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Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Toronto’s planning and housing committee voted last week to advance the new Inclusionary Zoning policy to get more affordable housing built.
The committee, including Mayor John Tory, approved a staff report proposing an inclusionary zoning official plan amendment, zoning bylaw amendment and draft implementation guidelines.
Proponents including Mayor John Tory, say the changes will help create affordable rental and ownership housing.
“This will get more affordable housing built in our city and the one-year review of the policy the committee supported today will ensure we strike the right balance,” Tory said in a statement.
“Moving ahead with comprehensive, equitable policies such as the proposed Inclusionary Zoning is the right move forward to ensure that our city supports its residents, builds inclusive communities and remains vibrant and strong. I’m pleased to see Toronto leading this shift in development in Ontario to ensure that affordable housing is consistently available and that affordability is protected for the future.”
If adopted by council, Toronto will be the first city in Ontario to implement the tool which will make it mandatory for certain developments to include affordable housing. Beginning in 2022, inclusionary zoning could secure five to 10 per cent of condominium developments as affordable housing, increasing to eight per cent to 22 per cent by 2030. The amount of affordable housing required would vary depending on the area of the city, with the highest requirements downtown.
“Implementing the Inclusionary Zoning policy in Toronto will keep us on the road to our goal of creating 40,000 affordable homes by 2030. Having a consistent approach to affordable housing development will ensure that building inclusive, balanced communities that support our residents are top of mind in all new development plans,” said Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão.
Toronto’s framework proposes foundational requirements for affordable housing in new development that will ensure affordability is maintained for 99 years. In the City’s policy, rents and ownership prices would be based on proposed new income-based definitions of affordable housing, targeting households with an annual income of between $32,486 and $91,611.
Inclusionary zoning is used in more than 800 jurisdictions in the U.S., Australia and Canada with policies tailored to each municipality’s local housing market and needs. Toronto’s proposed policy was developed based on detailed financial impact analysis, including a peer review, and input received through extensive consultation.
Toronto’s policy will be closely monitored and reviewed after one year to allow for adjustments based on evolving market conditions and opportunities to expand its implementation to broader areas of the city.
It represents a shift in how the city treats new developments. It will ensure affordable housing is incorporated in new developments on a consistent basis rather than being negotiated on a site-by-site basis, providing clarity for all parties from the very beginning.