Secondary Suites in Richmond Hill Adoption of Amendment 23 to the Richmond Hill Official Plan

Additional residential units (ARUs) are now permitted in the City of Richmond Hill, subject to zoning requirements and restrictions, including a building permit.
Visit the city’s website for more information. Below is an official announcement with more detail about this change.
The Council of The Corporation of the City of Richmond Hill adopted Amendment No. 23 to the Richmond Hill Official Plan on the 23rd day of March, 2021 through the enactment of By-law 25-21 and in accordance with Section 17 of the Planning Act (the Act), as amended.
An explanation of the purpose and effect of the Amendment describing the lands to which the Amendment to the Richmond Hill Official Plan applies is set out below. A complete copy of Amendment No. 23 to the Richmond Hill Official Plan, including all background materials, is available by contacting Chun Chu, Senior Planner, phone number 905-771-5493 or by e-mail at
Dated this 1st day of April, 2021
Stephen M.A. Huycke, City Clerk
The Corporation of the City of Richmond Hill
225 East Beaver Creek Road, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P4
Phone 905-771-8800
Fax: 905-771-2502
Amendment No. 23 to the Richmond Hill Official Plan
1.1 Purpose
The purpose of this Amendment to the Richmond Hill Official Plan is to permit an additional residential unit within a ground-related dwelling and in a structure ancillary to the ground-related dwelling on the same lot. The amendment would effectively allow up to a maximum of three dwelling units on a ground-related residential property. The intent of this amendment is to conform with Provincially legislated requirements and to facilitate housing diversity. The amendment will also help to increase the supply of affordable housing to meet the needs of Richmond Hill residents.
1.2 Location
The Amendment applies City-wide to all lands where ground-related dwellings are permitted. The permission would not apply to existing ground-related dwellings located in: hazard lands and hazardous sites, lands within the Greenbelt Plan Natural Heritage System, and lands within the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan’s Natural Core and Natural Linkage areas.
1.3 Basis
This amendment updates the Richmond Hill Official Plan 2010 policies that permit secondary suites in single detached, semi-detached, and townhouse developments. Since the time of adoption of the Official Plan, several changes to the Planning Act, the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020, and several other provincial plans have come into effect which require local official plans to permit additional residential units (secondary suites) within both a ground-related dwelling as well as a structure ancillary to it. This would in effect allow up to a total of three units on a lot.
The proposed amendment is considered by Council to be appropriate for the following reasons:
·        the amendment implements the direction in the Planning Act, which requires Official Plans to contain policies that authorize the use of two residential units in a detached house, semi-detached house, or row-house (townhouse), and within a building or structure ancillary to a detached house, semi-detached house, or row-house (townhouse);
·        the amendment implements the Ontario Regulation 299/19 Additional Residential Units, which prescribes requirements and standards in order to reduce barriers for the approval and construction of additional residential units;
·        the amendment is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (PPS), which directs municipalities to accommodate appropriate affordable and market-based range and mix of housing types, including “additional residential units” and to facilitate all types of residential intensification. Further, the amendment aligns with the PPS by directing developments away from areas of natural hazards;
·        the amendment conforms to A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2020), which requires municipalities to meet minimum intensification targets and to create a range and mix of housing options and densities, including the provision of additional residential units;
·        the amendment conforms with the Greenbelt Plan, 2017, which permits a second dwelling unit in single dwellings or within existing accessory structures on the same lot, where the lot is located outside of the Natural Heritage System;
·        the amendment conforms with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, 2017, which permits a secondary dwelling unit in single dwellings located outside of a Natural Core Area or Natural Linkage Area; and
·        the amendment conforms to the York Region Official Plan (2010), which directs municipalities to provide a minimum of 25 per cent of all new housing units to be affordable and identifies the provision of secondary suites as a means to achieve this target, and as such, requires local municipalities to adopt official plan policies and zoning by-law provisions to authorize secondary suites.