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Suite approval to be simplified

Efforts are underway to encourage secondary suites in Vernon and minimize issues around them.

City council has directed staff to take a number of steps that would clarify requirements for secondary suites in residential homes and simplify the approval process.

“It’s one of the approaches recognized in our affordable housing strategy,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham of suites.

“There are hundreds throughout the city and just 24 are legal.”

Staff has been asked to investigate a streamlined process for secondary suites including reduced costs and requirements.

Council also wants bylaws amended to eliminate billing for secondary suite owners at the base rate for water and sanitary sewer and maintain a base rate for garbage for all authorized secondary suites.

Staff will also consider ways to encourage all new detached single-family home construction to include the provision for the future installation of a suite.

One area that is also being pursued is distinguishing in-law suites from income-generating suites.

“Adult children have taken on their parents and they get slammed with costs,” said Cunningham, adding that keeping families together should be considered differently than someone collecting rent.

There could also be amendments to how illegal suites are handled.

The affordable housing advisory committee has recommended requiring at least two written complaints from two different residents or business operators within a 50-metre radius and within a six-month period to initiate the bylaw enforcement process.

“We want to reduce the angst for people when they are reported on by neighbours,” said Cunningham.

 

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