Viewing Single Entry

Committee of Adjustments documentation

May 7th, 2007

As I think I have previously mentioned, we’ll be applying for a few ‘minor variances’ to Toronto’s building by-laws. These are:

  1. A by-law requiring new construction to provide a parking space “behind the front wall of the house.” Because we’re building a very high-efficiency, clean/green house, we’d rather not have a garage inside the structure. Our plan is to just continue using the current driveway area in front of the house as we do now, but a variance is still required if we do not want to add a garage, side-carport, etc.
  2. City by-laws suggest that the “gross floor area” of the floors of a new home be no more than 60% of the lot size but allow for ‘minor variances’ up to 100% of the lot. Our house will be 27.2 sq.m (293 sq.ft) over the 60% limit. 204 sq. ft. of this is caused by a 1-storey extension we wanted to add to the back of the house at the last minute (a kind of indoor / outdoor room that is insulated but not heated).
  3. City by-laws suggest a house should extend no more than 17m (56′) behind “the average of the fronts of the two neighbouring properties.” Because of the 1-storey indoor-outdoor room (which is 3.7m deep), our new house would wind up being too deep by 1.93m (a little over 6′). Of these 6 feet, 4 feet are the result of not starting the house as far forward as the city would like. The house will only be 58′ long, but it starts 4′ behind “the average of the fronts of the two neighbouring properties” (in line with the house to the south of us). This helps us receive more passive-solar heating from the sun in the back portion of the house. We’re still not sure if this addition will be built at this time, but it seems worthwhile to get the variance for it now.

Last week I submitted some additional documentation for our file at the Committee of Adjustments. This included:

  • survey of the land, including trees
  • photos of the neighbourhood showing our house in relation to its neighbours, up, down and across the street.
  • letters of support from our neighbours next door, across the street and behind us. (Actually the letter from our backyard-neighbours just arrived yesterday so I’ll be dropping that off today.)

So we now have ‘letters of support‘ (pdf) from our neighbours on all four sides of our property, which is great! They have all, thus far, been really helpful and enthusiastic about our plans to build. (Hopefully that enthusiasm holds through a few months of hammering. )

Posted by Colin