Q.1 Why are these studies being undertaken?
A.1 These Guidelines are being developed to meet the objectives of Design Regina: The Official Community Plan (OCP), as well as the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, to:
- Direct future higher density intensification in the City Centre (OCP, Section C, Goal 3, 2.7)
- Require intensification in built or approved neighbourhoods to be compatible with the existing built form and servicing capacity (OCP, Section C, Goal 3, 2.8)
- Prepare guidelines for determining compatible urban design, appropriate built forms, densities and design controls (OCP, Section C, Goal 3, 2.10.6)
- Increase the supply of rental and affordable housing (CHS, Goal 1)
- Retain and regenerate the existing housing stock (CHS, Goal 2)
- Increase the diversity of housing options (CHS, Goal 3)
- Address housing needs while creating complete and sustainable communities (CHS, Goal 4)
The objective of the Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines Pilot Project is to allow for Laneway and Garden Suites that respects the character of Regina’s established neighbourhoods. This will be achieved through a comprehensive public and stakeholder engagement strategy, the establishment of clear and concise urban design recommendations, the subsequent testing of such recommendations through a Laneway and Garden Suites Pilot Project, and the creation of new Zoning regulations and other implementation tools to reflect study recommendations and permit Laneway and Garden Suites.
The objective of the Infill Housing Guidelines is to ensure that future infill development respects the character of Regina’s established neighbourhoods. This will be achieved through a comprehensive public and stakeholder engagement strategy, establishment of clear and concise urban design recommendations, and the subsequent revision of existing Zoning regulations and other implementation tools to reflect study recommendations and allow for Context-Sensitive Infill Development on either a permitted and discretionary basis, depending on the context.
Q.2 Who is undertaking these studies?
A.2 Both studies are being undertaken by the City of Regina, in coordination with a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by Brook McIlroy Inc. (Toronto), in association with KGS Group (Regina). The consultant team includes highly skilled Urban Designers, Planners, Architects, Landscape Architects, and Environmental Engineers with an in-depth understanding of Infill Development, Laneway and Garden Suites and the local context in Regina.
The preparation of these guidelines was carried out with assistance from the Encouraging Community Housing Options Program, funded by the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
Q.3 Where will Infill Development and Laneway and Garden Suites occur?
A.3 The recommendations of both studies are intended to apply to all residential zones within established neighbourhoods in the City of Regina.
Q.4 What is Residential Intensification?
A.4 Residential intensification refers to the introduction of additional residential units beyond that which currently exist on a given property. Residential Intensification may occur either through 1) development of a previously vacant lot, 2) internal retrofits and renovations to existing dwellings to accommodate secondary suites, 3) integral or separate / detached additions to existing dwellings to accommodate secondary suites, or 4) redevelopment of an existing single family dwelling to accommodate multiple units, either through the combination of primary and secondary suites on a single lot or multiple suites on smaller sub-divided lots.
Q.5 What is Infill Development, and why is it important?
A.5 Infill Development refers to the addition of new residential dwellings in existing established neighbourhoods. Infill Development can include 1) development of a new residential dwelling on vacant land, 2) additions and structural alterations to existing dwellings, or 3) the redevelopment of existing dwellings. Infill Development does not necessarily result in Intensification. Intensification through Infill Development only occurs when such development results in the introduction of additional residential units.
Infill Development is important because it allows property owners to renew and revitalize the housing stock and redevelop on their properties, while also providing benefits for the wider community. It promotes compact and complete communities and utilizes existing transportation and servicing infrastructure because new homes will be built within existing neighbourhoods rather than at the edge of the City. When residential intensification occurs as part of infill development, more households will live in existing neighbourhoods and support local businesses and amenities and diversity and affordability of housing options will increase.
Q.6 What is meant by Context-Sensitive or Compatible Development?
A.6 For the purpose of these studies, the terms “Context-Sensitive” and “Compatible Development” refer to development which considers the character and design of other buildings on the street or in the neighbourhood. Within the context of these studies, these terms refer to building forms that are mutually tolerant and can exist together without negatively impacting each other. It does not necessarily mean that new buildings must be ‘the same as’ existing buildings, but that they should share some key characteristics. Such characteristics may include, but are not limited to, building height, ground floor height, massing, depth, proportions, setbacks, etc.
Q.7 How and when will Infill Development occur?
A.7 Infill Development is already occurring throughout the City of Regina’s established neighbourhoods. Through the Infill Housing Guidelines, the City of Regina’s Zoning Bylaw will be amended with new Zoning regulations. At such time, new Infill Development applications will be required to conform to these new regulations and construction will occur incrementally as demand warrants.
Q.8 What are Laneway and Garden Suites, and why are they important?
A.8 Laneway and Garden Suites refers to a Secondary Suite which is separated/detached from the Primary Dwelling. It can be above or beside a garage or self-contained in the rear of the lot. Laneway housing is accessed from a rear laneway, while a garden suites are accessed from the front street via a sidewalk or driveway. Other names for this type of housing include granny flats, garage suites, carriage or coach houses.
Laneway and garden housing is important because it provides an option for intensification and housing choice in existing neighbourhoods that fits with the existing form and scale of buildings, as well as the neighbourhood fabric. Laneways are found in many neighbourhoods in Regina, and are often lined with garages or other accessory buildings. This provides a key opportunity to turn these accessory buildings into livable spaces without changing the character of the neighbourhood. Where no laneway exists, there may still be an opportunity to establish a garden suite without impacting neighbourhood character.
Benefits include: an alternative to secondary suites inside the Primary Dwelling; options for rental and more affordable housing in existing neighbourhoods; more compact and complete communities; additional residents in the neighbourhood to support local businesses and amenities; efficient use of existing services and infrastructure; opportunities for supplementary income for the property owner; increased safety and beautification of residential laneways; and the ongoing renewal and revitalization of established neighbourhoods.
Q.9 What is the Laneway and Garden Suites Pilot Project, and when will it begin?
A.9 Following the approval of the Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines by City Council in January 2015, the Laneway and Garden Suites Pilot Project has been initiated to as a method of testing the Guidelines on residential lots within established neighbourhoods throughout the City of Regina. It will complement an existing Laneway Housing Pilot Project, which is currently being implemented on two greenfield development sites.
In February 2016, the City invited residents interested in developing laneway or garden suites to participate in the Pilot Project by submitting their proposals. To be considered a complete proposal, the City required that each proposal include, among other things, a site plan, landscape plan, building elevations and an engineer’s servicing plan.
Q.10 How and when will Laneway and Garden Suites occur?
A.10 Separated/detached Secondary Suites, including Laneway and Garden Suites, are not permitted within the City of Regina’s existing Zoning regulations. However, through the completion of the Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines, and subsequent testing of the recommendations through the Pilot Project, new Zoning regulations and other implementation tools will be developed to permit Laneway and Garden Suites. At such time, new Laneway and Garden Suites applications will be required to conform to these new regulations, and construction will occur incrementally as demand warrants.
Q.11 How and when can I get involved?
A.11 Your input and feedback will be central to the development of the Infill Housing Guidelines and Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines/Pilot Project, and will help shape the future of the City of Regina. Throughout both study processes, you will have a number of opportunities to provide input through a series of public open houses, workshops, and online surveys. Please check the Design Regina website, under “Current Projects”, regularly for up-to-date information.
Q.12 What are the study timelines?
A.12 The Laneway and Garden Suites Guidelines/Pilot Project will commence in June, 2015 and are slated for completion in November, 2015. The Infill Housing Guidelines will commence in September, 2015 and are slated for completion in February, 2016.
Q.13 Why is zoning required?
A.13 With the exception of the two greenfield laneway and garden suite pilot projects in Habour Landing and the Greens on Gardiner, laneway and garden suites are not a permitted use within the City of Regina. Therefore, in order to enable the owner of each pilot project site to obtain a Building Permit to begin construction, each property must first be rezoned to allow the use.
Q.14 How can the Public provide comments on the Laneway Suites?
A.14 Any member of the public interested in any of the pilot project sites will be able to provide feedback by:
- Submitting written comments to the Planning Department
- Attending and providing comments at the Open House
- Attending the Regina Planning Commission meeting and forming a delegation
- Attending the City Council meeting and forming a delegation