City plans to enforce secondary suite bylaw. Find out how at its Dec. 10 meeting

By David F. Rooney

If you’ve got a secondary suite in your basement and you want to scope out how the City is going to enforce its Secondary Suite Bylaw you should attend its public meeting on Dec. 10.

City Planner John Guenther said that’s when municipal officials will explain how they plan to enforce the existing bylaw.

The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10, from 11:30 am until 1 pm at the Community Centre.

This meeting follows on the heels of a Dec. 1 meeting where City Planner John Guenther told an audience of more than 50 people that if you want to build a secondary suite in your home you had better check the zoning.

Secondary suites, defined as in-house suites that have independent washing and cooking facilities, are not permitted in R1 residential areas. They also have to meet BC Building Code requirements for exiting and fire separations.

Carriage houses, also called carriage cottages, are secondary residential structures on a property. If they are detached from the main house they are not permitted in R1 areas.

Guenther made a point of telling participants at the meeting that if they want the Zoning Bylaw changed to permit secondary suites and/or carriage houses in R1 areas they should lobby Council for changes.

Bed and Breakfast and boarding house operations are permitted in residential areas because they are considered to be under the primary ownership and occupancy of one person or family. They must have common eating, washing and laundry facilities. They are permitted in residential areas.

As to how many secondary suites are in the City, Guenther said that, based upon his experience as a planner in North Vancouver, 10 per cent of the houses in the city may have them — no one really knows. Certainly not the City government. But it does want to know. Interestingly enough, none of the more than 50 people at the meeting volunteered that kind of information.

The City is planning another public meeting, this time to discuss enforcement of the existing Secondary Suites Bylaw. That meeting is planned for Dec. 10, between 11:30 am and 1 pm at the Community Centre.

If you want to read the existing Zoning Bylaw, official designated as Bylaw 1264, you can do so by going to and using the search function.