What would be the perfect lot to build your home or cottage on? Would it have a ton of mature trees, and maybe even a ravine? Would the lot slope away from the street, creating a great opportunity for a walk-out basement? Are you able to envision your pool with a backdrop of a dense forest, creating both privacy and a beautiful vista? Chances are, you’ll need to know what steps to take when building a home on a TRCA regulated area. Let’s dive into what this means.
If you’re searching for a property like this in Toronto or the GTA, there’s a strong likelihood that you’re going to become familiar with environmental regulating bodies such as the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) or the Lake Region Simcoe Conservation Authority (LSRCA). When embarking upon a new project, we always start with an online search or a call to the regulating body (TRCA, LSRCA, etc.) to determine if the property is within their regulated area, or if they have any interest in the property. This is especially useful if the client is evaluating the purchase of the property. If the property is regulated by the authority, the required approvals can add months to the design and permitting process and can limit the buildability of the lot. Here’s what steps you can take when building a home on a TRCA regulated area.
Step One: Consult Early On
When dealing with the TRCA or LSRCA, we consult with them early on in the process to streamline the design process. By meeting on-site and understanding the limitations, opportunities, and requirements, we reduce the time wasted in design revisions.
Step Two: Do Your Research
Do your research and become familiar with the property and the surrounding environment. This will allow you to assess the project viability, and whether you’re able to accommodate the requirements. Be prepared to hire consultants such as a surveyor, geotechnical engineer and arborist so that you’re equipped with all the information you need to best understand the lot.
Step Three: Listen and Understand
It’s important to understand the mandate of the regulating body. Their regulations are rooted in a goal to protect natural environments (valleys, streams, wetlands, etc.) In our past experiences, we have been able to work closely with them to satisfy their requirements without compromising the project goals. If the regulations limit the ability to build on the lot, they have been accommodating and supportive in providing us with justifiable reasons for asking for relief from by-laws at the Committee of Adjustment.
Step Four: Put Forward Your Ask
Discuss openly what you want to do, where you want to build, and what precautionary steps that should be taken. Understand clearly what you need to do for them to support your development or design.
The process can vary with each jurisdiction, but ultimately working closely together from the start is necessary for a successful project. Building on a property with interesting natural features, such as woodlots, ravines, and watercourses, can be challenging. In the end, however, the reward presents itself in the form of a truly unique and environmentally sensitive building.
To see another one of our projects built on regulated land, click here.
If you are considering building a home on a unique lot, please contact us to discuss further.