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Secondary suite reform is coming to Calgary, and the City would like your feedback.

Last year I supported reform through a zoned model, that would have each applicant meet the requirements of fire safety, adequate parking, and that there was a financial cost to those that did not follow the rules. It was defeated by Council. It was in the fall of 2017 that the changes below earned enough support by Council to go forward. While I did not support such blanket changes that will impact 170,000 households, I do want to ensure that Calgarians have a chance to speak to these changes.

Calgary City Council is proposing changes to Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 to improve the process for developing Secondary Suites and Backyard Suites for Calgarians, it will be debated on March 12, 2018. The changes mean that both forms of secondary suites would become discretionary uses within the R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts. ​

“Under the existing bylaw, if you wanted to develop a suite in your basement, in your backyard or above your garage, you would have to ask City Council for permission through a land use re-designation,” says Lisa Kahn, Growth Strategies Coordinator at The City of Calgary. “The proposed changes would mean property owners would have the ability to develop a suite without City Council approval, but would still work with Planning and Development staff at The City of Calgary to obtain Development and Building Permits.”

The proposed changes are expected to directly affect 170,000 land owners in Calgary. Letters notifying land owners of the changes and the upcoming hearing have been mailed out this week, inviting Calgarians to provide written submissions before March 5th or attend the public meeting and present to Council on March 12th. You can also check your address to see if you are impacted

City Council will also discuss proposed changes that would require all existing and new suites to be part of The City’s Suites Registry Program which would allow renters to confirm whether a suite they are looking to rent is meeting safety standards. There will be an online map so that all Calgarians can ensure that the unit they might live in, or the one next door is legal, and meets all safety codes.

Make sure you provide your feedback, and if you want to attend the Council meeting on March 12.



Sean Chu

Sean Chu

Sean Chu arrived in Calgary from Taiwan in 1985 speaking not a word of English, and within 7 years he was a sworn officer with the Calgary Police Service. From that point on Sean worked with the Calgary Police Service as on Officer for 21 years in a number of roles until 2013.

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