From the Federation of Calgary Communities Website:
Important Information on the Proposed Changes to Secondary Suites
On February 12, 2018 by Ben Morin
Proposed Changes to Secondary Suite Applications
Several key changes are coming to the application and management of secondary suites in Calgary. We wanted to provide you with some information that would clarify the coming changes as well as what the changes will mean for community associations.
On March 12th, Council will be looking at three separate pieces of work about secondary suites. They are as follows:
• to allow secondary and backyard suites as a discretionary use in R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L districts;
• To develop a policy to guide discretion and relaxations on development permit files, and,
• To create a mandatory suite registry and fee schedule.
What is a Secondary Suite?
In the context of this project, a secondary suite can be either a basement suite or a laneway suite. A basement suite is a separate dwelling inside a single detached house with separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities. A laneway suite is a self-contained living space on the same property as a single-detached house, and is often accessed from the back alley or laneway.
What does this mean for communities?
In the past, secondary suite applicants applied for a land use amendment if their parcel was within one of the districts above. This was sent to council for public hearing, and there was an opportunity for the public to provide input. If council approved the land use amendment, a development permit was issued without opportunity for consultation.
With the proposed changes, applicants will apply for a discretionary development permit in R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L districts. As a result, community associations will be circulated the development permits and be able to provide comments. Development permits for a suite in these districts will also be notice posted. This means that a sign is placed on the property advising the neighbouring residents of the development permit application and how to make comments on the application. Decisions on development permit applications may be appealed.
The proposed changes would mean property owners would have the ability to develop a suite without City Council approval, but would still work with Planning and Development staff at the City of Calgary to obtain development and building permits.
Discretion and Relaxation Policy
Administration will also be working to develop a policy on how discretion will be applied on secondary suite applications, and will look at issues such as:
• Parking requirements
• Amenity space
• Access and privacy for backyard suites
Changes to the Suite Registry and Fee Schedule
Administration is proposing that suites that have obtained all of the required permits and passed inspection will be required to be placed on the Suite Registry. Advertising a suite for rent to the public that is not on the Registry will be illegal and subject to penalties.
Administration is recommending a one-time fee for joining the Registry.
Administration is also recommending a 2 year grace period where fees will not be charged for development permits or for the Registry (but they will still continue to be charged a fee for building permits). This is to encourage existing illegal suites to follow the rules.
Timeline and Next Steps
Council asked Administration to bring back these proposed changes to the March 12 Council meeting. Administration will present each of these recommendations separately and Council will decide if they want to implement these changes at the Public Hearing.
We have learned that there will not be any stakeholder consultation on the project, though we will continue to update you on administration’s progress.