What is "Missing Middle" Housing and why is it Important?

The term “missing middle” refers to housing defined as low rise residential building types, including single- and multi-unit housing types such as semi-detached houses, duplexes, fourplexes, stacked townhouses, accessory dwelling units (such as laneway suites and garden suites), and low-rise apartments. Many of these building types are typically not much bigger than a large detached house.

As Richmond Hill continues to grow the City should explore ways of providing more affordable"missing middle" housing options in established neighbourhoods. Doing so could help the City plan for balanced and complete communities that meet people's needs for daily living at all stages of life.

The City needs to acknowledge the full spectrum of housing challenges faced by residents and adjust the City's growth strategy to accommodate more housing options in neighbourhoods and maintain the overall character and scale of these places – and in doing so, improve equity, affordability, the environment and local quality of life.

The Richmond Hill 2010 Official Plan (page 4-32) has the appropriate policy in place to allow "missing middle" housing however much of the new infill housing in established neighbourhoods or new developments is unaffordable for many households and is not meeting the needs of the community.

An excerpt from the Land Use policy states:

1. The predominant use of land within the Neighbourhood designation

shown on Schedule A2 (Land Use) shall be for low-rise residential uses. (shown in yellow on map, page 257 of the Official Plan)

2. The following uses shall be permitted in the Neighbourhood designation:

a. Low-density residential uses such as low-rise single detached, semi-detached and duplex dwellings;

b. Medium-density residential uses such as low rise townhouses and walkup apartments

In July 2020 the Toronto City Council was presented a staff report titled "Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods". The report discusses the need for rezoning older residential areas in order to build "missing middle" housing in these neighbourhoods. Figure 1 shows the housing options that would be considered "missing middle" housing.

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