Suite backlog?

A desire to see all of the city’s nonconforming secondary suites approved by July 1 is too much of a stretch, says a city official.

A desire to see all of the city’s nonconforming secondary suites approved by July 1 is too much of a stretch, says a city official.

Elaine Vincent, the manager of Legislative and Governance Services Department, said improvements to secondary suite rules under the land-use bylaw are being proposed, five months after council approved adding secondary suites into the bylaw.

One of the recommendations has to do with the July 1 deadline, the date in which owners of existing suites have to register them with the city. As long as a suite is registered, there will be no penalties.

“Is it really the intent of council to have all the applications in by July 1?” Vincent said.

“Right now, if we can only hear five a week (by the municipal planning commission), it will take us over a year to deal with the backlog of suites.”

A report done last July identified more than 850 suites within the city’s Tax and Assessment Department records. But there’s no record of these suites having been inspected and so they may not meet zoning or fire code rules.

The city is sifting through about 200 applications of existing suites. So far, 33 of these have been approved. They are self-contained and have cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities accessed through one entrance. They can be located on any floor of the house.

Another recommendation concerns notification of neighbours within a 100-metre radius of a secondary suite application.

“If we move to a different notification process on the website or in the newspaper and advertise it that way, that may prevent us from doing 100 mail-outs for every single application, which is time consuming,” Vincent said.

The recommendations will go to the municipal planning commission on Monday and then any recommendations will likely move to council on June 14.

The city also has a new ad hoc secondary suites committee, which will meet for the first time on Tuesday. It’s objective is to provide insight, advice and potential changes to administration on matters concerning current land-use bylaw and development permit application processes.

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