Secondary Suites

The Land Use Bylaw (LUB) is one of the primary regulatory tools available to the City of Airdrie. Land Use Bylaw B-01/2016 now allows the development of Secondary Suites in many Airdrie communities, as long as they are eligible and compliant with LUB requirements.

This page summarizes the requirements of the LUB and provides links to specific sections and additional resources.

In addition to the LUB, a Secondary Suite must meet requirements of the Alberta Building Code. A summary of some basic code requirements is available for reference here.

 

What is a Secondary Suite?

  • A Secondary Suite is a secondary dwelling unit located within and accessory to a single detached dwelling.
  • In order to be considered a Secondary Suite, there have to be five separate elements in place:

1. A separate entrance

2. Living facilities

3. Cooking facilities

4. Sleeping facilities

5. Sanitation facilities

 

Zoning and Land Use Regulations

  • Secondary Suites can be allowed in most residential land use districts and must be approved through a Development Permit Application.
  • Secondary Suites are a Discretionary Use under the LUB, which means a Development Authority may use discretion in deciding to approve or not approve a Development Permit if the application meets the purpose and intent of the land use district, the provisions of the LUB and is compatible with the surrounding area.
  • Secondary Suites can’t be developed on the same property as a Bed and Breakfast, Child Care Facility, Supportive Housing Facility, another suite , or a home business that interacts with clients at the property.
  • Specific regulations that apply to Secondary Suites are covered in Section 6.19.3 of the LUB, a few important requirements are worth noting here:
    • The Suite must be proposed within a Single Detached Dwelling (they are not allowed in a duplex, townhouse or other types of residential units).
    • The property (not the house) containing the suite must be at least 13.0m (approx. 42ft) wide and at least 400m² (approx. 4,300ft²) in area.
    • There must be two parking spaces provided for the main dwelling, plus one space per bedroom (up to a maximum of two) for the suite itself. All parking must be located on the property. On-street parking does not meet Bylaw requirements.
 

Variances

  • In situations where Bylaw standards can’t be met, the City is able to determine whether the standard can be relaxed (which is called a “variance”) to allow for a Secondary Suite application to be approved.
  • There are two important tests to determine if a variance can be granted:
    • Allowing the variance cannot allow the development of the Suite to negatively affect the amenities of the neighbourhood or neighbouring properties.
    • The variance must be something that is unique or specific to the property (i.e. why should the variance grant an exception to the rule?)
 

Development Permits and Approval Streams

  • A Development Permit is required for a Secondary Suite and typically takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete once a fully completed application has been submitted.
  • The Development Permit application for any Accessory Suite is $250. A variance requires a separate additional fee, but can be processed under the same application.
  • As long as there is no variance being considered, a Development Permit application for a Secondary Suite can be reviewed and approved by City of Airdrie staff. If there is a variance needed for the application – it has to be referred to the Municipal Planning Commission for approval.
  • After a Development Permit is approved, the City will issue a Notice of Decision. This notice will contain conditions of approval and other advisory comments to applicants.
  • After a Development Permit is approved, the City has to post a Notice of Approval and it is subject to a 21-day period where anyone who feels that they are affected by the approval has the right to file an appeal with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.
  • Once all conditions are resolved and the appeal period is over, a final permit is provided with an “issuance letter."
 
 

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