An example of a detached accessory suite property owners are looking to build in Esquimalt. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)

An example of a detached accessory suite property owners are looking to build in Esquimalt. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)

Esquimalt moves along path of legalizing detached suites

More than 1,400 properties could be eligible for backyard dwellings

Efforts to legalize detached suites on residential lots in Esquimalt are moving along, even if some residents might be a bit anxious over it.

The proposed bylaw to allow secondary dwellings on eligible properties got by first reading at council, but much work and consultation is yet to come, said Mayor Barb Desjardins.

“I would think it will be accomplished this year, which I know some people will be frustrated with,” she said. “But it’s really important that we do this methodically and keep moving it forward.”

Council and staff want to hear from a wide range of residents – the proposal will eventually go to public hearing – and understand the potential impacts.

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A staff report shows 1,098 eligible properties among single-family detached home zoned lots, and 370 on those zoned for duplexes with only one building constructed.

Some Esquimalt homeowners have chosen not to wait and have gone through the typical rezoning process to obtain permission to build a detached suite. If a new bylaw is passed, Desjardins said, it would streamline the process.

The process is being slowed by two things, the mayor said, township planners are extremely busy given the amount of ongoing development and applications coming in, and COVID-related protocols.

Regardless of the pace, she is pleased with the movement toward creating more affordable housing and new opportunities for residents to build nearby suites.

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“We have a number of larger lots, but in terms of zoning, they may not necessarily be areas where significant upzoning would occur,” Desjardins said, referring to multi-family developments. “But people were wanting to have an option, especially those that may not want a secondary suite within the home.”


 

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