Addressing Housing Affordability with the City’s New Zoning Bylaw
The housing market is red hot in Kingston right now, and with such a strong demand for housing, it’s critical we build as much new housing as possible. Otherwise, house prices and rental rates will continue to rise quickly. The Mayor’s Task Force on Housing identified harmonizing the City’s zoning by-laws as the most important and highest priority task. In their current and outdated form, they waste staff time, delay the building of housing and increase costs. That’s why the City’s new zoning bylaw is so important. Before Council approves the new zoning bylaw early next year, City planning staff will be bringing forward several key ideas for public input that could be included in zoning to help shape future development in Kingston.
For example, our new zoning bylaw could allow for more tiny homes and additional residential units. We could allow the building of housing or other complementary uses on properties with places of worship to make better use of land within the City core. In order to lower construction costs for new apartment buildings, we could also reduce parking requirements as a way to limit costly parking garages and at the same time encourage more transit use and active transportation. While we focus on what can be built, we will also focus on where we shouldn’t build, to preserve urban green spaces and environmental protection. Each of these ideas will be explored in a series of special planning committee meetings in the next few months to ensure we provide lots of opportunities for the public to engage on such an important change for the City. You can also get more information on the City’s new zoning bylaw at: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/zoning-bylaw-update/about. My hope is that creative strategies like these will be important tools for us as we work to address housing affordability in Kingston.