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Council allows secondary suites in semi-detached homes

Secondary suites in semi-detached dwellings on approved properties with laneway access permitted

In an effort to encourage the development of more living spaces as a means of increasing housing affordability in Smithers, Town Council voted at their June 23 meeting to approve a Zoning Bylaw Amendment that allows secondary suites in semi-detached houses.

The new bylaw removes the previous requirement that the maximum size of a secondary suite has to be 90 square metres or 40 per cent of the total gross floor area of the single-family dwelling it is being added onto.

READ MORE: Secondary suite bylaws debate, some adopted

Suites will only be permitted in semi-detached dwellings where the parcel has laneway access.

Likewise, they will not be able to be developed in parcels shown in Schedule B: Environmental Development Permit Areas of the Town of Smithers Official Community Plan Bylaw 1614.

Entrances to the secondary suites must be located on the rear or the side of the building.

In terms of density, semi-detached dwellings with secondary suites shall not contain more than one dwelling per 142 square metres of parcel area.

In their discussion of the new bylaw, council members noted it is also meant to help improve the safety standards of existing suites to ensure renters have access to safe housing.

It will also provide a consistent approach to enforcement against non-compliant secondary suites.

The Town first approved residential secondary suites unanimously in 2011, however, the Town is hoping this new bylaw helps give homeowners more autonomy with regard to renting out their property while simultaneously giving those looking for housing options in town a wider range of affordable options.
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