Letter: District not obligated to legalize secondary suites

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Oak Bay’s official community plan does not direct the district to permit secondary suites.

The News published a letter to the editor on March 2 where the writer said that the Official Community Plan (OCP) directs the District to permit secondary suites.

This is a dangerous myth that needs to be debunked.

The relevant law is at pages 2, 158 and 159 of the OCP, and in sections 471 and 478 of the Local Government Act.

They confirm that the OCP is only a guide. It does not govern council’s decisions nor does it direct what the District or council must do.

The OCP does not commit the district to undertake any action stated in the OCP. The district is not required to carry out any action described in the OCP, nor is the district permitted to carry out that action simply because it is stated in the plan

In other words regardless of anything that the OCP says about legalizing secondary suites there is no legal or moral requirement that the district or council permit secondary suites.

Two surveys that the district conducted in 2016, one after the district held a residential infill strategy open house and the second, the residents’ satisfaction survey, showed that the majority of residents do not want suites in their neighborhood. In fact an almost insignificant minority thinks that allowing secondary suites is an important issue in this district.

In my view it would be unreasonable, unjust and unethical for our District to forge ahead with a plan to legalize suites, when the majority does not want them and there is nothing in law that compels our District to permit them.

Our district should be devoting its time and resources to far more important and pressing matters.

R. Tolen

Oak Bay

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