Secondary Suite Silver Lining

We think that most Calgarians are disappointed by yesterday's news that Secondary Suites won't soon be permitted (or even discretionary) in Calgary's R-C1 districts (nor R-1, R-C1L districts). We won't belabour the situation by pointing out how unique our city is in disallowing this modest form of housing.

Rather, we want to remind homeowners, builders, and developers that accessory suites are currently possible in the R-C2 district and many others! In fact, in the ubiquitous R-C2 district, suites within a dwelling unit, such as basement suites, are permitted on all lots that are 29 1/2 feet (9m) or wider.

As well, backyard suites—such as suites above garages—are discretionary on lots that are 42 1/2 feet (13m) in width or wider, at at least 98 1/2 feet (30m) deep, and at least 4305 square feet (400 square metres) in area. Most of Calgary's inner city lots are 50 feet wide and easily accommodate a backyard suite. The fact that they are discretionary simply means that a development permit is required prior to applying for a building permit.

 From Council Agenda December 15th, 2014 at agendaminutes.calgary.ca

From Council Agenda December 15th, 2014 at agendaminutes.calgary.ca

Currently, most of our clients are building accessory suites above triple garages. This size of garage easily accommodates two parking stalls for the main house, plus one for the suite. As well, triple garages provide a large enough footprint to allow for a good-sized two bedroom suite above the garage.

Even though yesterday's secondary suite news might be bad, it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to put off your suite plans. If you have an R-C2 lot, you're good to go. If you have questions, please feel free to give us a call.