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City of Delta wants to make it easier to add secondary suites

The Ambassadors will be available at the city’s recreation centres on various dates this summer to provide more information
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Delta over the past few years has already been making several zoning changes to facilitate more units. Pixabay

The City of Delta last week announced its newly created Home Suite Home program’s “Secondary Suite Ambassadors” are now available to guide homeowners through a streamlined building permit application process.

The program is designed to encourage homeowners with existing secondary suites to bring their properties into compliance with the BC Building Code, opening up more much-needed housing for individuals and families in Delta, the city notes.

“I’m incredibly proud of the dedication our Secondary Suite Ambassadors bring to making safe and affordable housing a reality in Delta,” said Mayor George Harvie a news release.

“These Ambassadors are key to guiding homeowners through the process of legalizing their suites, offering personalized support, and streamlining permit applications. Their hands-on approach not only simplifies the process but also ensures our community benefits from more accessible and quality housing options. I encourage Delta residents to connect with our Ambassadors this summer and take advantage of their expertise and assistance.”

The program includes a limited-time offer for the waiver of building permit application fees, as well as a free pre-application process with the option of having a city Ambassador attend a secondary suite before the permitting process begins.

The city currently has more than 2,800 dwellings with a secondary suite occupancy permit, with approximately 75 percent of the authorized suites located in North Delta.

Council earlier this year made several bylaw amendments including removing the requirement for a person to hold a valid rental permit to lease or rent a secondary suite and removing the licence fee for a suite from the business licence schedule.

Delta over the past few years has been making other zoning changes to facilitate even more units, one of the strategies outlined within the city’s Housing Action Plan.

Four years ago, council approved amendments including eliminating the requirement for a minimum lot width of 49-feet (15 metres) for a house to be eligible for a suite and allowing suites on properties that can fit three on-site parking spaces regardless of parking configuration.

Council last year also approved an amendment that would allow the addition of secondary suites in duplexes, following changes in the BC Building Code.

Also approved last year was a planning department recommendation to remove the minimum 33-square-metre floor area requirement for a secondary suite as well as removing the maximum 90-square-metres for a suite.

Those changes also included amending the percentage distribution of a secondary suite within a single-detached dwelling.

Only one secondary suite is permitted by the BC Building Code in a single-detached dwelling. A duplex may have two suites, however only one suite is allowed per side and must be in the lower part of the duplex.

During a staff presentation on the proposed update for the Official Community Plan (OCP), it was noted one of the recommended action items for the city to undertake is lobbying the province to change the Building Code to allow more than one secondary suite per single-detached dwelling.

To learn more about the Home Suite Home program and the Ambassadors, visit Delta.ca/HomeSuiteHome.