Message from Druh Farrell on Secondary Suites

I would like to update you on a motion that I plan to bring forward at the June 9th City Council meeting regarding secondary suites. If passed, the motion will allow secondary suites throughout wards 7, 8, 9 and 11, as well as within 600 metres of primary transit nodes (LRT and Bus Rapid Transit) in all wards in the city. The City of Calgary is experiencing a growing housing affordability crisis worsened by the 2013 flood. Secondary suites will bring relief to this crisis by providing revenue opportunities for homeowners and increasing the options for safe rental housing. They are a simple and market-driven solution to the increasingly serious problem of housing affordability at no cost to the City. For home owners, suites can provide extra revenue and a helping hand to seniors wanting to age in place, or young families entering the housing market. Other cities that have adopted similar rules have experienced an uptake of only 10% of suites in any given neighbourhood as well as a decrease in illegal suites. With the implementation of secondary suites, I want to ensure that we encourage good neighbours. My motion will request that the new bylaw addresses these common concerns:

  1. spill-over parking;
  2. overshadowing and overlooking for garden/laneway suites;
  3. landlord responsibility.

I have been a vocal advocate for secondary suites since I was first elected in 2001. Council has debated secondary suites and laneway housing many times over the years, resulting in incremental changes that are often overly complicated and confusing. Several years ago, Council made the decision to allow secondary suites in all new communities and we have seen an increased interest in those neighbourhoods and throughout the city. I look forward to working with your community association to ensure that implementation of the new secondary suite bylaw is a success. Sincerely, Druh Fore more information, contact: Carol Armes, Executive Assistant Druh Farrell, Councillor Ward 7 P.O. Box 2100, Stn. M Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2M5 Telephone: 403-268-2475 Fax: 403-268-3823

4 thoughts on “Message from Druh Farrell on Secondary Suites

  1. Well said Colin!

    I fully support secondary suites. The city needs to curb urban sprawl and increase population density. Suites are a very easy and cost effective way to accomplish this. Vancouver is a great example where they have gone from R1 to mulitple suites. It’s not uncommon to have 2 suites and a suite on top of a garage. People are able to walk or bike to work, use transit and/or car sharing for longer trips. It reduces car dependancy, increases pedestrian traffic, improves efficiency of services thereby lowering taxes. Due to our proximity to the hospital and University, St Andrews Heights is another perfect location for suites, even multiple suites. The community is changing quickly. The days of the bungalows are disappearing rapidly and extremely large single family dwellings are being built. It is extremely inefficient to have a such a large house accommodate a couple people in the inner city and then have a much higher population density out in the suburbs. I encourage City Council to continue their focus on improving inner city living, increasing density and limiting urban sprawl even though it might seem like the unpopular thing to do at the moment.

    Secondary suites are a win-win for the city and the community. People should have the choice of having a legal suite if they want, moving this motion forward is long overdue. People that are against increasing population density should be the ones moving outside the inner city. Not the other way around.

  2. I appreciate that Councillor Farrell is making her position clear by openly informing residents of her intentions regarding secondary suites. Not everyone is in favour of the idea, but at least we get to debate it right here on the PCA website. What do others think about the proposed motion?

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