City of Regina is ahead of the curve with tiny homes

A little ahead of the curve, Regina already regulates and allows above-garage apartments and backyard suites. Regarding primary structures, Regina has a minimum sqft, but they plan on removing it as it didn’t serve a purpose.

Ben Mario is the City’s Planning Branch Manager. He said the City currently has an 800-square-foot minimum but is planning on removing that minimum in the next round of building bylaw amendments. The City has already made changes to allow garden suites to occupy rear yards and apartments on top of garages. Approvals don’t go to the Council and can be approved by the administration.

He understands that other communities may have different concepts of acceptable character to their community, but it doesn’t make sense for the City of Regina. “When it was looked at there was no real understanding of why that regulation should exist, it didn’t prevent a nuisance and it was probably just a barrier for somebody who wanted to build a small home and that really shouldn’t be a concern of the city’s to regulate.”

Mario said another potential is that there could be a cottage community where multiple small homes are on a larger lot. “Maybe that might make sense one day to someone that wants to do something different. It could potentially open that door.” He said that decisions for that type of approval would be one of Council as a discretionary use.

“The City does not get into regulating architecture. We only regulate where on a lot you can build, it can’t be too close to the street, has to be so far from your property line, the height. The City only in rare circumstances gets into architectural detail. In new subidivisions it is kind of regulated by the area developer and they have deals with the lot purchaser to make sure that what they are building is within their own guidelines but that’s beyond the City’s control.”

Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times