Garden suites inch toward official policy in Victoria

Suites in Victoria could be allowed after consultation

 

With one garden suite approved and one rejected over the past year, Victoria city council is satisfied that its draft policy is on the right track.

Feedback has been generally positive, said senior city planner Kevin King. Only three of 62 people providing feedback at a well-attended open house opposed the policy.

A garden suite, sometimes known as a granny suite, is a detached rental unit located in the yard of a single family dwelling.

Council, however, expressed concerns with any changes to the policy that would make the suites more desirable to build.

Without a proven track record, council argued against offering building incentives, such as the $5,000 grant available for secondary suites.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to densify your property at very modest cost,” said Coun. Pamela Madoff, adding that’s incentive enough.

Garden suites present a potential conflict with neighbours’ gardens, she added.

If a garden suite is approved to the south of your yard, “and you grow your peas there, you won’t be growing them there any more because now you have (this suite) blocking your sun,” said Coun. Geoff Young.

“There’s no question that these things can fill a role,” said Young. “They represent a good way to achieve density.”

But, he warned, the city is several years away from subsidizing them or incorporating them into zoning.

Right now, garden suites require a rezoning, which allows council to evaluate the appropriateness of each application on a case-by-case basis.

Last week, city council endorsed adopted the garden suite policy as official policy, subject to a public hearing.

rholmen@vicnews.com