Cranbrook has took the first step towards rolling out a secondary suite program with the first reading of an updated bylaw on Monday night during a city council meeting.
The updated bylaw has been in the works since late last year and aligns with recent changes made to the BC Building Code.
“The alignment of the building code gives us a non-biased, consistent process, which I think is going to be very seamless out there,” said Coun. Wayne Price.
Currently, secondary suites are only legally permitted in a few zones such as River’s Crossing, Wildstone, and RDEK zoned lands in the Single Family Residential Secondary Suite zone.
However, the new bylaw changes the definition of secondary suites based on the new language from the updated BC Building Code and adds secondary suites to a number of residential zoning designations. If adopted, secondary suites will be legal in single family dwellings, side-by-side duplexes and townhouses.
Addressing and managing ‘illegal’ suites emerged as a significant issue, according to a staff report.
“Since most existing suites were likely created without permits and inspection there is no way of knowing the standards to which they are built nor does the City have any sort of detailed inventory of the suites,” reads the report.
The bylaw also noted concerns about enforcement of illegal suites, which has been complaint-based in the past. While enforcement will continue, the focus will be working with clients to ensure suite compliance for tenants and homeowners.
Should the secondary suites bylaw be adopted, existing ‘illegal’ secondary suites will require a building permit, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The secondary suites bylaw will come back for a second reading on Oct. 5, where a public hearing will be scheduled for additional feedback.
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