning hurdles and local resistance.

“This is truly the third rail of municipal politics that this report is touching,” said the Urban Land Institute’s Richard Joy, who along with other organizations like Ryerson University’s City Building Institute and housing advocates have been pushing a conversation about building what’s called “missing middle” housing.

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