Secondary suite settlement nears finish line in Oak Bay

Minor changes could still be made as the Oak Bay Secondary Suites Bylaw is likely to pass.

The settlement was due to be presented to council on Monday, but is postponed until later in the week as council offices will be closed that day for a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

The rezoning, driveway access, building and plumbing by-laws are all ready for third reading and passage, along with the parking and land use procedure and fees by-laws.

Adjustments are still possible in the areas of short-term rentals and parking requirements, based on public comments and questions from council during the September 8 two-hour public hearing.

To date, the Board has approved the 10 guiding attributes: the secondary suite program caters to both new and existing secondary suites; secondary suites are incorporated into all areas of single family residential use; no minimum lot size; no maximum unit size; owner occupancy is a requirement; enforcement should be complaints-based; basic health and safety standards must be met for existing homes based on alternate methods of compliance and BC building code compliance required for new homes; that a registration/tracking system be developed for the purposes of collecting baseline information, promoting health and safety, education and progressive compliance with the BC Building Code; use of the boarding facility is only permitted in the main accommodation, the definition of family includes a carer providing services to the family, and a maximum cap of six unrelated persons is permitted in a main building; and that an additional off-street parking space is required, but that staff have the authority to issue a development variance permit based on guidelines to promote active transportation, walking and other sustainability incentives .

All are reflected in the bylaws for potential adoption, including the parking bylaw decided earlier this year after much debate, and language around short-term rentals added relatively last minute in the draft that lasts for years.

Added language prohibits short-term rentals, especially temporary rentals for a period of less than 30 days.

Com. Tara Ney asked if this could be changed to reflect the 90 days some municipalities use. As this is a minor change, it could be amended before third reading.

The parking lot popped up several times, in the gallery and around the table. One commenter said the current plan to require additional off-street parking puts cars ahead of homes.

Com. Andrew Appleton, a supporter of not requiring parking, noted that since this is not in the land use section of the bylaw amendments, changes could be made before third reading without canceling the public hearing.

Following a public hearing, council cannot receive information or discuss the matter until it has been presented for third reading and eventually passed.

Find the agenda and broadcast instructions, as well as a recording of the public hearing online at

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