Secondary suites trial period urged

A two-year trial period has been recommended to Red Deer city council for allowing up to 20 per cent of detached dwellings in the city to contain secondary suites.

A two-year trial period has been recommended to Red Deer city council for allowing up to 20 per cent of detached dwellings in the city to contain secondary suites.

Council will be asked to give first reading to a land-use bylaw amendment on Monday at its regular meeting.

The amendment already has the support of the Municipal Planning Commission.

Currently, secondary suites are only allowed in specified areas, including designated sites in newer neighbourhoods. With the proposed changes, they would become a permitted use in many areas and a discretionary use in others.

If council gives first reading, a public hearing will be held on Dec. 14 to consider second and third readings.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling and city manager Craig Curtis both support the recommendation.

“We feel the draft as presented meets the needs of the community at this time,” Flewwelling and Curtis say in a report to council.

In the case of existing secondary suites that have not been approved, the property owners would have until Jan. 1, 2012, to apply for a development permit.

The initiative flowed from the city’s affordable housing strategy, which included public consultation and discussion.

Parking was also identified as a possible issue.

At the end of the trial period, it’s recommended that as many as 14 factors be reviewed, including the number of suites, adequacy of staff to handle applications and permit issues.

Assistant city planning manager Tony Lindhout, who is a member of the Red Deer’s secondary suites steering committee, said earlier that properties with secondary suites would be allowed a total of five garbage bags per week, the same as homes without suites.

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