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Proposed changes to secondary suite development heading to council

A proposal to limit the number of secondary suites in a given neighbourhood in Grande Prairie will be heading to city council for debate.

The biggest proposed update to the secondary suite bylaw would see a limit of five Secondary Suites or Garage Suites within the same 50 metre radius. Mayor Bill Given says they’re looking to strike a balance from more recent times, where significant ebbs and flows created problems.

“There was a time when the city had a very strict regulation on them, and it was hard to build a secondary suite anywhere,” he says.

“Then, in the early 2000s, because of concerns around housing availability and affordability, we opened up availability for secondary suites and made it very broad and had very [few] limits [as to] where you could put them.”

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He says following that, the city saw situations develop in which many areas saw a high density of secondary suites. In some cases, the majority of houses in a given neighbourhood featured a suite. Given says that caused operational problems for the municipality, including snow removal and on-street parking.

Given adds the proposal, introduced by BILD Grande Prairie, is something that will hopefully create opportunities for both would-be renters, as well as current or future homeowners.

“They are absolutely a way to address housing affordability in two different ways,” he says. “They provide great rental opportunities for people looking to rent and not buy, they also offer a great opportunity for people looking to buy to have an income from their home that allows them to meet the requirements to finance a mortgage.”

The proposal will be on the docket at a Grande Prairie City Council meeting to be determined.

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