Bylaw Amendment for City-Wide Secondary Suites

Council Approves some Amendments, Rejects Others

In June 2015, the City proposed to change the R-C1 and R-C2 land uses to allow Secondary and Backyard suites on all R-C1 lots and all subdivided R-C2 lots in only Wards 7, 8, 9 and 11. This proposal was rejected by Council vote.

On May 2, 2016, Council held a public hearing to consider a new Secondary Suite Proposal, Bylaw 23P2016. Residents and Community Associations objected to two significant changes (listed below). Although the R-C1 land use remained unchanged, WCA was concerned that the two main rule changes would affect the number and size of Secondary and Backyard suites for R-C1s and R-C2 properties.

The concern was that the ease with which land use re-designations from R-C1 to R-C1s can be obtained created a significant potential change for every property in Wildwood. (R-C1s means that a secondary suite is allowed on the property, whereas an R-C1 property does not allow for a secondary suite. Currently, over 80% of applications to Council are approved.)

The Council vote was held May 16th, 2016. After some debate, Council partially responded to the concerns raised by residents at the Public Hearing by accepting a Motion from Councillor Keating to modify the two significant changes.

The two significant changes proposed were:

  1. Initial Motion was to: Reduce the minimum parcel width requirement from 9.0m to 7.5m (25ft) for Secondary and Backyard suites in any district, even when all of the required parking stalls are provided on site.Result: Council clarified the requirements for parking by adding
    (i) it is located on a corner parcel or laned parcel; and
    (ii) 3.0 or more motor vehicle parking stalls are provided on the parcel;

    By definition, parking for 3 cars requires 8.2m so the majority of laned lots should not be able to accommodate 3 cars; however questions remain as to how this will be viewed by City Planning staff. Presumably, a subdivided 50ft R-C2 lot accommodate 3 would not be able to accommodate parking for 3 cars unless it is a corner lot.

  2. Initial Motion was to: Increase the maximum floor area of a Secondary Suite, from 70 m2 (753 sq ft) to 100 m2 (1,075 sq ft) and Backyard Suite size from 75 m2 (807 sq ft) to 100 m2.Result: Council decided not to increase the maximum floor area for Backyard Suites (Over garage or Garden) to 100 m2. Unfortunately, Council did increase the maximum size of above ground Secondary Suites to 100 m2. For Secondary Suites in the Basement, the maximum floor area was changed to the size of the main floor of the dwelling. WCA opposed larger above ground suites but supported the change for Basement suites as they are below grade and size has a lesser impact.

Overall, concessions were made by Councillors on both sides of the issue and Councillor Keating proposed a City Wide suites policy that will be considered by Council but no process or time frame has been established. Land use re-designations to R-C1s or R-C2s by Council are is still a requirement but allowable Secondary Suites are now larger. WCA will continue to be an active participant in the debate.

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