As of this month, the City Council has moved forward with adopting several Zoning Bylaw amendments to permit secondary suites and garden suites as permitted / allowable uses on single family lots in a number of urban areas.
This is an incredibly exciting step forward, one that residents of the City of Kamloops have been requesting for many years. The bylaw amendments are a result of the “City’s Residential Suites Update” which was an extensive project over the course of the past year with the committee researching and engaging with the public, stakeholders and City Council. There was numerous opportunities for the public to input their opinion and it was a strong movement towards ‘yes’ to having the option to add a legal suite to your residence.
Up until this point, residents have been constructing ‘illegal’ basement suites in their homes – ones that were not permitted by way of their zoning. With the need to house family members, bring in an additional income to offset housing costs and investors looking to capitalize on their properties, illegal suites were the big elephant in the room. As most homeowners went about constructing a suite in their homes without permits, prospective buyers/insurance companies questioned the safety of those dwellings. For those with inadequate parking room, these units became a sore subject on the street when other neighbours had vehicles parked in front of their homes.
Secondary suites and garden suites (one storey dwellings / detached from house) are now allowed on single-family lots that meet the zoning requirements in most residential areas of the city. Noting the “Let’s Talk” site – this will include a majority of lots in Aberdeen, Batchelor Heights, Brocklehurst, Downtown, Dufferin, Juniper Ridge, Lower Sahali, North Kamloops, Pineview, Sagebrush, Upper Sahali, Valleyview, West End, and Westsyde. Carriage suites; suites above detached garage/shops; will continue to require a rezoning process and a Public Hearing, and they will only be permitted in the RS-1S (Single Family Residential – Suite) zone. Not sure what zoning you are? Take a peek at the Property Information Portal here and find out.
If you’re a homeowner who would like to construct a new suite, legalize an existing suite in your house (must meet the new requirements) you may apply for a building permit with the City. Compared to the process before this will save you $1500.00 in fees and you will be able to complete your project 8-12 weeks sooner than the rezoning and Public Hearing Process. Those looking to add a garden suite to their lot will need to apply for a building permit and development permit but will also be able to save the $1500.00 and complete their project quicker.
There are still several steps necessary moving forward and the City of Kamloops will need to address how they will be handling illegal suites (those that still don’t meet zoning requirements).
I, myself am very excited to see the continued information releases and curious to know how many homeowners who meet he new requirements will go through the process to have their suites declared legal. Typically, in the past homes that allowed legal suites carried a higher value to purchasers as it provided more options – now that so many homes will be permitted to add an income suite – will that mean a more equal ‘value’ accross the city?
Looking for a house with a inlaw/legal suite – take a look here!
What are your thoughts? Tell me below!