Oak Bay council will shortly consider action to regulate secondary suites. The Oak Bay Official Community Plan directs that Oak Bay permit secondary suites and develop a regulatory framework to achieve that objective. Briefly, an OCP is a statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management, and after adoption of an OCP all bylaws enacted and works undertaken by the local government must be consistent with the OCP, unless amended. (Local Government Act of BC (sections 471-478). Oak Bay council adopted this OCP in September 2014 after extensive analysis and pubic engagement.
With respect to secondary suites, the OCP directs the following (Housing Policy H10 on Page 79 of the OCP, online at the municipal website): Develop a policy and regulatory framework to permit secondary suites as a way of providing affordable housing in the community, pursuant to section 877 (2) of the Local Government Act, subject to the requirements of the BC Building Code, recognizing that this will be a process requiring time and community engagement.
Undertake the following tasks: Work with the community to identify criteria for the regulation of secondary suites in Oak Bay; Conduct an analysis to identify revenues, costs, and resources required to regulate secondary suites; Consider a pilot study of secondary suite regulation in a defined area; Amend the Zoning Bylaw to permit new homes to include secondary suites, where applicable, once secondary suites are regulated.
Opponents of secondary suites seem to want to use these tasks to revisit whether secondary suites should be permitted in Oak Bay.
However, the OCP is clear that Oak Bay should permit secondary suites and develop a regulatory framework developed to achieve that objective. Council and the community need to get on with this work.