Secondary suites rules tweaked

Council decides not to change concentration of secondary suites allowed.

City of Red Deer won’t change the concentration of secondary suites allowed in neighbourhoods.

A report that went to council on Monday recommending keeping the number of homes allowed to have the suites at 15 per cent, a move endorsed by council.

However, changes were made to the criteria used by the municipal planning commission to determine if a secondary suite is suitable.

For instance, the land use bylaw now includes criteria that the location of other suites within 100 metres, within a block, within a street and within a row of housing be considered.

Another consideration added is whether there is front-attached garages and driveways at adjacent homes. This could have a bearing on whether there’s enough parking nearby.

The municipal planning commission already considered these scenarios in practise but it was not laid out specifically in the bylaw council was told.

They could lead to uncertainty among homebuyers as to whether their secondary suite application was likely to be supported.

Council took a look at the issue because of a notice of motion last August from Coun. Lawrence Lee.

He wanted council to look at reducing the overall percentage of secondary suites in each neighbourhood to 10 per cent, and limit secondary suites to no more than 10 per cent on any street.

Lee was concerned that existing densities could lead to more traffic and parking complaints.

After reviewing the report, Lee said he was content with the existing 15 per cent threshold.

As well, the new criteria address his concerns about having too many secondary suites in one area, he said.

Coun. Lynne Mulder also supported the clarifications.

“I think this is a really great way to look at it,” she said. “I’m glad we didn’t change the 15 per cent.”

Council unanimously approved the bylaw changes.

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