Coming soon to a backyard near you?

Have you heard that the City of Ottawa is conducting a study about backyard “coach houses”? (Also known as “secondary dwelling units”.)

Apparently, not too many people noticed, as only 436 residents responded to the survey conducted in the fall. The survey results are now in, and most of those who replied seem to be strongly in favour of allowing substantial dwelling units to be constructed in back and side yards throughout Ottawa.

The Alta Vista Community Association’s Planning and Development Committee will be following this issue closely over the next few months. We encourage all Alta Vista homeowners to review the discussion paper and survey results on the City of Ottawa’s website: (or just go to and search for “coach house”)

This is the City’s plan going forward:

  • January: Propose performance standard options to allow Coach Houses
  • March: Open house and information session on selected draft options
  • April: Release of final draft study recommendations
  • May: Staff report to Committee and Council

What do you think?

Because the planners are already in the process of developing options, it is important that they hear from concerned residents now. Don’t wait for the open house—it can be more difficult to influence the process after the options are presented.

The Planning and Growth Management Department is looking for input on questions such as:

  • Do you have concerns about coach houses being built in your neighbourhood?
  • Where should they be allowed to be placed on a lot? (backyard, adjacent to the main house, side yard of a corner lot)
  • What should the size limit be? (greater or less than 55 square metres / 600 square feet and/or a percentage of yard size)
  • What should the height limit be? (1, 1.5 or 2 stories)
  • What is an appropriate distance from the residential property line? (greater or less than 1.2 metres / 4 feet)
  • Should the rules vary depending on lot size or location? (corner lots, large rural properties)

If you have opinions to share with the planners, questions about the study, or want to be added to the project e-mail list, you should contact:

Emily Davies, Planner
City of Ottawa
Planning and Growth Management Department 

613-580-2424, ext. 23463

If e-mailing, please cc (contact address for the AVCA Planning and Development Committee).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s