Live in one house while building another on same property up for debate

Zoning bylaw may be changed to accommodate home builders who own large properties

The city may be changing its zoning bylaw to accommodate home builders who own large properties.

Council, at its Oct. 21 meeting, approved a public hearing to address an amendment that would allow multiple living quarters on the same property during construction.

Coun. Claire Moglove, chair of the Advisory Planning and Environment Commission, said a potential change has been  triggered by requests from the public.

“Prompted by two recent and similar enquiries, staff has identified a small demand for provisions to allow habitation of an existing dwelling while a new dwelling is being constructed,” Moglove said in a report to council on behalf of the commission.

“While most lots within the urban area are not of sufficient size such that a replacement dwelling can be built in a different location from the existing one, there are still a number of larger lots where this is possible.”

Moglove said in cases where the property is large enough, property owners are finding they can’t legally stay in their original home while a second is being built because it’s restricted by a city bylaw.

“It is sometimes a highly practical solution for the owner to continue to inhabit an existing dwelling while a replacement is being constructed,” Moglove said. “However, the zoning bylaw does not allow for the maximum number of dwellings on a lot to be exceeded, even for a temporary period of time.”

If the amendment ends up being approved, property owners will be allowed ongoing occupancy of an existing home while another is being built, subject to a security to the city of $10,000 for a manufactured home being demolished and $15,000 in all other cases.

The property must also have an area of 2,000 square metres or greater if the lot is zoned for just one property.

The Advisory Planning and Environment Commissions has also asked the city to take into consideration the issue of fire safety, in terms of separation between the two homes, and that a longer time period for compliance be allowed.

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