Think­ing about a coach house?

Jacques Robert

Ottawa Sun - New Homes - - HOMES -

con­verted in part or in whole to a coach house, sub­ject to cer­tain re­quire­ments.

For an ex­ist­ing home owner, hav­ing a coach house built on their prop­erty could al­low for sup­ple­men­tal in­come through the rental of the coach house, or a coach house could be used to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for a rel­a­tive who would be bet­ter off not liv­ing on their own, but still wants to main­tain a de­gree of in­de­pen­dence.

What re­quire­ments need to be met?

Not all lots will be suit­able for the ad­di­tion of a coach home.

Ac­cord­ing to City of Ot­tawa re­quire­ments, a lot may be el­i­gi­ble for a coach home if it is ser­viced by mu­nic­i­pal sewer and wa­ter (or larger than 0.8 hectares if ser­viced by pri­vate well and sep­tic). Only one coach house is al­lowed per prin­ci­pal res­i­dence on the prop­erty. Fur­ther Sec­tion 3.1 of the Of­fi­cial Plan for the City of Ot­tawa states that coach houses “are only per­mit­ted on lots with a de­tached, semide­tached, du­plex or town­house dwelling and where the pri­mary dwelling does not con­tain a gar­den suite, room­ing units or a sec­ondary dwelling unit.” The coach house must have di­rect pedes­trian ac­cess to a pub­lic road by a path­way that is at a min­i­mum 1.2 me­tres wide. Park­ing for a coach house is not re­quired.

Coach houses must meet cer­tain size re­quire­ments: a coach house must be smaller than the prin­ci­pal res­i­dence on the lot and yard space must re­main for both of the houses. The spe­cific de­tails of the al­low­able size will vary de­pend­ing on where the lot is lo­cated. The max­i­mum foot­print (the area of the ground floor of a build­ing, mea­sured from the ex­te­rior of the out­er­most walls) of a coach home can be no greater than 40% of the size of the main house, and the coach house can not cover more than 40% of the yard. Ad­di­tion­ally, the max­i­mum foot­print for a coach house in ur­ban ar­eas is cur­rently 80 square me­tres and 95 square me­tres in ru­ral ar­eas.

There are also height re­stric­tions for coach houses. In ur­ban ar­eas, the max­i­mum per­mit­ted height for a coach house is 3.6 me­tres, how­ever a two storey coach house may be per­mit­ted in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. In ru­ral ar­eas, the max­i­mum per­mit­ted for a coach house is 4.5 me­tres, or 6.1 me­tres if a coach house con­tains a garage with the liv­ing space above it.

This is not an ex­haus­tive list of the re­quire­ments, and sev­eral City pro­cesses must be com­pleted be­fore start­ing the construction of a coach house. In all cases, a build­ing per­mit is re­quired to be ob­tained.

What are some other fac­tors to be aware of?

Coach houses must be de­signed and lo­cated in such a way as to pre­serve ma­ture trees on the lot and to min­i­mize im­pact on neigh­bor­ing prop­er­ties. There­fore there are max­i­mum and min­i­mum set­backs from the prop­erty line that will ap­ply and there may po­ten­tially be lim­i­ta­tions on the place­ment of win­dows in the coach house.

Coach houses can­not be sold sep­a­rately and the lot may not be sev­ered to pro­duce two sep­a­rate res­i­den­tial lots with houses on them. A coach house must re­main part of the prop­erty on which the main house is lo­cated.

Elec­tri­cal con­nec­tions are re­quired to be pro­vided from the prin­ci­pal dwelling to the coach house. This may re­quire elec­tri­cal up­grades in the prin­ci­pal house in or­der to ser­vice the coach house. Also it is im­por­tant to remember that the ad­di­tion of a coach house to a lot may re­sult in an in­crease in prop­erty taxes.

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