What's on this page

↓ Community engagement
↓ What are additional residential units (ARUs)?
↓ ARUs policies and regulations update
Additional residential units – survey results
↓ Project next steps

In an effort to increase housing options and supply throughout the province, the provincial government has recently made some changes to the Planning Act, permitting two additional residential units (ARUs) on an urban residential lot containing a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse. This would allow up to three residential units in total on a residential lot with municipal water and sewage services.

The Town is in the process of reviewing and updating its policies and regulations regarding additional residential units to align with the updated Planning Act. To get involved and share your feedback to shape and inform the updates to the Official Plan policies and zoning by-law regulations, please participate in our surveys and provide feedback on Let’s Talk Milton.

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Community engagement

A statutory public meeting regarding the urban area polices and regulations was held on Monday, April 15, 2024. The recording of the public meeting can be watched through the Webstream link on the Council Calendar. Public information sessions were also held on April 8 and April 11. A copy of the presentation can be reviewed through the link below.

Residents can provide written comments until April 25, 2024 by emailing the Planning Division

The Town of Milton recently hosted an online and in-person public information session to help residents learn about the proposed ARU policies for the urban areas of Milton.

Review the Presentation

What are additional residential units (ARUs)?

ARUs, as defined by the Planning Act, refer to a second and a third residential unit in addition to a primary residential unit, for a total of three units, on a residential lot containing a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse. 

ARUs require a set of self-contained rooms containing kitchen, sleeping and bathroom facilities intended for the exclusive use of the unit. ARUs must adhere to Ontario Building Code and Fire Code requirements. 

ARUs are also referred to as second units, secondary suites, accessory dwelling units, basement apartments, coach houses, laneway houses, garden suites, tiny homes, granny flats, in-law apartments or nanny suites.

ARUs policies and regulations update

The Town is currently reviewing its Official Plan policies and zoning by-law regulations as it relates to ARUs.  Please see more details below regarding urban and rural areas.

Urban areas

The Town of Milton’s existing zoning by-law regulations in the urban area only permitted one additional residential unit (termed “accessory dwelling unit” in the by-law) within a detached house or a semi-link house.

In accordance with the requirements of the Planning Act, on residential lots that have municipal water and sewage servicing, Milton’s Zoning By-law 016-2014 for the urban area will be updated to:

  • Permit three units on each lot, including the primary residential unit and two additional residential units, where:
    • All three units may be located within a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse, OR
    • Two units may be located within a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse and one unit may be located within an accessory building or structure on the lot; and
    • Require not more than one off-street parking space for each additional residential unit. (Updated: the Province of Ontario’s Bill 97 clarifies that the primary residential unit can be required to have more than one parking space.)

The zoning by-law for the urban area will also be reviewed and updated in consideration of municipal concerns such as health and safety, stormwater management, neighbourhood character and impacts on adjacent properties.

The Town’s Official Plan will be reviewed and may be updated to provide high-level policies regarding additional residential units.

Rural areas

The provincial as-of-right permissions for additional residential units do not apply in Milton’s rural areas. Significant portions of Milton’s rural areas are within the Greenbelt and the Niagara Escarpment, which include provincially protected environmental and agricultural lands.

In consultation with the Province, staff will undertake a review to examine if the Town’s policies and regulations may be updated to better address the needs of the rural community for additional residential units.

Additional residential units – survey results

The following key findings are summarized from an online survey that was conducted through Let’s Talk Milton to better understand residents’ views, opinions and concerns regarding ARUs within their communities.

ARU urban survey

Between March 28 and Oct. 31, 2023, the ARU urban survey received 375 responses. 86 per cent of respondents are homeowners and 7 per cent are renters of an urban property in Milton.

A little over half (53 per cent) of survey respondents believe there are significant benefits and opportunities that arise from the permission of ARUs in urban communities:

  • Respondents emphasize that ARUs provide multi-generational living options and allow for seniors to downsize and age in place.
  • The ability for homeowners to generate income to offset cost of living is one of the top reasons in support of ARUs.
  • Respondents also believe that ARUs can improve housing affordability in Milton and increase the Town’s rental housing stock.

Of the respondents interested in constructing an ARU(s) on their urban property:  

  • The top reasons are for earning income by renting out to long-term tenants and providing housing for children, parents or in-laws.
  • 51 per cent would like to create one unit in the basement, 31 per cent might want to add two units and 25 per cent might want to build a unit in a detached accessory building.

On the other hand, 45 per cent of respondents have concerns with the potential impact of ARUs in urban communities which include:

  • Parking and fire safety being the top two concerns;
  • Impact of increased density within existing neighbourhoods;
  • Increase of traffic on roads and strain on community services and facilities (i.e. schools, parks, etc.);
  • Concerns relating to building design including height and scale relative to existing buildings; and
  • ARUs being utilized for short-term rentals.

ARU rural survey

Between March 28 and Oct. 31, 2023, the ARU rural survey received 269 responses. 52 per cent of respondents own and live on a property within a hamlet, 30 per cent own and live on a rural residential property not located within a hamlet and 5 per cent own and live on a commercial farm in Milton.

A significant percentage of respondents (67 per cent) would like to add additional units on their rural property. Of the respondents interested in constructing an ARU(s):

  • The top reasons are for providing housing for children, parents or in-laws, and allowing seniors to downsize and age in place.
  • The majority are interested in constructing one unit within a detached accessory building.

A smaller percentage (23 per cent) of respondents have concerns regarding the potential impacts of permitting ARUs within the rural area.

Survey results show:

  • The greatest concern is with height and scale of ARUs, while separation from adjacent properties and impact on the character of the rural area are of lesser concern.
  • Water and sewage servicing capacity and impact on environmental lands/features are somewhat of a concern.
  • The majority of respondents are not very concerned about potential impact on farmland and agricultural operations.

The majority of respondents would not want ARUs being utilized for short-term rentals.

Project next steps

A recommendation report will be presented to Council for adoption of the urban area Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments on June 3, 2024. The staff report and proposed by-law amendments (Report: DS-047-24) will be posted in the afternoon on May 27, 2024. 

This meeting is open to the public; however, it is not a statutory public meeting. If you would like to speak about a report at this meeting, you are required to register as a delegate with the Town Clerk in writing by noon, two days before the meeting. Additional information regarding appearing as a delegate is available online or you can contact us by phone at 905-878-7252 ext. 0.

If you have questions or would like to speak with staff before Council’s consideration of the application, please contact Wendy Chen, Senior Planner, Policy and Urban Planning via email.

A public meeting and public information sessions regarding rural area policies and regulations will be held in fall 2024.