While, I don’t support a blanket re-zoning across the city, I do want to implement policies that make the process of building a secondary suite as simple and efficient as possible. We don’t need radical changes to zoning to do this. What we do need are bylaws and policies that ensure that a secondary suite is within a single detached dwelling, it has its own cooking, sleeping and bathing facilities, its own entrance, a least one off-street parking stall that is in addition to those required for the principal residence, and finally, for properties that are not zoned for secondary suites, before going ahead with your application, the homeowner must show that they discussed their application with their neighbors by getting them to sign a petition that shows a strong majority of residents (proximity to be determined, but only neighbors adjacent to your property) support the secondary suite. This will help reduce the risk of conflicts, and allow the homeowner to reduce the impact of the secondary suite on neighbors. Simply stating that you “should” talk with your neighbors isn’t enough.
I understand that affordable housing is central to all our lives. It creates stability for families and university students, and is key to attracting and retaining people in the work force. However, given the history and perception of secondary suite housing in Calgary, there continues to be debate in many communities about whether to legalize it. The following is a summary of the secondary suites survey results that I put on my website last Friday. There were a total of 123 responses from Ward 12 residents.
The primary objective of the survey was to understand residents’ views on secondary suites in both their neighbourhood and in their city. The citizens opposing legalizing secondary suites say they are concerned with traffic and insufficient parking, undesirable neighbourhood change, and illegal tentant behavior/enforcement. Those that were in favour wrote comments about improving availability and affordability of rental housing. This survey was not meant to be comprehensive, but an attempt to reach out to several residents in Ward 12 about this issue. I plan to leave the survey open to get more feedback. Thank you for your participation.