A motion passed by council Monday means that homeowners will be able to purchase new residences already knowing their neighbourhood could be built with secondary suites.
Existing homes and zoning that do not allow secondary suites will remain untouched.
Ald. Peter Demong was applauded by Mayor Naheed Nenshi for putting forward this compromise to the previous and contentious proposal to legalize secondary suites in all residential zones.
Demong did not believe the Nenshi’s plan for citywide suite reform was fair because many homeowners had bought their residences on the grounds that their community didn’t have secondary suites.
While some aldermen believe this decision was a step in the wrong direction because it could reduce property value and the number of multi-family dwellings in Calgary, David Watson, the city’s general manager of planning, said this change will give homebuyers more options.
Ald. Druh Farrell agrees, noting she doesn’t see the allowance of secondary suites as a limitation.
“It just offers people some opportunity when they’re trying to get into the housing market,”said Farrell. “Very few of these are built. They’re built on an opportunity basis when the homeowner sees an advantage.”
Farrell added that a range of groups from the Chamber of Commerce to the developers’ association have actually stepped forward and urged secondary suites be legalized in all city residential zones.
“We received a joint submission from Urban Development Institute and the (Canadian) Home Builders Association on February 18, exactly two months ago, stating that they believed that Calgarians need access to safe, affordable housing,” said Nenshi. “They believe in rental accommodation and they strongly believe in making every single house in the city have secondary suites.”
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