District expands guest cottage options

More North Saanich properties able to build, rent smaller homes

Homeowners who want to build guest cottages on their property in North Saanich will has more opportunity to do so under a new municipal policy.

The District passed a bylaw more than three years ago, says Mayor Alice Finall, allowing guest or caretaker cottages on properties no smaller than one-and-a-quarter acres. They could be rented out to anyone, as long as the main residence on the property was still occupied by its owner.

This month, the District took steps to reduce the allowable property size to one acre, making even more land available to this option.

“This new bylaw reflects that change,” said Finall. “It’s general intent is to reduce the size of a lot (where a cottage of a certain size can be built) and increase the number of zones where they can go.”

She said in the District’s old bylaw, prior to 2010, only a caretaker or family member could live in such a structure and owners could not rent them out to the general public.

“We changed that,” said the mayor. “As long as the main dwelling is occupied by the owner, they can rent (a cottage) to anyone.”

What this will do, Final continued, is add the possibility of more affordable housing options in the District.

Building them is, of course, up to property owners and Finall said while the new bylaw applies to the entire municipality, she doesn’t expect to see them pop up en masse.

“It’s part of an overall attempt to add affordability and variety in the types of housing in North Saanich,” Finall said, adding she still thinks the municipality needs an overall affordable housing strategy to co-ordinate local policy and construction projects.

Secondary suites go to the public

A public meeting is in the works for the District of North Saanich to hear from residents on secondary suites.

Mayor Alice Finall said council hopes to hear from people on proposed changed to their proposed secondary suites policy. She said council is looking to expand where the suites are allowed within the municipality, as well as other changes. A staff report is available on the District’s website and the date and time of a public meeting will be announced soon.


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