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Secondary suites bylaw nears the finish line in Oak Bay

Parking remains key issue as required bylaws head for potential adoption
Oak Bay council will consider third reading and adoption of the bylaw changes to allow secondary suites in the community. (Black Press Media file photo)

Minor tweaks could still come as the Oak Bay secondary suites bylaw is up for potential adoption.

The bylaw was scheduled to go before council Monday but that is being postponed to later in the week as the municipal offices will be closed that day for a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

Bylaws pertaining to amend zoning, driveway access, building and plumbing are all up for consideration of third reading and adoption as well as the parking and land use procedure and fees bylaws.

Tweaks are still possible in the areas of short-term rentals and parking requirements, based on public feedback and council questions during the two-hour public hearing Sept. 8.

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

To date council has approved the 10 guiding attributes: the secondary suites program address both new and existing secondary suites; secondary suites be incorporated into all one-family residential use zones; no minimum lot size; no maximum unit size; owner occupancy be a requirement; enforcement should be complaint-based; basic health and safety standards be met for existing suites based on alternate compliance methods and B.C. Building Code compliance required for new suites; a registration/tracking system be developed with the goal of collecting baseline information, promoting health and safety, education and phased-in compliance with the B.C. Building Code; boarding use only be permitted within the principal dwelling, the definition of family includes a caregiver providing services to the family, and a maximum cap of six unrelated persons be permitted within a principal building; and one additional off-street parking space be required, but that staff has authority to issue a development variance permit based on guidelines to promote active transportation, walkability, and other sustainability incentives.

All are reflected in the bylaws up for potential adoption including the parking regulation decided earlier this year after much debate, and wording surrounding short-term rentals added relatively last minute in the years-long project.

Wording added prohibits short-term rentals, specifically rented on a temporary basis for a period of fewer than 30 days.

Coun. Tara Ney asked if that could be altered to reflect the 90 days some municipalities use. As it’s a minor change, it could be amended ahead of third reading.

Parking arose several times, in the gallery and around the table. One speaker said the current plan to require an additional off-street parking space puts cars before housing.

Coun. Andrew Appleton, a proponent of not requiring parking, noted that as it is not in the land use section of the bylaw changes, alterations could be made ahead of third reading without negating the public hearing.

Following a public hearing council cannot receive information or discuss the issue until it appears for third reading and potential adoption.

Find the agenda and streaming directions, as well as a recording of the public hearing online at

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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