The City of Cranbrook has started the process of amending its Zoning Bylaw to allow for secondary suites within the residential community.

Cranbrook City Council gave first reading to the bylaw on Monday, which received unanimous approval. Mayor Lee Pratt said the issue of secondary suites has been a topic on the mind of City Council for some time, and that they are happy to have the early workings of a bylaw now in place.

“There’s a number of people that want to put suites in, so we thought well we should have a bylaw on it to make sure that the suites that are going in – that they’re requesting, that they’re done up to BC Building Code and then there’s no problems,” said Pratt.

The amendments to allow for secondary suites in Cranbrook’s Zoning Bylaw is broken up into three parts.

  1. Deleting and replacing the definition of Secondary Suite with a new definition based on the BC Building Code definition.
  2. Section 4.17 in the general regulations is deleted and replaced with updated provisions. Changes include deleting the requirement or owner occupancy and submission of a statutory declaration; deleting the size limitation and deleting the regulations pertaining to the number of occupants.
  3. Amending the following residential zones to add “Secondary Suite” as an accessory use: RT, RS, R-1, RD, R-2, R-3, R-4, R-5 and R-7 zones. Additionally, the Wildstone, and Shadow Mountain comprehensive development zones, and CD-8 Single Family Residential zone, are updated by deleting the size requirements for secondary suites.

The BC Building Code redefined secondary suites, eliminated the prescribed floor space and percentages size restrictions, while also allowing secondary suites in a building that contains more than one dwelling unit. As per the City’s wishes, their Zoning Bylaw for secondary suites would parallel with the BC Building Code.

“Staff has prepared the proposed regulations to be consistent with new BC Building Code regulations as they pertain to suites. If adopted, the new zoning regulations will facilitate secondary suites in single-family dwellings and side-by-side duplexes and townhouses,” reads the City Council report.

MORE: Secondary Suites Bylaw (City of Cranbrook)

Mayor Lee Pratt said the new bylaw helps the City in two ways.

“It saves a lot of Council time because everyone doesn’t have to come to Council then, and it also simplifies the process for the people that are looking into or want to put them in.”

When asked if the secondary suites would help Cranbrook’s vacancy rate, which is 1.0% as of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s latest statistics from 2019, Pratt believes it will supplement work already underway.

“It will help somewhat,” Pratt told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “I mean we’ve got a lot of housing projects on the go right now and a few more on the drawing board. Within about two years there won’t be a vacancy problem in Cranbrook, but there’s still people that would like to have a secondary suite to possibly subsidize their mortgage and that. That’s fine, it’s okay, but we just want to make sure that they’re built to code and there’s safety for the people that are renting them.”

Following first reading, the bylaw still needs to come back to Cranbrook City Council for a second reading, Public Hearing, third reading, and eventual adoption. City staff expect to be back before Cranbrook City Council with the Secondary Suite bylaw amendment report on October 5th before they schedule a Public Hearing on the matter.