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No Kitchen for You!

Belleville City Council recently passed Bylaw 2016-84.

This bylaw makes it illegal to have more than one kitchen in a single family home. There is some political history to this change. The way this bylaw was passed by council hints of blatant overstepping by city staff and lack of preparation and study by the mayor and councillors.

This potential abuse of process is a whole other discussion.

The question at this point is why is city staff so vehement about limiting kitchens?

My wife and I own a single family home which we rent out. When we bought the house there was a small bar in the basement with a small fridge and 24” stove. Certainly not a kitchen. The stove was actually disconnected. We rented the house to a couple and their adult daughter and her baby. They were sharing the house as a multi-generation home.

A neighbour complained to the City that we were operating an illegal rental. A City building inspector ordered us to remove the stove. We learned recently that there is no such Bylaw or rule on the books.

Bylaw 2016-84 adds the line “only one kitchen” to the definition and permitted uses for single family homes. This is direct violation of the “Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011”. is provincial legislation “requiring municipalities to establish official plan policies and zoning by-law provisions allowing second units in detached, semi–detached and row houses, as well as in ancillary structures”.

This Act actually “requires” municipalities to provide for this type of accommodation in its zoning bylaws rather than purposely restricting secondary units or “granny flats”.

The Act was created to facilitate multi-generational living in single family homes. Many people need to accommodate parents, children or other family members. The Act allows such families to provide some privacy, independence and dignity for all concerned.

Council passed this bylaw without fully appreciating the need for this type of housing in our community and across the province. In fact it is a reality in our society as a whole.