At the back of the house at 513 George Street (on the corner with Princess Street) is a garage that has been damaged by fire and now the owners are planning to rebuild it but with the addition of a small apartment on top. Nancy Lashley and Lawrence Foster have asked for a zoning variance to allow them to add this – it’s called a “Coach House”. Note that because it’s so small it would have to be an affordable rental apartment. Also, it was only in January 2017 that the Zoning By-law was amended to permit coach house dwellings (Bylaw number 013-2017 – see links below to download from Town web site). At the Council meeting on September 10, Council approved the variance. No public meeting was required – just notification of nearby property owners.
You can be excused if you had not heard of a coach house – it’s a relatively new idea. Coach Houses can be used to house a family member or they can be rented out. Services come from the main house – so presumably there are no separate water or hydro meters. The existing main house must be a single detached, semi-detached or townhouse dwelling – duplexes etc. are not eligible. The idea fits with Provincial directives related to providing affordable housing by increasing intensification. It also fits with the Official Plan but not with the fine details of the Zoning bylaw.
Below are two photos – one shows a Google street view from Princess Street and the other the proposed floor plan.
Click photos to enlarge or close
There are three reasons for the variance:
- The minimum required lot frontage for a coach house dwelling is 60 ft but the house is on a 50 ft lot facing George Street on the corner of Princess.
- The minimum distance of the coach house dwelling from side and rear lots lines must be 1.2m but only 0.6m is proposed
- A new Coach house should have one additional non-tandem parking space but none is proposed.
Since these are considered to be minor issues, the planning department recommended that a variance be issued and so the Committee of Adjustment and now Council have approved them. One by one, people are finding ways to meet the demand for low cost Rental housing. Maybe the slightly lower taxes are an incentive (see Link below)
- Bylaw number 013-2017 re Accessory Dwelling Units, second units – Download here
- Rental Apartments in Cobourg – 26 December 2017
- Six more rental units in Cobourg – 3 October 2017
- County reduces tax on Apartments – 22 February 2018
- More seniors’ residence units in Cobourg – 6 January 2018
Clarification – Sept 16
Note: In these cases, approval is actually given by the Committee of Adjustment. Council did not approve the variance but instead endorsed the comments by the Planning Department. There was in fact a “public meeting” – it was the Committee of Adjustment meeting which was held the next day (Sept 11) and they did approve the variance with conditions (More at Town Portal here).
Addendum – September 11
There’s more happening in affordable Housing in Cobourg. This announcement was released today.
Community Agencies work alongside local tenants to secure affordable rental housing
Led by The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, local community organizations have come together to work alongside a local couple to help secure affordable rental housing at a time when housing is becoming more and more unaffordable in Northumberland County. The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Northumberland County and Habitat for Humanity Northumberland have come together to renovate an apartment unit owned by St. Peter’s Anglican Church. After a month of renovations and hard work, the two new tenants, who helped to fix up the unit, proudly moved into their new space in Cobourg over the Labour Day long weekend.
Photo at right: Representatives and volunteers from The Salvation Army Community and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity Northumberland, Northumberland County, and St. Peter’s Anglican Church join one of the new tenants, Gerry, outside 264 College St.