What is a Development Permit?
A Development Permit is a type of permit which allows the use of a site for construction that ensures planning and development rules in the Land Use Bylaw are followed. Normally, a Development Permit is required whether the proposed secondary suite is a permitted or discretionary use (see below) as per the Land Use Bylaw. However, once the exemption takes effect, permitted use secondary suites will not require a Development Permit so long as no relaxations are required.
What does the Development Permit exemption program mean for homeowners wanting to build a secondary suite?
Starting September 1, 2015, if your proposed suite is a permitted use and meets all the Land Use Bylaw rules, you do not need to apply for a Development Permit. This will make it less expensive, faster and easier to obtain approval from The City for a safe and legal secondary suite, as you will be able to proceed directly to the Building Permit stage.
What is the difference between a permitted use and a discretionary use?
Suites are listed as a discretionary use in Land Use Districts such as R-1N and R-C1N, which means that unlike a permitted use, community associations and neighbours are notified of the proposed suite and are given the opportunity to provide input (and appeal a decision) during the approval process.
Backyard suites are always a discretionary use since they result in a visible change to the property.
Where a suite is a permitted use, the Development Permit exemption will allow you to proceed directly to the Building Permit stage, as long as your application does not require any relaxations from the Land Use Bylaw rules.
What's the fastest way to determine if my property is eligible?
1. Contact our Planning Services Call Centre for assistance:
Monday through Friday (closed holidays)
8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
We can look up your address, and help you determine if you're a candidate for the Development Permit exemption before you apply.
2. You can enter your address on our Secondary Suite page. After entering your address, if the results in step one are to obtain a:
• Development Permit: your property is eligible for a suite. You must now meet all remaining requirements (dimensions, parking, etc) to be eligible for the Development Permit exemption.
• Land Use Redesignation: you'll need to apply and obtain approval from City Council to change your land use before you can apply for a secondary suite. Learn more
How much time and money might the Development Permit exemption program save homeowners developing a secondary suite?
It is estimated applicants will save about a month in the permit application process and an estimated $2,200 in expenses from permit fees and drawings.
How long will the Development Permit exemption pilot program last?
This pilot program is expected to last 18 months - until March 3, 2017.