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Ward 4 - Sean Chu

Secondary suite reform - Common questions and answers


My office has been receiving a number of emails regarding secondary suite reform in Calgary, and what this means to them if they decide to create one, below is a set of common questions and answers, if you have more questions you can reach out to my office or read more about it online​.

What do the proposed changes mean for homeowners?

Under current rules, homeowners in some parts of the city can get a development permit and/or building permit through the City to build their suite. In other parts of the city, where the land use (zoning) does not yet permit secondary suites, homeowners have to ask Council for permission (a change to the land use) in order to proceed with a development permit and/or building permit. If Council approves the land use change, then the next step is obtaining the proper building permits (sometimes you need a development permit before the building permit).

If the proposed bylaw changes are approved, the rules will be consistent across the City and Council approval is no longer required because all homeowners will have the ability to develop a suite (there will no longer be a need for a land use redesignation). Moving forward a homeowner would go straight to the development permit or building permit stage.

When will Council review the new rules?

We are targeting a Council Public Hearing date of March 12.

What happens if a homeowner has a current application in to develop a secondary suite?

In advance of the report back in 2018 March, one Motion Arising directed Administration to "consider holding new applications and not schedule any land use redesignation applications for secondary suites, for consideration by Council, until the 2018 March Public Hearing" and this requires immediate action.

If a homeowner currently has an application in progress that already has approved land use, then the application will continue to be processed normally.

At the 2017 December 14 meeting of the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC), 11 applications to accommodate secondary suites will be directed to the 2018 March 12 Public Hearing of Council. Applications heard on or after the 2018 January 11 CPC meeting will also be heard at the 2018 March 12 or later Public Hearing of Council. Depending on the outcome of the 2018 March report, there may no longer be a requirement for a Public Hearing of Council for secondary suites.

Secondary suite applications that were heard at CPC on November 2 and November 16 (20 applications in total) are scheduled to go to the 2018 January 22 Public Hearing of Council, and the applications heard at the November 30 CPC (8 in total) are scheduled to go to the 2018 February 20 Public Hearing of Council. These applications will continue to be advertised and placed on the Council agenda for both January and February for Council deliberation.

What should homeowners do if they want to start a secondary suite application before March 12?

New applications received after Monday December 18 will be processed to the furthest possible extent, but ultimately will then be held until council deliberates the proposed new rules in March 2018.

What new fee will be charged as part of these process changes?

The City will be reinstating a fee for applications for secondary suites. Details on this fee will be brought forward with the report in March 2018.

How can affected stakeholders get more information or give feedback on this process?

Information on the Secondary Suites Process Reform can be found at

Further information on timelines and proposed changes will be posted there as the work progresses.​

Categories: Secondary Suites