As Toronto’s population continues to expand, new allowances pertaining to multiplexes have moved one step closer to fruition.

On Thursday, a proposed item -- the likes of which would allow for low-rise housing types of up to four units to be built in all neighbourhoods across the city -- went to Toronto's Planning and Housing Committee and was thereafter approved. The item still has to go through City Council.

READ: City Report Calls for Zoning Amendments to Allow 4-Unit Multiplexes in Every Neighbourhood

According to a City staff report dated April 13, Toronto is expected to attract 700,000 newcomers by 2051, and despite an uptick in the city’s mid- and high-rise housing development, the supply of low-rise housing, including multiplexes, has continually lagged behind actual demand.

Under the proposed legislation, multiplexes are expected to be exempt from FSI provisions, say city staff, which should help them to be feasibly built.

“Given that built form is regulated through numerous performance standards like setbacks, building length and depth, and landscaping, and that FSI only applies to a portion of this city, staff are of the opinion that eliminating FSI restrictions for multiplexes is appropriate and aligns with direction to move towards more form-based zoning for residential areas as outlined in the Housing Action Plan,” the city report explains.

The report also notes that, if legalized, multiplexes could help to accommodate and encourage aging in place while also helping to protect regional greenspace by better using urbanized land.

If the item is approved by City Council, the new zoning allowances will go beyond the Province’s More Homes Built Faster Act, overriding municipal zoning and allowing for up to three units on all residential properties. City Council is expected to consider the item in May.

With notes from Laura Hanrahan.

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