In December 2014, Council directed Planning, Development and Assessment to prepare Land Use Bylaw amendments allowing Secondary Suites in all residential land use districts in Ward 7, 8, 9 and 11. Secondary suites include those within a house, such as a basement suite, as well as those separate from a house, such as an above-garage suite or a garden suite.
On the afternoon and evening of May 12, 2015 City of Calgary held Public Hearing in regards to proposed Bylaw amendments for Wards 7,8,9 and 11, many people spoke in support and opposition of the proposed amendments, and the public hearing went until 9:30pm. Following the public hearing, Council debated the proposal and suggested a change. They gave the amendments first reading, and scheduled it to return on June 29, 2015 to Council for further discussion, and decision. A bylaw must receive three readings from Council in order to be approved.
The proposed change is to make both Secondary Suites (suites within a main house) discretionary uses instead of permitted uses, as was originally proposed. This change impacts the process that an application would go through as Administration processes it, and allows for a greater degree of public input on planning merits of the application. It also allows Administration to place conditions of approval on the application and provides more negotiating room on the details of the development. In addition, the application can be appealed to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, based on planning merits.
On June 10, the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development (SPC on PUD) will hear a new report that addresses the procedures and implications of conducting a plebiscite, a licensing system, and suites in proximity to rapid transit stations. This report was requested by Council in December 2014. This report will also come to Council on June 29, allowing for a more comprehensive conversation. As the public hearing for the 4-ward amendments is now closed, there will not likely be another opportunity for public to address Council on this topic specifically. You can attend the SPC on PUD and the Council meetings in person, in Council Chambers in the Municipal Building at 800 Macleod Trail SE, or watch the broadcast online at Calgary.ca as well as on Channel 89 for Shaw Digital TV customers.
Secondary suites in Haysboro.
Haysboro is a prime location for secondary suites, since we are made up of 70% bungalow style homes which are easily converted to basement suites. However, at the same time most lots do not have double car garages, nor have the backyard size that leads itself to adding a large garage. We do realize that Haysboro Community currently have a sizeable amount of existing illegal suites. Some of these illegal suites have created a negative stigma against legalizing secondary suites, due to parking issues and un-kept houses both interior and exterior.
Over the past 5 years of secondary suites discussion within Calgary and city council, HCA have done extensive amount of research, 2 email surveys, and many discussions at our board and member meetings. This is all in addition to the many City of Calgary forums and information session held. HCA has done more than the average community association to engage our members and encourage education on the topic and understanding of the impact that it will have to our community.
In December 2014, HCA did an email survey to all our current and past members with emails permissions to 765 Haysboro residents asking if they support or do not support the zoning change to legalize secondary suites. We received 235 responds with results of 59% YES and 41% NO. The major stipulation that we will be looking for or all legalized secondary suites to get the HCA approval is to have adequate off street parking available to tenants.
Proposed amendment was discussed on community association meeting and was supported by majority of the Community Association Board members. The HCA board voted in our November 2014 meeting to blanket approve all secondary suites that meet or exceed City of Calgary building regulations and codes.
Board acknowledge strong neighbors disagreement with similar changes proposed for properties in the neighborhood. Concerns of the community are related to:
Community Association encourages secondary suite applicants to communicate with neighbors and get their approval or address their concerns and mitigate possible concerns.
HCA supports the legalization of secondary suites, but only if the City makes this zoning change for all proposed communities and adds parking stipulations on all secondary suites. We strongly believe the only way we can truly have a meaningful impact on affordable living in Calgary is to make this change a blanket change for all communities, regardless of community stature and style of homes. As a community association, we are looking forward to the improve safety for the state of the existing illegal suites and future legalized suites. Alone with increase in potential property values with a more affordable standard of living for all Calgarians.