A group of Calgary city councillors is proposing a new way of doing business when it comes to dealing with secondary suite applications, which would take it out of their hands entirely.
Shane Keating and five other councillors want the city to adopt a development permit process, which would allow for community input while also providing an avenue for appeal.
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Calgarians would file an application at city hall, with administration deciding – based on established criteria – whether to grant approval or not.
“It still must be advertised; feedback must be gathered from residents in the area,” Keating explained.
The issue of secondary suites has bogged down council hearings, with councillors at times dealing with dozens of applications. The notice of motion claims 20 per cent of council time in 2016 was spent on secondary suites.
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Keating wants to reinstate a fee for secondary suite applications. This, after council was told last week that each application costs the city $5,000.
Keating claims the city could dramatically reduce costs this way.
“It would be nowhere near the $5,000,” he said. “It would be much less because the fees would be much less; because it doesn’t go to council and it doesn’t go to CPC (Calgary Planning Commission).”
Councillor Gian Carlo Carra said he’s against such a fee because of the impact it would have on affordable housing.
“Secondary suites – pound for pound and dollar for dollar – are the most efficient and effective way to get affordable housing onto the market,” he said. “I don’t want to do anything to prevent that from happening.”
Keating also wants to create a secondary suite registry that would collect fees every two years, with money being spent to enforce the rules and regulations in place around secondary suites.
Council is expected to vote on the motion on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.
– With files from Aurelio Perri