City to revisit secondary suite rules in 2016

The rules for legal secondary suites in Port Alberni may change to allow off-site owners, following a recent city council decision.

The rules for legal secondary suites in Port Alberni may change to allow off-site owners, following a recent city council decision.

City council directed planner Scott Smith to look into changing the zoning bylaw that currently requires homes with  secondary suites to have their owner living on-site.

The move was sparked by a letter from local real estate investment company owner Gary Spencer-Smith.

“I am suggesting that we… change [the rules] to ‘a home with a secondary suite must be managed by the owner who lives locally or by a reputable local property manager who is registered with the city,” wrote Spencer-Smith in his Nov. 23 letter to council.

Spencer-Smith said that he had “access to a large amount of private capital and they are looking to put their money into real estate”—including here in Port Alberni.

He added that currently, secondary suites managed by off-site managers still exists—they’re just currently not legally registered.

Spencer-Smith said he currently had $2 million invested in local real estate and that number could increase to $5 million.

The city planner was also directed to look at provisions for tiny homes due to inquiries received by Coun. Chris Alemany.

Smith said that while laneway and carriage housing bylaw amendments were considered at the last revision of the zoning bylaw in 2014, the prior council chose not to pursue it further.

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