Cranbrook City Council approved a zoning amendment Monday that would permit secondary suites on thirteen lots on a parcel of land west of 30th Avenue North, in hopes of bolstering Cranbrook's vacancy rate.
A subject of discussion at a public hearing on the matter, nearby residents came out to voice their opposition to the development and zoning change.
Most residents expressed concern of on-street parking, additional traffic on 30th Avenue but also the fact that the same developer had brought a zoning amendment before Cranbrook City Council two years prior for the same parcel of land. That proposal was dismissed by council, as the developer was looking to change the zoning from single family residential to multi-family use.
"They had some concerns but it wasn't like it was when it was multi-family use," said Wes Graham, Cranbrook City Councillor. "Myself, and I know other councillors, we weighed the pros and cons of this, looking at how it can meet a need, how it can help sell a property, and begin to fill some of the vacancy voids in the community in a sustainable manner and that's what led us to our decision."
Not overly concerned about the increased traffic or potential fire risk after consulting with Fire Chief Wayne Price, Cranbrook City Council unanimously approved the zoning change which officially moves the parcel from R1 Single Family Extended Residential Zone to CD-8 Single Family Residential - Secondary Suite.
"Us moving forward on this opens up, I think, a new window for developers when they're looking at building houses and it helps creates infill," added Graham. "We do have some vacant lands inside the community that we would like to see some action on and if this is ways that we can get action - perfect - and it can help deal with our rental vacancies - perfect - so for us, it's progress."
The developer told Cranbrook City Council Monday at the Public Hearing that although the zoning is changing to allow for secondary suites, the prospective homeowner doesn't have to rent out the rest of the home if they don't want.
Providing options for the homeowner, and feeling satisfied with the planning and safety of the future development, Graham says the additional lots are just one more step Council is taking to help increase the vacancy rate and attract more business owner, professionals, and young families to the community.
"1.2%, 1.3%, it's right there so there's definitely a shortage and we see it all the time and this could be a way to help legally fill the void. We're seeing illegal suites all over town and they're illegal, so we're hoping that approving some of these will begin to not sustain those illegal suites."
(Maps and Documents Courtesy: City of Cranbrook)
- Bradley Jones
Audio: Wes Graham, Cranbrook City Councillor