The Town of Strathmore is exploring options to expand housing options within the community through the potential use of secondary suites, garden units and garages.

Megan Williams of the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) brought up the subject at the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 13 to discuss options.

The presentation detailed for council the different types of secondary accommodation that can exist on land and which meet the appropriate land use regulations.

These include, but are not limited to, secondary suites, lane homes, in-law apartments, and backyard apartments.

Currently, according to Williams, the city has 13 lots with approved and legalized garden or garage suites and five with side suites.

Previously, Council had requested in 2021 that the administration research garden suites and garages with the aim of discussing their implementation in a land use by-law.

“In order to get a secondary suite, (a resident) would have to apply for a development permit and then part of that development permit includes the electrical and plumbing of the building where they are required to meet building code,” said said Williams. “There are specific regulations in the building code that (must be adhered to) and that’s where it gets a bit more expensive.”

Accessory suites were introduced in the Residential Land Use Regulations in 2020 as a discretionary use in low-density residential neighborhoods.

Although the capacity is there to develop them, according to the city administration, it is believed that a barrier preventing residents from upgrading existing housing is the costs associated with the ability to meet building codes, regardless of the type of building. lodging.

Similarly, the creation of a new independent garden or a garage on the property is also prohibitively expensive.

“I think the advice, from what I’ve heard between us, is that everyone is very interested in low income housing, or a variety of income housing, but it’s not going to be low income housing. low income,” Councilor Brent Wiley said. .

Mayor Pat Fule added that the availability of affordable and even low-income housing would be a boon to the city if development began more prolifically.

“In my own thinking, I thought it might add more inventory for different types of rentals so a family might have the option of renting a garden suite or a detached garage for example,” Fule said. “The other thing is I thought it might be a good way for a young couple to start and they can afford an affordable rental.”

Fule added that this could be a way for seniors to stay in their homes longer, as the income could help pay their mortgage or earn them extra income if their home is paid off.

In Budget 2022, the federal government is proposing a Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, which would provide up to $7,500 to homeowners who create a secondary home for a disabled adult or senior.

The administration recommended a public engagement session to engage residents and gather feedback on what residents think of the garden suites. There is no fixed date for the discussion to return to council.

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