Thumbs up for secondary suites

Proposed regulations that would open the door for development of more secondary suites in Red Deer have received a thumbs-up from the city’s municipal planning commission.

Proposed regulations that would open the door for development of more secondary suites in Red Deer have received a thumbs-up from the city’s municipal planning commission.

The commission voted on Monday to support draft amendments to the land-use bylaw that would allow up to 20 per cent of detached dwellings in neighbourhoods throughout Red Deer to contain secondary suites, and to recommend to city council that it proceed with first reading of a bylaw to implement those amendments.

The initiative flowed from the city’s affordable housing strategy.

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.

In the case of West Park (excluding Westlake), as many as 144 secondary suites would be allowed, based on the 20 per cent limit.

For Bower, the maximum would be 88; for Glendale, it would be 152; and for Vanier Woods, it would be 77.

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 proposed bylaw amendments came before the municipal planning commission three weeks ago.

At that time, members voted to table the matter so that additional information could be obtained concerning garbage limits and criteria for approving secondary suites as discretionary uses, among other things.

On Monday, assistant city planning manager Tony Lindhout, who is a member of the Red Deer’s secondary suites steering committee, responded.

He told the commission that properties with secondary suites would be allowed a total of five garbage bags per week, the same as homes without suites. The city-wide household maximum is expected to decrease next year to three garbage bags.

With respect to the criteria to be applied in the case of discretionary use applications, Lindhout said nearby residents would be notified and the municipal planning commission would make the decision, considering various factors.

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