The city of Williams Lake is eyeing bylaw changes to encourage residential density within city limits. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams LakeTribune)

The city of Williams Lake is eyeing bylaw changes to encourage residential density within city limits. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams LakeTribune)

City of Williams Lake eyes housing incentives, including carriage homes

Staff is working on potential bylaw changes to encourage residential density

Following in the footsteps of Quesnel, the city of Williams Lake is eyeing housing incentives to encourage carriage homes, secondary suites, garden suites and lane-way homes.

City staff have been working on potential bylaw changes to accommodate the incentives and during the regular council meeting Tuesday, June 21, city council received a report prepared by planning analyst Jessica Ball.

“With a carriage home somebody could move out of their four-bedroom home into a one-bedroom carriage home and maybe their grandchildren could live in the four bedroom,” Ball said as an example of “mortgage helpers” or “aging in place,” types of housing.

She told the Tribune she hopes staff will have the completed report done in about two months to present to council.

Currently the city allows secondary suites and a ‘cheat sheet’has been posted on the city’s website so that people can get them legalized or if they want to build a new one they will have an idea of what is required.

Ball said the real estate industry is advertising “a lot” of secondary suites as ‘legalized’ that are not legalized.

“That is why we are trying to come up with incentives and encourage anyone with a secondary suite to come and get a building permit then we can ensure it is legalized. We are just looking that there is a smoke detector, that the bedroom has a window for a means of egress – it’s small details ensuring life and safety.”

Aside from carriage homes, the city will explore zoning of specific properties to increase density, options to address climate change-related building and investigating parking considerations in the downtown core to encourage more residential and commercial development.

Quesnel is currently waiving building permit fees for a set time to incentivize the legalization of secondary suites and encourage the building of accessory dwelling units, Ball noted in her report.

Since 2018, secondary suites and carriage houses have been permitted in most residential zones and all rural zones in the Cariboo Regional District.

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