Regional Councillor Joe DiPaola is bringing forth a motion at the February 11th York Regional Committee of the Whole meeting seeking Council's acknowledgment that a "Housing Affordability Crisis" exists in the Region.
What will declaring a Housing Affordability Crisis at this time accomplish?
We can all agree that housing in York Region has not been affordable for many years but random motions like this will not resolve or help the housing challenges that the region faces.
On January 14th York Region staff presented a Regional Official Plan Update - Housing Challenges and Opportunities.
This report had innovative approaches to increase housing options and as the Official Plan evolves will identify a cohesive way forward to address housing affordability in York Region.
What is the point of declaring a Housing Affordability Crisis now?
Here is why it could be advantageous to declare a
"Housing Affordability Crisis" now
If this motion passes it would likely "fast track" every single development proposal currently pending in Richmond Hill particularly along the Yonge Street corridor but also all of the regional corridors including Major Mackenzie, Bayview, Leslie, King and Bloomington.
Many of development applications that are pending in Richmond Hill would not be considered a full mix and range of housing options, including affordable options. Rather it will be 53+ high-rise buildings ranging in height from 8 to 54 storeys with the majority being condominium units.
Declaring a "Housing Affordability Crisis" now could only hasten the approvals to build these 53+ towers along Yonge Street and once built would eliminate any opportunity to build complete communities providing different housing options where people of all ages, stages and incomes can live, work and play. It will not resolve the Housing Affordability Crisis. Responsible planning included in the Official Plans will resolve the housing crisis.
If this motion passes it could eliminate the “minimum automobile parking rates” adjacent to higher order transit - and within the Region’s MTSA’s. Reducing the number of parking spots at new high-rise developments has been a contentious issue especially with the many towers proposed for Yonge Street.
If this motion passes it will signal that the Region supports and endorses the proposed application to build the 38 and a 43 storey towers with 962 purpose built rental units at 9251 Yonge Street in principle (including the transit supportive parking rates and provision of community housing units with Housing York Inc.) Note only 12 of the 962 units will be for Housing York Inc. the rest are market rent.
It seems out of place that only this proposed purpose built rental development at 9251 Yonge was lumped in with this motion especially since Chair Emmerson indicated that this is a local issue not a regional issue.