Saanich is now taking applications for garden suites on properties that meet specific guidelines. (Fred Haynes/Twitter)

Applications open for Saanich garden suites

No Airbnb, short-term rentals allowed

The District of Saanich is now accepting applications for garden suites and, assuming all guidelines are met, approvals could be granted in just a few months.

On Oct. 5, council gave final readings to several bylaw amendments to allow garden suites – detached rental structures located in the backyard of a single-family property – provided the property owner has a permit and the site meets the criteria laid out by the municipality. Garden suites are now legal in Saanich on most RS-zoned properties within the sewer service area provided the lot is a minimum of 400 metres-squared and at least 12 metres wide.

Mayor Fred Haynes noted that there has already been a “huge interest” in garden suites from the community. Garden suites are “part of the mosaic” of solutions to address the need for rental housing in the district, he said.

The detached dwellings are a cost-effective housing option that will allow inter-generational families to live on the same property, let seniors age in place, supplement mortgages and create new, diverse rental spaces, Haynes said. He noted that if garden suites are added to even a fraction of Saanich’s approximately 30,000 single-family properties, there will be a sizable influx of affordable housing.

“As housing in our region becomes increasingly difficult to find or afford, looking for ways to increase options is key,” Haynes said in a release. “Garden suites will allow our growing families and others to adapt to changing living arrangements, loved ones to age in place, and provide opportunities for new residents while gently increasing the amount and diversity of rental housing in the region.”

Currently, garden suites are permitted for long-term rentals – meaning Airbnbs and bed and breakfasts are not permitted – and cannot be built on properties that already have a secondary suite.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers made a final plea at the Oct. 5 meeting to residents who may be considering such a structure.

“The garden suites are going to be removing biodiversity and we do not have our biodiversity strategy done yet,” she said. Until that is completed, she added, “take an extra eye for biodiversity while you’re installing your garden suites … think about the birds and bees and frogs …”

Saanich property owners can expect a straightforward garden suite application process that will take one to two months for municipal staff to approve as long as all the guidelines are met, Haynes said. According to the district, applicants need a Development Permit, a Building Permit and possibly a Tree Permit before building. Applications are handled by staff rather than council but applications that require a variance permit need council approval.

A pre-application questionnaire is available on the district website at saanich.ca/gardensuites along with an application process guide.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read