Results from Saanich’s public engagement campaign show 72 per cent of respondents favour legalization of garden suites. Saanich.ca

Results from Saanich’s public engagement campaign show 72 per cent of respondents favour legalization of garden suites. Saanich.ca

Saanich closes wallet for additional garden suite study

Study would have considered possible property tax implications of garden suites

Saanich won’t spend $50,000 on assessing the financial impacts of legalizing garden suites.

Council made that decision after hearing from staff, who had asked for the funding to assess the potential financial impacts.

Coun. Colin Plant said it is not likely that the results of such an assessment would stop Saanich’s legalization of garden suites.

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“We are very much committed to having garden suites,” he said. “It’s not a reflection of staff. Staff have brought forward a reasonable recommendation.” But the issue did not come up in any significant way during the consultation, said Plant, who urged staff to continue their research with the available funding. “I recognize it will not be as wholesome as a consultant’s report.”

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau agreed.

“I expect garden suites to have a very modest impact on our affordability problem, ” she said. She also said that any such study would be “highly speculative” beause it would have to rely on a lot of assumptions.

Saanich staff had asked council for the funding after consultation found some concerns among the public about the economics of garden suites.

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This study would have considered the positive and negative impacts of garden suites on property values, whether homeowners own a garden suite, or not.

Council made that decision after a staff report, showed 72 per cent of respondents strongly support legalizing garden suites in Saanich, which the municipality defines as “detached” houses located in the rear yards of single family lots, where they serve as an“accessory” to primary dwellings.

But the staff report with this figure also shows the public disagreeing over key aspects of any future legalization. Support for allowing garden suites in all single family dwelling zones is 52.4 per cent, while 35.5 per cent of respondents favoured acase-by-case approach.

The public heard Monday that staff plan to bring forward draft regulations in February 2019.

Cameron Scott, manager of community planning, said anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 properties in Saanich could be be eligible for garden suites, as Saanich is studying their suitability in all residential-zoned properties in the sewer service area.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com