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Calgary looking to allow secondary suites in semi-detached homes

City of Calgary
City council debated a proposal to streamline the process for applying for secondary suites on Monday. Global News

The issue of secondary suites was up for discussion at Calgary’s planning and urban development committee, but it seems the controversy over the suites is over.

“Wow, considering the public hearing that we had with suites, things have sort of evaporated,” Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell said Wednesday after no one from the public came to speak to the committee.

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Farrell was one of a number of her colleagues who fought for years for a city-wide approval of secondary suites.

“I think the ‘sky is falling’ scenario didn’t come to be. We took a long time to get to this stage where we caught up to almost to any other city in Canada and this is just streamlining the process further.”

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The committee is recommending city council hold a public hearing on Nov. 18 to allow secondary suites in semi-detached dwellings.

Part of the guidelines that went to committee allow for parking relaxations on suites that are a minimum distance from public transit. Suites in semi-detached suites would be allowed in a large section of the inner-city.

It was not unusual in the past for city council to spend hours and hours dealing with secondary suite applications in single family homes.

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Council voted last year to shift the process to administration. Since the change, more than 900 applications have been dealt with. Members of the public unsatisfied with a decision have the option to appeal to the subdivision and development appeal board.

Farrell said that a majority of residents in her ward approve of secondary suites and benefits they provide.

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“Adding suites is helping them with so many different issues, for example if they’re aging seniors and they’re trying to bring in a little bit of revenue.

“It’s becoming more widespread and it’s something that’s being welcomed by most of the communities in my ward anyway.”