Sarnia council thinking “small” when it comes to housing

© Can Stock Photo / ckellyphoto

The idea of tiny homes is being discussed in Sarnia again Monday.

City council directed staff back in February to investigate the concept and report back on what bylaw changes would be required to allow them.

As it stands, tiny homes would be treated as a single detached dwelling.

They would need their own lot, building permit, storm, water and sewer system connections and be required to pay the set development charge.

Mayor Mike Bradley said there’s merit in smaller homes if done properly.

“That ‘one size fits all’ for housing, simply doesn’t work, and so it needs new, innovative, thinking, and I think there are a number of places in this community where it may make sense,” said Bradley. “Either individual homes or a small village of homes for people who don’t need all the other things that come with the larger homes.”

Bradley also understands the appeal for tiny homes with affordability becoming an issue across the country.

“One of the most basic human needs is housing, and yet, in this country we can’t provide it to all that need it. It’s an issue that’s directly related to the homeless, and to the opioid crisis, and all of the other issues that are social across this country, including here. So, anything we can do to provide housing that is truly affordable and can bring people the opportunity to have their own independence is a step forward.”

It’s recommended council direct staff to review a framework to accommodate laneway housing and report back in the first quarter of 2021.

A laneway house is a form of detached secondary suite that is typically built into pre-existing lots, usually in a backyard or opening onto the back lot.