Cities like Toronto are becoming increasingly overcrowded, and increasingly expensive to live in. Creative and thoughtful initiatives are coming into play, including laneway suites, a project put forward by Evergreen to increase housing supply in the GTA, support new forms of housing, and highlight sustainable construction and design.
These suites will create more affordable opportunities for people to live in the GTA, while providing another source of income for the primary household. Read on to check out the importance, benefits and concerns of laneway suites.
What Is A Laneway Suite?
Located at the rear of a residential lot and detached from the primary home, a laneway suite is a small home that can be used for family or as a rental. Its water, sewer, electricity, gas, garbage and mail come from the front street, but its laneway location allows for more privacy from the main house.
The Importance of Laneway Suites
Building laneway suites is important for numerous reasons. First of all, it creates equity by uncovering new housing opportunities for residents. Low-rise residential homes are becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find, and laneway suites could be just the change this city needs!
It also gives more use to laneways, which are typically underutilized. It creates more safe, accessible spaces for residents to take advantage of. Plus, more housing opportunities in liveable, walkable neighbourhoods will give more residents the option to live near their jobs, services and public transit.
3 Benefits of Laneway Suites
1. Doesn’t Compromise Character
Instead of knocking down gorgeous low-rise homes for high-rises, laneway suites allow neighbourhoods to keep their character. Laneway suites increase the number of homes in an area, but don’t compromise the look, feel and character of low-rise residential streets.
2. Increase Income for Homeowners
Homeowners, and especially first time homeowners, are always looking for extra income, especially with the rise of property prices. Secondary rental suites such as laneway suites help cover home costs, giving homeowners more security.
With more homes and people in laneway suites, it will improve the look and safety of a laneway, bringing increased lighting infrastructure and more eye balls to the area.
3 Laneway Suite Concerns
Privacy for neighbouring yards is always a concern. However, regulations can be put in place that limit windows with views of neighbouring backyards.
2. Waste and Emergency Collection
Many laneways are too narrow to allow waste and emergency vehicles in, but they require access routes. Access from the main street may be required if the laneway can’t accommodate these vehicles.
Whenever secondary suites are introduced into a community, parking (or lack thereof) becomes an issue. Evergreen suggests that parking supply and congestion issues can be eased by solutions such as promoting car sharing, managing the supply of Municipal Street parking permits and adjusting parking standards based on transit proximity.