Where are below-grade garages prohibited?
Below-grade garages are prohibited in North York and parts of Toronto-East York. City Council has also requested that the proposed Harmonized Zoning bylaw prohibit the construction of them across the entire City.
Why are they being prohibited?
Below-grade garages can contribute to basement flooding as they are often constructed with a driveway sloping toward the home. Installing a storm pipe or pump can intercept the water, however, if the drain becomes clogged, the sewer becomes overloaded, or the pump fails, the water will flood the home.
The City recommends not installing a below-grade garage. We recommend you find a parking solution that reduces the risk of basement flooding to your home and:
- allows stormwater to flow away from the house; and
- ensures the ground around the perimeter of the house is properly graded away from the foundation walls.
If you still want to pursue the construction of a below-grade garage, you must apply for a minor variance application to the Committee of Adjustment or apply for a Re-zoning for a below-grade garage. Approval, if granted, will be subject to the review and approval of the design by Toronto Water.
To obtain approval from Toronto Water, you will need to comply with the Reverse Slope Driveway Guidelines. The Guidelines can be found in Appendix F of the Design Criteria for Sewers and Watermains at: www.toronto.ca/water/publications/sewer_watermain_design.htm
Things to note
- In order to review your application a fee of $1,500 must be paid up front to the City of Toronto.
- You must hire a Professional Engineer to prepare a stormwater report and a grading plan
- The Engineer may require additional field work such as:
- surveys to confirm ground elevations and street grades; and
- hydrology survey to determine ground water levels and infiltration capability
- You may be required to enter into and register on title an agreement with the City that ensures you and future owners:
- will build and maintain the approved drainage arrangements and site grading; and
- indemnify the City from all claims arising out of the permission to build the reverse slope driveway
- If your engineer submits a complete application package, it will take a minimum of 6 – 8 weeks for review by the City. If information is missing, it will take longer.
- If the property is at or near a low point on a street that is subject to flooding during extreme storms, and your engineer's report cannot prove to our satisfaction that the driveway will not be overtopped and flooded during such a storm, Toronto Water may refuse to approve the application, notwithstanding any other OMB or Committee of Adjustment or building permit approvals.
Help stop basement flooding. Design your building so water naturally drains away from all exterior walls and entrances to the home.