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Active transportation support negates parking in Oak Bay’s developing suite policy

District is on track to implement suites policy by September
Among the discussions on the impending secondary suite policy for Oak Bay includes potential parking requirements on street and off. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

An additional off-street parking space remains a requirement in the impending secondary suites policy under construction in Oak Bay. However, homeowners seeking a suite can stave off that space, by supporting active transportation.

Staff sought final fine-tuning and guidance from council June 13 as it creates policy required to legalize suites in the community.

They were looking for more clarification to hone the policy on parking, boarding use and general regulation.

RELATED: Off-street parking added to impending secondary suite policy for Oak Bay

The parking conversation remained the most contentious, with council coming to a 4-2 decision to require an off-street spot, but staff could issue a development variance permit based on guidelines to promote active transportation.

It motivates people to put in infrastructure, said Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

“You just prove that you’re supporting active transportation at your residence and you don’t have to put in parking,” he said, noting that could be as simple as offering secure parking for bikes or ebikes.

Couns. Andrew Appleton and Cairine Green continued to oppose the requirement for off-street parking.

RELATED: Oak Bay whittles down the how of impending secondary suites policy

Green noted she would not support any option other than zero requirement for off-street parking as it provides a barrier to housing.

“If you incentivize parking you get driving,” Appleton said, noting Oak Bay is a compact, walkable community with transit readily available.

Other direction includes amending the definition of family to include a caregiver; that boarding be allowed only in the primary residence; and a maximum of six unrelated residents can live in a principal building.

Council also tasked staff with providing wording that makes it clear secondary suites cannot be used for short-term rentals.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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