Mayor Iain Lovatt

4 Units as of Right Motion Passes




This is an excerpt from my speaking notes on the topic of 4 units as of right which was passed in our last council meeting.

FOR: Lovatt, Bartley, Sherban, Smith

AGAINST: Acton, Upton, Kroon


Launched in March 2023, the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a $4 billion initiative from the Government of Canada. The Housing Accelerator Fund is part of Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS), an $82+ billion plan to give more Canadians a place to call home. Town staff, under councils unanimous direction applied for approx. $15M in HAF funding in Aug 2023.

Over the late summer, early fall, some mayors started noticing Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser began sending letters to larger municipalities across the province making recommendations as to how to “beef up” their HAF applications.

One such letter to Mayor Josh Morgan of London stated.

“However, before taking a decision on London’s application, I respectfully urge you to ensure that the City is offering to do all that is within its power to address the housing crisis. Specifically, I have three central requests that will improve London’s application and better reflect my ambition for the Housing Accelerator Fund:

The main one is that you revisit the decision on the number of units which can be built as-of-right, and that you modify this number to be even more ambitious, by increasing it from 3 to 4.

We can leave no stone unturned when it comes to tackling the housing crisis in your city.

I am eager to be able to approve London’s application, but I cannot, in good conscience, do so if I know opportunities to create more homes are left on the table.”.

This letter was dated Aug 18 2023.

Sadly, Stouffville received no such letter from the minister and our application was rejected in March 2024. But when the federal government recently announced an additional $400M top-up to the HAF program, I spoke with each member of council except Councillor Sherban who was away dealing with family matters if you would support these 2 resolutions in principal to help support our HAF resubmission for this much needed funding which at the time I understood there was agreement. So here we are today.

To remind council and the public, our resubmission, under the federal top-up is requesting $11.5M to support housing enabling infrastructure. That $11.5M is greatly needed in our town and I would argue more needed in Stouffville than Markham, RH and Vaughan who received over $135M from HAF.

We are all very aware that the town is not flush with capital reserves. So much so that we have charged an additional 3% tax levy for the past 4 budgets to try and build up these reserves to support projects that are not growth related and are fully funded by the taxpayer. This multi-million dollar opportunity for the town to potentially receive funding from the federal government goes specifically towards housing supported infrastructure. This represents the water pipes, sewers and stormwater that we are required to replace when we reconstruct Main Street. Receiving these funds can also free up designated capital that we can direct to the needed redevelopments of North St, South St Boyer Ave, Rose ave. and Elm Rd and Loretta Cres. to name a few.

I contend we are not in any financial position to walk away from potential funding like this and to outright turn down this opportunity, I think it is absolutely the wrong decision and sends a message to our residents that we are happy to saddle the entire burden in them. I have been very vocal about my displeasure of how the HAF program was rolled out. How Stouffville and the other N6 municipalities in York Region were all shut out of funding so much so that I had a recent motion at regional council that was unanimously supported asking Min Fraser to reassess our applications immediately.

I have heard from the minister’s office that my motion has caught their attention and we are currently working on setting up a meeting with housing staff in Ottawa to reaffirm our commitment to doing our part to solve the housing crisis should this motion pass. In a quick review of our downtown area, I was able to determine we have a number of multi units homes already in residential areas. Main just east of 9th 2- 6 plexes, corner of Main & 10th, one on Pine St, Church St north has 2 multi unit dwellings across from each other. They already exist appropriately in our town.

The resolution before you today is clear.

Be it RESOLVED THAT Council approve in principle the permission for 4 residential dwelling units…

THAT staff be directed to initiate a review of the appropriate areas within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville where 4 residential dwellings units would be appropriate; and

THAT staff be directed to bring forward the necessary OPA and ZBA where appropriate.

And members of council, I am happy to make an amendment to the motion that states:

Now Therefore it be Resolved that Council approve in principle the permission for four (4) residential dwelling units to be permitted on fully serviced residential lots; and,

Be it Further Resolved that staff be directed to initiate a review of the appropriate areas within the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville where four (4) residential dwellings units would be appropriate; and,

Be it Further Resolved that staff be directed to include four (4) residential dwelling units in the ARU Public Planning Meeting May 1 for public input and consideration.

Be it Further Resolved that staff be directed to bring forward a report with the necessary Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment recommendations to enact permissions for four (4) residential dwelling units of fully serviced residential lots, where appropriate for council consideration

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