Secondary & Backyard Suites

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Please be advised on September 1, 2020, Halifax Regional Council approved the proposed amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and all land use By-laws, with the exception of the Regional Centre Land Use By-law (Package A), to allow secondary suites and backyard suites accessory to single unit, two-unit or townhouse dwellings. Once the amendments receive ministerial approval, a notice of approval will be placed in the Chronicle Herald and the changes will be considered in effect.

Interested in developing a secondary or backyard suite? Please visit halifax.ca or call 311 for more information regarding applying for a construction permit.


WHAT ARE SECONDARY AND BACKYARD SUITES?

Secondary suites - are separate dwelling units that are completely contained within a home. They are often referred to as in-law suites or basement apartments.
Backyard suites, are separate free-standing buildings, either built overtop an accessory structure like a garage, or simply on their own. They are often referred to as granny suites, carriage flats and could be in the form of a tiny house.

Secondary and Backyard suites can be used by aging parents or adult children or can be used as rental units for the general public. The diagram below shows typical arrangements on a residential property.


(Image used with the permission of the City of Calgary)

___________________________________________________________________________________

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES FOR SECONDARY AND BACKYARD SUITES?

The new rules mean you or your neighbour can get permission to install a secondary or backyard suite by simply obtaining a permit.

The following table outlines the new rules for secondary and backyard suites:


SECONDARY SUITES
BACKYARD SUITES
Maximum Floor Area
80m2
90m2 * or the maximum size permitted for an accessory building (garage); whichever is smaller
Parking Required
No
No
Size, Setbacks, Height
The same zoning requirements as for main dwellings
The same zoning requirements as for accessory buildings (garages)

* In the Halifax Peninsula and Downtown Dartmouth areas the maximum floor area is 90 m2 but the maximum building footprint is 60m2.


WHERE DO THE NEW RULES APPLY?
The new rules will apply mostly everywhere in the Halifax Regional Municipality here single-detached houses, duplexes or semi-detached houses, and townhouses/rowhouses are allowed.


BACKGROUND

On March 27, 2018 Regional Council initiated a process to consider amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and all applicable community municipal planning strategies/land-use by-laws to simplify the development of secondary and backyard suites. See the staff report.

Since then staff completed consultation through an on-line survey, one on one meetings and through feedback received from the Centre Plan.

On January 28, 2020 a staff report recommending amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and municipal land use by-laws to permit secondary suites accessory to single unit dwellings, two unit dwellings and townhouse dwellings and backyard suites accessory to single unit dwellings was presented to Regional Council. Regional Council deferred the first reading to enable staff to prepare a supplementary report that would also consider backyard suites accessory to two unit dwellings and townhouse dwellings.

On July 7, 2020 staff returned to Council with a supplementary report. Regional Council approved First Reading on July 7 and a public hearing was scheduled for September 1, 2020. On September 1, 2020 Regional Council approved the proposed amendments.

Allowing secondary and backyard suites more broadly is intended to support the creation of complete communities as well as meet affordable housing targets for Halifax that were adopted under the Housing and Homelessness Partnership.


Please be advised on September 1, 2020, Halifax Regional Council approved the proposed amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and all land use By-laws, with the exception of the Regional Centre Land Use By-law (Package A), to allow secondary suites and backyard suites accessory to single unit, two-unit or townhouse dwellings. Once the amendments receive ministerial approval, a notice of approval will be placed in the Chronicle Herald and the changes will be considered in effect.

Interested in developing a secondary or backyard suite? Please visit halifax.ca or call 311 for more information regarding applying for a construction permit.


WHAT ARE SECONDARY AND BACKYARD SUITES?

Secondary suites - are separate dwelling units that are completely contained within a home. They are often referred to as in-law suites or basement apartments.
Backyard suites, are separate free-standing buildings, either built overtop an accessory structure like a garage, or simply on their own. They are often referred to as granny suites, carriage flats and could be in the form of a tiny house.

Secondary and Backyard suites can be used by aging parents or adult children or can be used as rental units for the general public. The diagram below shows typical arrangements on a residential property.


(Image used with the permission of the City of Calgary)

___________________________________________________________________________________

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES FOR SECONDARY AND BACKYARD SUITES?

The new rules mean you or your neighbour can get permission to install a secondary or backyard suite by simply obtaining a permit.

The following table outlines the new rules for secondary and backyard suites:


SECONDARY SUITES
BACKYARD SUITES
Maximum Floor Area
80m2
90m2 * or the maximum size permitted for an accessory building (garage); whichever is smaller
Parking Required
No
No
Size, Setbacks, Height
The same zoning requirements as for main dwellings
The same zoning requirements as for accessory buildings (garages)

* In the Halifax Peninsula and Downtown Dartmouth areas the maximum floor area is 90 m2 but the maximum building footprint is 60m2.


WHERE DO THE NEW RULES APPLY?
The new rules will apply mostly everywhere in the Halifax Regional Municipality here single-detached houses, duplexes or semi-detached houses, and townhouses/rowhouses are allowed.


BACKGROUND

On March 27, 2018 Regional Council initiated a process to consider amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and all applicable community municipal planning strategies/land-use by-laws to simplify the development of secondary and backyard suites. See the staff report.

Since then staff completed consultation through an on-line survey, one on one meetings and through feedback received from the Centre Plan.

On January 28, 2020 a staff report recommending amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and municipal land use by-laws to permit secondary suites accessory to single unit dwellings, two unit dwellings and townhouse dwellings and backyard suites accessory to single unit dwellings was presented to Regional Council. Regional Council deferred the first reading to enable staff to prepare a supplementary report that would also consider backyard suites accessory to two unit dwellings and townhouse dwellings.

On July 7, 2020 staff returned to Council with a supplementary report. Regional Council approved First Reading on July 7 and a public hearing was scheduled for September 1, 2020. On September 1, 2020 Regional Council approved the proposed amendments.

Allowing secondary and backyard suites more broadly is intended to support the creation of complete communities as well as meet affordable housing targets for Halifax that were adopted under the Housing and Homelessness Partnership.