City council gave third and final reading to Bylaw 1875-2012 on May 7 and passed it, after it had been tabled at an April 23 meeting of council.
The bylaw is to amend Thompson Zoning Bylaw 1120-83, which will allow for secondary suites in “R1” single-family dwelling and “R2” two-family dwelling zones.
Included are the stipulations that not more than one secondary suite shall be allowed within a principal dwelling, and not more than one secondary suite shall be allowed on a single dwelling site.
The principal dwelling must exist as an existing single-family dwelling, and the maximum permitted gross floor area of the secondary suite shall not exceed 40 per cent of the total gross floor area of the principal dwelling or accessory building.
City manager Gary Ceppetelli discussed the process that lead up to the decision at a Thompson Chamber of Commerce meeting on May 2.
“The legal process was started back in March when first reading was given,” said Ceppetelli, “as part of the process, the Province of Manitoba had issued guidelines for secondary suites as a document, so in conjunction with the local community regional planning office of the Province of Manitoba, we’ve developed the definitions and requirements for secondary suites.”
In the past the City of Thompson has seen some population booms and basement suites had been used as a means to deal with it. These suites however, were likely non-conforming to any guidelines.
“This (bylaw) ensures that if somebody comes to apply for an application for a secondary suite, there’s a process that they have to go through,” said Ceppetelli, “they would have to submit a site plan to our building inspections department and apply for a development permit and a building permit.”
The secondary suites must meet Manitoba building codes as well as fire codes. The suites require their own separate entrance, as well as sleeping, and sanitary and cooking facilities.
Home owners who take on secondary suites are required to abide by Manitoba rent control legislation, but only in the case that they apply for funding through Manitoba Housing, otherwise, in the first year, home owners are free to set their rent at what they feel is reasonable.
Mayor Johnston commended council for putting the bylaw through, following the May 7 regular meeting of council.
“I’m very pleased that council has moved forward with third reading and given approval to the secondary suites bylaw,” said Johnston, “this is one of the tools we need when looking into addressing the housing shortage. I don’t believe it’s the be all end all or the final solution, but it’s one of the things we can encourage the community to do to bring on more housing units.”