After years of debate, Calgary city council voted Monday to change the application process for secondary suites.
“This takes out a number of steps in the process,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said. “It takes the decision away from council and puts it in the hands of administration where it should have been in the first place.”
It was previously reported that 20 per cent of council’s time last year was spent hearing secondary suite applications.
LISTEN: Councillor Ward Sutherland tells Danielle Smith why he opposed moving to a new secondary suite approval process
On Monday, councillors voted 10-5 on a motion to move the process to a development permit situation.
People would apply and have to meet a set of criteria to be approved. It’s not blanket rezoning that will allow suites everywhere and there will be an avenue for people to appeal based on planning reasons.
“The big day will come when the bylaw passes,” Nenshi said. “However, council has made an extraordinarily important step today. In an overwhelming majority, council said: ‘Let’s fix this. Let’s fix this so that we can get rid the illegal suites. Let’s fix this so that the tenants have a little tiny modicum of dignity and safety in their lives.’ I am so happy we’ve gotten to this point.”
Shane Keating’s proposal to reinstate a fee for making an application was hotly debated but passed in the end. The cost per application is expected to be less than $500.
LISTEN: Shane Keating talks to Angela Kokott about the new secondary suite application process
During budget talks two weeks ago, council was told each application costs the city $5,000 in lost revenue. However, that cost involved having applications processed as a land-use application, which then involved the Calgary Planning Commission and city council.
The creation of a secondary suite registry was also approved.
Administration will now prepare a bylaw with the changes and it’s expected to be back in front of council in a couple of months.
– With files from NewsTalk 770’s Aurelio Perri