Delta could be seeing changes to the rules governing secondary suites after a new zoning bylaw was given first and second reading at council on Dec. 4.
The draft bylaw was started in 2014 as a replacement for the original developed in 1977, which has been amended many times over the decades.
The new legislation makes few substantial changes to the original, it being more “administrative” in nature, according to director of community planning and development Marcy Sangret.
The number of zones was reduced from 62 to 53, with some being grouped together and obsolete ones removed. Sangret said the City made sure no-one’s property would be down-zoned because of the rearrangement. The bylaw was also made easier to navigate, and includes more illustrations.
In the new bylaw, secondary suites will only be permitted on lots that are more than 15 metres wide and secondary suite parking is not permitted in the front yard. These are policies that were first put in place by council last year, but would now be part of the bylaw.
There would also be a requirement for the principal residence to have two enclosed parking spaces if the property has a secondary suite. Right now, only 50 per cent of the parking space is required to be enclosed for new single detached homes.
“What we find is that pushes parking onto driveways and subsequently onto streets,” Sangret said.
According to the results of the public consultations, published with the report to council, 76 per cent of respondents in North Delta and 78 per cent of respondents in Ladner opposed the requirement for two enclosed parking spaces. Comments said that these residents felt the regulation would limit their ability to have a secondary suite, especially for people with older homes.
Likewise, 87 per cent of North Delta respondents and 78 per cent of Ladner respondents were opposed to only permitting secondary suites on lots at least 15 metres wide. They expressed concerns about the limited availability of rental units, and said these regulations would limit housing affordability.
For both of these topics, the majority of Tsawwassen respondents (63 and 56 per cent, respectively) were in favour of the regulation changes.
During the consultation period, many North Delta residents expressed concerns over an additional housing cap in in the community. An additional cap size was considered, but was ultimately discarded.
The new bylaw would retain the current cap of 240 metres squared to 330 metres squared (depending on the zone) or the maximum floor space ratio (the total gross floor area of all buildings on a lot divided by the lot area, with some exceptions), whichever was less. This cap is only in effect in North Delta.
“This is really something that could be addressed in the future … as area plans get updated, rather than as part of the zoning bylaw,” Sangret said.
There will also be changes to help support healthy lifestyles in Delta, including required indoor and outdoor amenity space for developments, accessible apartments to allow people to age in place, and increasing the percentage of electric vehicle charging spaces.
The bylaw also includes an increased maximum height for side-by-side duplexes and a decreased maximum size for accessory structures.
Applications currently in the process of gaining permits or going through Delta’s application process would be grandfathered in to their current zone, Sangret said, to prevent any projects from having to start at square one.
The new bylaw will be available on Delta’s website in December and January. A public hearing will be held on Jan. 30, 2018, with the possibility for an additional hearing in North Delta around the same time.