Secondary Suites Review

Housing affordability and availability is an issue everywhere in BC. To encourage development of new suites and legalization of existing suites that are not currently permitted, North Cowichan is considering increasing the number of properties that could have an attached secondary suite.

On September 6, 2017, Council gave first and second reading to a Zoning Bylaw amendment to allow attached secondary suites in the Residential Restricted (R2) and Residential Restricted Properties (R2-A) and Cliffs Comprehensive Development (CD1) zones, and to reduce the minimum parcel area for a secondary suite in the Residential One and Two-Family (R3) zone from 650m2 to 450m2. On October 4, 2017, Council held a Public Hearing for this amendment application. After hearing both supportive and opposed comments from the public, Council gave third reading to the amendment.

The next step is for the Municipality to secure the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's support for this amendment (given that it affects properties within 800 m of a controlled access intersection). Following that, the amendment will go back to Council to consider adoption. 

This proposed changes would affect about 2300 properties, shown in the diagram below.

Click the image to view a map of the potentially affected properties.

This amendment is directly supported by a number of policies in the 2011 Official Community Plan, including:

  • Policy The Municipality will broaden the number of zones that permit secondary suites while ensuring adequate provision can be made for on-site parking.
  • Policy The Municipality will encourage development of secondary suites and infill housing.
  • Policy To encourage owners of previously unapproved secondary suites to legalize the suites, the Municipality will establish an amnestry period to legalize secondary suites and reduce associated fees.

For more background, view the following staff reports: