Municipal planning commission to continue to oversee secondary suites in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake town council has backed away from bylaw changes that would have cut some of the red tape for those looking to rent out a secondary suite in their homes.

Sylvan Lake town council has backed away from bylaw changes that would have cut some of the red tape for those looking to rent out a secondary suite in their homes.

As it stands, municipal planning commission approval is required before a secondary suite is approved.

Planning staff recommended that, instead, the development officer should have the authority to approve the suites without going through the planning commission process.

It would allow applications to be processed quicker and ensure consistency, says a report to council.

Planning staff also noted that the development department was the approving authority until last fall when it was changed due to an oversight.

Several residents came to council to speak out against dropping the planning commission process, which gives residents a forum to voice their opposition.

Secondary suites are already proving a nuisance in some areas, where renters are creating noise and parking problems.

Local resident Brooke Carter said he’s not against secondary suites in appropriate locations. However, leaving approval decisions up to the development authority could lead to an “unmitigated proliferation” of the suites, which are proving increasingly popular.

Carter said a neighbour considering selling his home was told by two realtors that living next to a secondary suite home hurts property values.

Coun. Dale Plante agreed that a decision as important as secondary suite approval shouldn’t be in the hands of one person.

“At this point, I’m certainly not in favour of moving this forward.”

Council voted unanimously to reject second reading of the bylaw removing secondary suites from the municipal planning commission’s authority.

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