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Posted: November 27, 2020

Secondary suites now allowed in residential zones

City of Cranbrook council Nov. 23 gave third reading and adoption to Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 4002, 2020 which allows for secondary suites in residential zones in the city.

The proposed zoning amendment was given first reading in September.

In October 2019 council provided direction to city staff to proceed with preparation of amendments and policies to permit secondary suites in single family residential zones in the city and in December 2019 council provided further direction to prepare the necessary amendments for secondary suite regulations to be consistent with new B.C. Building Code regulations which took effect in December 2019.

The new changes to the B.C. Building Code with respect to suites include:

  • a new definition;
  • eliminating the prescribed floor space and percentages size restrictions; and
  • allowing secondary suites in a building that may contain more than one dwelling unit or occupancy.

This essentially allows secondary suites in single family dwellings, side-by-side duplexes, and side-by-side (row house) townhouse style buildings where a vertical fire separation separates the dwelling unit and suite from the remainder of the building;

The city’s Advisory Planning Committee (APC) considered the amendment and recommended council approve the zoning amendment bylaw. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has indicated approval of the proposed zoning amendment.

The enforcement of illegal suites has been on a complaint basis; in some cases resulting in the closure of the unit. The enforcement of complaints will continue on a complaint basis but not be actively pursued. City staff will work with clients to try and get compliance for the suite to ensure the health and safety of tenants and owners, noted a report to council from Rob Price of Engineering and Development Services.

Moving ahead building permit applications for existing suites (without permits) will be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis, with occupant/tenant safety being a key consideration. Unless city staff are otherwise directed by council, permit applications for new and existing secondary suites will be dealt with on a case by case basis as they come forward.

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