The Town of Smithers amended its Official Community Plan and a zoning bylaw at the regular March 11 council meeting to allow for carriage homes in the R-2 Low Density Residential Zone.
A public hearing was held prior to voting on the bylaw amendments. Two community members spoke in favour of the changes.
Resident and Calderwood Realty managing broker Casda Thomas was one of those who spoke in favour of allowing carriage homes.
“We want to have more density and its another opportunity to increase our income,” Thomas said.
Carriage homes are classified as detached dwellings constructed as an accessory building to a single-family home. They are normally around 500 square feet with one or two bedrooms and typically accessible from a home’s rear lane. Under the new guidelines, certain restrictions apply, such as they will only be allowed on lots with single-family homes, not properties with duplexes or auxiliary buildings.
“The concept has been very well received by the community,” said Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “I’m not sure how much uptake there will be. We’ve had a couple of enquiries already.
“This is a long-term move. It’s gives people flexibility, it provides another option for people, both for renters and for property owners in the community.”
At a council meeting earlier this year, it was stressed allowing carriage homes would not add to the affordable housing stock, only bring another type of rental housing to Smithers.
“If we think we’re creating affordable housing, I think we’re somewhat kidding ourselves,” said councillor Charlie Northrup. “If these 500-square-foot-plus carriage homes are built properly, you’re looking at $100,000-plus, your costs, taxes, maintenance, etc. These homes could easily be going for $1,000/month.”
For more on the guidelines surrounding the construction of carriage homes in Smithers, go to the town office on Aldous St. or call 250-847-1600.