Smithers council allowing secondary suites

  • Apr. 4, 2011 7:00 p.m.

In order to increase density in the residential areas of Smithers, council has decided to allow secondary suites.

The nuts and bolts of the new policy has been referred to staff, however council unanimously agreed that secondary suites should be allowed in homes, with one even going so far as to consider allowing a secondary suite in a duplex, provided sufficient space is available.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Councillor Charlie Northrup said. “We want them to occupy it and create density.”

There are more questions for how secondary suites would work, however. Council did agree that a separate charge of 40 per cent for water and sewer to the occupant of the secondary suite seemed fair, however unless the household chose to purchase a second garbage cart they wouldn’t initiate an additional charge. If they did, it would be at 100 per cent, council decided.

Staff will be taking a more in-depth look at how a secondary suite would work in a duplex or other structure, such as a three plex or townhome, as well as how to legalize existing suites. Health, safety and fire separation requirements will also be looked at.

“I would like to hear back from the community on what they think,” Councillor Mark Bandstra noted.

The rest of council agreed and decided to have a survey at their May 4 open house that begins at 5 p.m.