9 Important Things to Know About Calgary’s Secondary Suite Reform Process
I think you would agree with me that secondary suites reform has been long overdue for Calgary. As a city of over one million people, it is inefficient and unkind to force people to bare their souls and share their personal stories in the hopes that Council would be swayed by compassion.
I disagree with that process and you’ve told me that your expectation of City Council was to cut the red tape and bureaucracy, focus on the process and to treat Calgarians fairly when it came to their private and personal property.
I’m happy to announce that City Council agreed with you.
Previously, I’ve written about this and on December 11 2017, in a 10-5 vote, City Council directed City Administration to bring bylaw changes that would apply to the entire city, making secondary suites a discretionary use.
Since that time, many of you have been asking my office and I questions about the process. I wanted to take this time to answer the nine most asked questions we’ve been asked.
1. When will Council be reviewing the new rules?
The report to Council will be made available on February 22, 2018 and the review and decision of Council is scheduled to be heard on March 12, 2018, at the Council Public Hearing. You can read the report online at www.calgary.ca/planningmatters.
2. Will there be any open houses or engagement?
There will not be any open houses or engagement. Council has asked that the bylaw changes return directly to them for their review and decision.
3. How many homes are affected by the proposed changes to the land use bylaw?
170,000 parcels in Calgary are proposed to have secondary suites as a discretionary use in the amended bylaw.
4. Which residential land uses (or designations) are impacted by secondary suite reform?
Properties designated as R-1, R-C1 or R-C1L will be impacted by the proposed changes (find our your land use type here).
5. How will homeowners and the public be made aware of the change?
Homeowners and the public will be made aware of these changes in a number of ways, including:
- Letters to parcel owners
- Newspaper ads
- Bold signs
- Digital media
- Through your community associations
6. What happens to illegal suite complaints during the secondary suite reform?
Illegal suite complaints will still be investigated as they come in. If there is an infraction, inspectors will advise the owners of the infraction, inform them that is not approved, and provide them options to bring it into compliance with the bylaw.
7. I already have an application to develop a secondary suite. What happens to it?
If you already have an application in progress that already has approved land use, the application will be processed as usual. If your secondary suite application was to be heard on December 14 2017 or heard after January 11 2018, it will be heard at the March 12 2018 Public Hearing of Council.
8. Will there be a secondary suite registry?
Council directed Administration to look into a mandatory secondary suite registry to help enforce Council’s goals of public safety and enforcement. The results of that investigation will be brought forward to Council for their deliberation and debate.
9. I’m going to be affected by this, how can I give my feedback and comment?
There are many ways that Calgarians will be able to comment on this process and the secondary suite proposed bylaw.
If you want to submit a letter or other communication regarding these bylaw amendments please include:
- Your name
- Mailing address
- E-mail address (if applicable)
Please focus your submissions on the bylaw change and planning merits. Any material that includes defamatory and offensive language will NOT be printed in the Council agenda or shared with Members of Council.
Only submissions received by the City Clerk before 12:00 PM (noon) on Tuesday, March 5, 2018, will be included in the Agenda of Council. Be sure to send your submissions to:
Office of the City Clerk - The City of Calgary
700 Macleod Trail SE, P.O. Box 211, Postal Station M
Calgary AB T2P 2M5
You can also hand deliver, fax (403-268-2362) or email (PublicSubmissions@calgary.ca) your submissions.
If you need more information or clarification on this process, feel free to reach out to the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
You can also reach out to me, Gian-Carlo Carra and my office.
Secondary suite reform has been a long time coming. With your help and thoughtful input, we’ve been able to give this issue the proper attention it deserves.
P.S. If you are interested in being kept in the loop about this or any other issue, I encourage you to sign up for the Ward 9 email list by clicking here.
P.P.S. Have you given any thought of joining and participating in your community association? They are a solid group of neighbourhood volunteers who our office relies on to give us insight into the concerns and issues of the community. It’s been shown that there is a direct correlation between the number of residents who volunteer with their community association and the quality of life of the neighbourhood. Check them out and let’s continue to build our #GreatNeighbourhoods.