Greenwood city council is considering a change to a zoning bylaw that could spur the city’s rental market.
If approved, the proposed amendment would legalize secondary suites and the building of so-called “carriage homes” in family homes across much of the city.
The proposal was discussed at a public hearing on Thursday, July 8. In a separate development, a July 7 report by the Kootenay Association of Realtors shows year-to-date real estate sales are up over 56 per cent across the West Kootenays, including Greenwood.
The proposed amendment would allow homeowners to build a carriage home with between 11 and 90 square metres of floor space, provided that the home would be “considered to be in secondary use to a main house (on their lot),” Mayor Barry Noll explained at the hearing.
As a further condition, homeowners can rent either a carriage home or a secondary suite. But as Chief Administrative Officer Marcus Lebler explained, “You can’t have a carriage home and a secondary suite. It’s one or the other.”
After a carriage home goes up, a residential lot couldn’t be subdivided to create two lots with separate residences, Lebler explained in an email to the Times. However, a city clerk noted that it is technically possible to sell a carriage home apart from its main residence.
The clerk had dealt with “a few” such cases during their professional experience in Alberta. “It was a complete mess every time,” they said, noting that sold carriage homes came “sans land.”
In practice, Lebler said the amendment would reflect the reality that many Greenwood homeowners are probably already renting secondary suites.
Council gave the bylaw amendment a second and third reading at its regular meeting Monday, July 12. It will likely come to a vote at a specially convened meeting later this summer, Lebler said.