May 10, 2015 7:10 pm
Updated: May 10, 2015 7:29 pm

City council looks at secondary suites again, while Calgarians add their voice to the debate

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CALGARY- Monday, City Council is expected to look at a proposal that would permit secondary suites in every housing zone in four Calgary wards.

A public hearing is also scheduled for Calgarians to add their voice to the contentious issue.

One city councillor has a new idea he thinks could help council finally make progress on the issue.

It’s an issue that’s been considered by Calgary City Council for years.

The latest secondary suite proposal would ease zoning restrictions and allow for suites in wards 7, 8, 9 and 11.

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“The proposal before us to legalize in the four wards is actually not a good solution. But if it’s all that this council will accept, in terms of making the suites legal and above all safe for the people who live in them, then I’ll support it,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

A group has recently started up opposed to the latest proposal.

The group, called “Not 4 re-zoning” wants a better enforcement plan for problems that may arise as a result of secondary suites.

Members don’t like the idea of blanket zoning changes in the four wards.

“Our feeling is that they want to break it down into smaller groups, get approval for those, and then later on use that as a precedent for implementing secondary suites across the city and again were not against secondary suites it’s just the way they are choosing to do it his particular by law,” Doug Ratke from ‘Not4RZ’ said.

Councillor Andre Chabot doesn’t think re-designating an entire ward is appropriate.  He’s suggesting a proposal that would require getting your neighbours on board with secondary suites and proceed street by street, like with permit parking.

“We should have something that’s similar to our parking policy which means that 80% of the community has to buy in on it. Anything short of that, you are imposing something on others that they didn’t buy into in the first place,” Chabot said.

The difference this time around with the secondary suite debate, is that the public is encouraged to come on down and have a say on Tuesday.

“Members of the public are welcome to speak to it. We’ve never had members of the public speak on this council before. If that sways one or two votes, we will see how it happens. I’m not sure,” Mayor Nenshi said.

The secondary suites motion is on the council agenda for Monday, but the public hearing will likely be put over until Tuesday.

 

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