Secondary Suites: Finding a Sustainable Solution

Ward 12 already has the highest number of approved secondary suite zones amongst the Wards as of September 2014:

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City wide we have over 100,000 secondary suite zones.  While I do not support a blanket re-zoning across the city, I believe that legal secondary suites with provisions can help provide more affordable housing for Calgarians.

I have supported the vast majority of secondary suites.  My support has been dependent on access to a back lane, ample street parking and appropriate consultation with neighbors.  I have not been in support of suites in areas that do not offer ample parking (tight cul-de-sacs, no access to a back lane) and have displayed minimal consultation with surrounding neighbors.

The current model for approving secondary suites is not efficient or sustainable.  We need to find a better alternative that provides affordable housing opportunities for Calgarians while protecting the interests of R1 homeowners and residents.  I will continue to support secondary suites as long as these provisions are considered:

–   Property owners that are looking for approval for a secondary suite should have to canvass their immediate neighbors.  Immediate neighbors could include 5 neighbors on either side of the property and the immediate 10 neighbors on the opposite side of the street.  This criteria would need to be modified slightly for suites in cul-de-sacs or corner lots.  A significant percentage of neighbors canvassed would need to be in support of the proposed secondary suite.

–  Property owners should have to apply for a specific licence for their secondary suite.  This licence would have a set of provisions that the owner would have to abide by, otherwise they would risk losing their licence.  These provisions would ensure that secondary suite tenants abide by an appropriate code of conduct and that general maintenance and aesthetic upkeep of the property are prioritized.

I am hopeful that Council discussions next week will be the first step to a better alternative.