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

Victoria police ticketed and impounded the vehicles of two drivers after they were caught speeding through a school zone. (Black Press Media file photo)
Two drivers caught doing nearly triple the speed limit in Victoria school zone

Almost $1,000 in fines, vehicle impounded for each motorist

The Skeena Queen, serving the Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route has been out of action since early Wednesday morning, forcing BC Ferries to cancel eight sailings connecting the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. It is not clear when service will resume. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
BC Ferries cancels sailings between Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island

With repairs to Skeena Queen underway, it is not clear when service will resume

Michael Arthor Leighton is wanted by the Saanich Police Department for assault. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers/Twitter)
Police seek man wanted for assault in Saanich, multiple charges in other jurisdictions

Michael Arthor Leighton is known to travel around the Island, Saanich police say

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast a ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Most Read