In a decision aimed at tackling a piece of the housing crisis, yesterday, Mississauga City Council approved a motion allowing the construction of four residential units, or fourplexes, on low-rise residential lots. The motion, moved by Mayor Bonnie Crombie, is a significant step in that City’s efforts to increase housing availability and affordability, and it mirrors a move made earlier this year in Toronto to similarly open its neighbourhoods, previously only zoned for single family homes, to what have been described as gentle density increases.

Mayor Crombie, recently elected as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, emphasized the urgency of the housing situation, highlighting the introduction of fourplexes in Mississauga's neighbourhoods as a way for neighbourhoods to cater to a more diverse demographic, including multigenerational families, and people of all ages generally.

Single-family homes close to higher-density development in Mississauga City Centre, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor khaldoon

Under the new regulations, fourplexes will be permitted “as of right,” meaning landowners can obtain a permit to increase housing on a property without needing additional zoning permissions, provided they comply with other by-law regulations. The City is allowing both the construction of new fourplexes and the conversion of existing properties to accommodate four units, while also permitting a variety of configurations up to three storeys high, including basement units that are partially above-grade. Furthermore, the new regulations also support creating new rental units in neighbourhoods that have traditionally seen ownership of properties.

This policy aligns with Mississauga’s broader housing strategy (Growing Mississauga: An Action Plan for New Housing) which outlines ambitious goals to streamline building approvals and enhance affordability. The plan, detailed on the City’s website, includes five goals and 23 actions to be implemented over the next four years.

In line with the Province’s target of 120,000 new units over 10 years in Mississauga, the City is set to embrace a variety of housing types, such as semi-detached homes, triplexes, fourplexes, and garden suites, without special zoning permissions. The plan also aims to encourage transit-friendly development and the creation of new residential spaces in employment areas.

The goals of the Growing Mississauga Action Plan, image from City of Mississauga

Improving affordability remains a key focus. Mississauga plans to implement new policies to bring affordable housing units to major transit station areas, and work with the Province to protect and expand rental housing. To streamline approvals, the plan includes launching a permit approval team, and piloting new processes to meet the timelines of Bill 109 (the More Homes for Everyone Act).

The successful implementation of this housing plan depends on significant investments in infrastructure and collaboration with various stakeholders. The City’s decision on fourplexes keeps it eligible for up to $120 million in Federal funding. Mississauga has also expressed commitment to maintaining active engagement with the community and ensuring transparent reporting through by establishing a housing panel.

Mississauga’s proactive approach in increasing the variety and number of homes in existing neighbourhoods marks a notable step in addressing the housing needs of its growing population. The approval of fourplexes is at once a response to the immediate housing crisis and a strategic move towards sustainable urban development.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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