The city wants to gauge public feedback before allowing secondary suites in more areas of Kamloops.
The city is exploring the idea of allowing secondary suites, including garden suites, in single-family homes in all urban neighbourhoods. It is holding a public open house on the matter on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and has released an online survey, which will be available until Feb. 24.
City community planner Carmin Mazzotta said the move could increase the city’s supply of affordable rental housing, provide mortgage helpers to homeowners, maintain neighbourhood character via “sensitive” infill and improve tenant health and safety by discouraging illegal suites.
Mazzotta said the city is aware of illegal suites in the city. In the past decade, it has issued 190 building permits for legal suites, though others were likely issued prior to that, he noted. It is unclear how many illegal suites are currently in use in the city.
“We’re aware that it’s an issue,” Mazzotta said, noting removing the rezoning requirement that requires a public hearing would encourage people to legalize suites.
The zoning shift would includes 93 per cent of the population, with urban neighbourhoods including Aberdeen, Batchelor Heights, Brocklehurst, Campbell Creek, Dallas, downtown, Dufferin, Juniper Ridge, Lower Sahali, North Kamloops, Pineview, Sagebrush, Upper Sahali, Valleyview, the West End and Westsyde.
Currently, secondary suites are located sporadically throughout the city, often the result of a rezoned property. Mazzotta said current zones permitting secondary suites are “fairly limited.”
Coun. Kathy Sinclair earlier put forward the motion asking staff to review the idea of allowing secondary suites in more areas of Kamloops.
She told KTW she has since heard from residents in favour and others with concerns. Concerns were primarily related to parking, she said. Meanwhile, homeowners who purchased homes without realizing suites were illegal were among those in favour.
“I’m definitely going to be keeping an open mind,” Sinclair said, noting housing in Kamloops must be affordable at every level.
“We’ve been pretty lucky in terms of housing affordability, but the affordability isn’t necessarily there for renters, though,” she said.
The Feb. 5 public open house will be held in the Valley First Lounge at Sandman Centre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will include a presentation from city staff, panel discussion and an audience question-and-answer period. The online survey can be found online here.