Saskatoon’s first garage suite approved

Watch above: It’s been more than six months since the City of Saskatoon changed bylaws to allow construction of garden and garage suites. As Wendy Winiewski reports, the program aimed at creating more rental properties is off to a slow start.

SASKATOON – The city’s first garage suite has been approved for City Park. After applying in May, Nathan Doupe has spent the better part of half-a-year working toward approval.

At 700 square feet, there’s room for one-bedroom, one-bathroom, and a large kitchen/living room area with patio doors opening to a balcony.

“We’re very excited to get a garage. It was something that we wanted anyway so the idea to put a suite on top worked for us,” said Doupe, standing in his backyard where the garage and garage suite will be constructed.

As part of the city’s neighbourhood level infill development strategy, bylaw changes were made in May to allow for garden and garage suites to increase density. More people living in existing neighbourhoods, using existing roads, and existing water and sewer pipes is cheaper than servicing new neighbourhoods.

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The idea of garden and garage suites has yet to take hold.

“We have lots of phones calls, lots of interest,” said Darryl Dawson with the city’s planning and development branch. Four applications have been received; two have been approved including Doupe’s garage suite.

The other is a garden suite approved for North Park. Both were approved after the 2014 construction season.

“We were the first ones to put an application in so I think there were some kinks to work through internally within the city and that might have been the cause of a bit of delay,” said Doupe.

According to Dawson, once the process has been refined the City will try turning over all applications within six to 14 weeks.

“The city administration planning and development branch is working to ensure that we have a good clear package for our applicants for garden and garage suites so they know what they need to supply and provide to us for our application process,” said Dawson.

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Distance from property lines, building height, and sightlines to yards of existing neighbours all need to be considered. Detailed blueprints, a sewage plan and a $1,500 application fee are part of the process.

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Older neighbourhoods are most conducive to the garden/garage suite program because they have back lane entry. The two pending applications are in the Buena Vista and Nutana neighbourhoods.