A Williams Lake resident is applauding the recent adoption of a bylaw that will pave the way forward for him to build a small home for his mother on his city property.
Kevin Friesen said he reached out to the city in March 2022 asking if he could build a 986 square foot home for his mom Inez Friesen.
“I have an older house that was built in 1966 but I have a big lot,” he told the Tribune. “I was the first person that was serious about doing this with the city and they have been very accommodating.”
Last week city council unanimously adopted a bylaw to allow for the regulation and streamlining of the permitting process for the construction and use of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within city limits.
The bylaw describes an ADU as a small, standalone house located on an existing lot with the main house. It can have one or two storeys and can be above a detached garage.
They must meet the zoning regulations and building code, and they must receive a building permit before construction.
“It’s been a learning curve for me and the city, but it’s been slow and steady,” Friesen said.
Once the city issues him a permit, Friesen will be hiring someone to build the accessory dwelling who has been a carpenter for more than 30 years.
Friesen, however, will be the general contractor. Something he can be after taking a course through the BC Housing Licensing and Consumer Services department for property owners wishing to become authorized owner builders.
BC Housing’s senior communications advisor said the the courses are intended to prepare an individual to take the owner builder exam, which tests the person’s knowledge and understanding of home-building basics in two competency areas: construction basics and statutory obligations and requirements that owner builders must meet under the Homeowner Protection Act.
More information on how property owners can become authorized owner builders can be found on the BC Housing website.
On April 18, members of the public had the opportunity to provide feedback on ADUs.
Concerns about parking and congestion were raised.
Responding Mayor Surinderpal Rathor said he agreed with the concerns that parking and snow clearing will be an issue.
“I am sure if we work together we can address those challenges, “Rathor said. “We will learn as we go. All of us recognize the shortage of houses in our community.”
The mayor said his son was one of the first residents to build a coach house in Langley in 2005.
Before adopting the bylaw, the city received approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure dated April 21, 2023.