Secondary Suites Study

The District of Oak Bay initiated a Secondary Suites Study in 2018, and concluded the study in the fall of 2021. The Secondary Suites Study supports Council's 2019-2023 Strategic Priority to Ensure Access to Diverse Housing Options Within the Built Environment. The District's Official Community Plan (OCP) policies support the inclusion of secondary suites as an affordable housing option for the community and provide direction to review the implementation of secondary suites in Oak Bay.  

The Secondary Suites Study involved five phases of analysis including a variety of public engagement opportunities. The study resulted in the Secondary Suites Study - Final Strategy document dated September 2021. This Final Strategy includes information on a series of items for regulatory and program considerations for both new and/or existing secondary suites, including: zoning, parking, licensing, BC Building Code (BCBC), infrastructure and servicing, and staff resourcing. You can find more background information on the Secondary Suites Study consultation process and Final Strategy findings included in the November 16, 2021 staff report.  

District Council has endorsed the following ten Guiding Attributes to form the foundation of a Secondary Suites Program in Oak Bay:  

  1. That the Secondary Suites Program address both new and existing secondary suites in Oak Bay;  
  2. That secondary suites be incorporated into all RS (One-Family Residential Use) zones in Oak Bay;  
  3. That no minimum lot size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay; 
  4. That no maximum unit size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay;  
  5. That owner occupancy be a requirement to have a secondary suite within a single-family dwelling in Oak Bay;  
  6. That enforcement of secondary suites should be through a complaint-based program in Oak Bay;  
  7. That basic health and safety standards should be met for existing suites based on Alternate Compliance Methods (Division A), and full BC Building Code compliance should be required for new suites in Oak Bay (Division B); 
  8. That a secondary suites registration/tracking system be developed with the goal of collecting baseline information, promoting health and safety, educating existing suite owners, and phased-in compliance with the BC Building Code (Division A);
  9. That boarding use only be permitted within the principal dwelling unit and not in a secondary suite, and that the definition of “family” in the Zoning Bylaw be amended to include a caregiver providing services to the family, and that a maximum cap of six (6) unrelated persons be permitted within a principal building for RS Zones; and
  10. That one additional off-street parking space be required for secondary suites, but that staff be delegated authority to issue a Development Variance Permit (DVP) based on guidelines to promote active transportation, walkability, and other sustainability incentives.

These ten attributes are premised on the approach that regulations for secondary suites in Oak Bay: 

  • should be flexible and attainable; 
  • should encourage more affordable housing options in Oak Bay; 
  • should provide oversight and accountability; 
  • should be respectful of neighbours while maintaining community character; and 
  • should prioritize health and safety for homeowners and tenants 

Timeline and Next Steps

With general policy direction provided by Council, bylaw amendments have been prepared for consideration. The bylaws requiring amendment include the following:

  • Building and Plumbing Bylaw No. 4247, 2005
  • Driveway Access Bylaw, No. 3550, 1987
  • Land Use Procedures and Fees Bylaw No 4653, 2015
  • Parking Facilities Bylaw No. 3540, 1986
  • Zoning Bylaw, No. 3531, 1986

The following timelines are tentatively proposed for bylaw review and consideration:

  • July 18, 2022 – Council’s initial consideration of bylaw amendments(External link)
  • August 2022 – Staff refine operational/cost considerations
  • September 8, 2022 – Public hearing for Zoning Amendment Bylaw
  • September 19, 2022 – Final consideration of all proposed bylaw amendments
  • Fall/Winter 2022 – Website update, information packages developed, resources and staff changes further explored
  • Early 2023 – Full program implementation

Current and future public engagement opportunities will be found on https://connect.oakbay.ca/

Get direct updates about upcoming Council meeting through our subscription feature found here: https://oakbay.civicweb.net/Portal/Subscribe.aspx 

Reports and Related Documents

October 18, 2021

July 2021

July 19, 2021

January 11, 2021

December 2020

November 16, 2020

May 21, 2019

May 2019

April 25, 2019

July 9, 2018

Council Decisions

Meeting Type

Meeting

Meeting Item Description

Resolution Text

Disposition

Council Meeting

March 12, 2018

Secondary Suite Implementation in Oak Bay

That staff be directed to prepare a report that outlines a project work plan, including timelines, next steps, and lead staff, with the stated goals of creating a public engagement plan to develop and implement policy, regulations, and bylaws for secondary suites in Oak Bay

CARRIED

Council Meeting

July 9, 2018

Secondary Suites

That Council approve the Terms of Reference and direct staff to initiate the secondary suites process.

CARRIED

Council Meeting

September 17, 2018

Secondary Suites Policy and Regulation - Request for Proposal Award - RFP No. OBMH-08-2018

That the contract for the Secondary Suites project be awarded to Urban Systems based on the Urban systems request for proposals submission in the amount of $59,500.00.

CARRIED

Council Meeting

February 25, 2019

Secondary Suites & Infill Housing

That Council authorize early approval of funds up to $50,000 for staff to commence work on the Housing Needs Report

CARRIED

Council Meeting

March 11, 2019

Secondary Suites & Infill Housing

That staff be directed to bring options to Council on how to optimize the secondary suites and infill housing processes.

CARRIED

Council Meeting

May 6, 2019

Secondary Suites

That the memorandum by the Director of Building and Planning dated May 6, 2019 be received for information.

CARRIED

Council Meeting

May 13, 2019

Secondary Suites

That the approvals process identified in the Terms of Reference for the Secondary Suites Study commence after Council direction is provided by resolution

CARRIED

Council Meeting

May 13, 2019

Secondary Suites

That any approvals process approved by Council for the Secondary Suites Study commence following completion of the Housing Needs Report

CARRIED

 

July 20, 2020

Q2 Reports Approval of Initiation

THAT Council confirm that the following Council Priority projects, previously identified on April 23, 2020 as requiring Council confirmation prior to proceeding, be approved for initiation as soon as practical:

1-3) Prepare and implement an HR Plan (talent management, health & safety, performance management, compensation & benefits and HR systems);
1-10) Negotiate Marina Lease (2023 +30 years);
1-11) Undertake deer management research project;
1-15) Improve the District's Records and Information Management Program;
4-16) Prepare Fire Master Plan;
5-5) Prepare an Emergency Evacuation Plan (funded by grants);
6-2) Complete a Secondary Suite Study;
6-3) Identify infill housing opportunities and specific housing needs for neighbourhoods;
6- 4) Prepare Village Area Plan(s) for the Oak Bay Village/Cadboro Bay Road corridor and for the Secondary Village areas;
6-14) Complete sea level rise study;
7-10) Prepare Sewer Master Plan;
7-13) Prepare EV Station Options Analysis; 7-14) CCTV sanitary and storm sewer;
7-15) Assess pavement condition; and
8-5) Implement the Urban Forest Strategy

CARRIED

Council Meeting

January 11, 2021

Secondary Suites Study - Draft Strategy by Urban Systems

THAT the staff report on the Secondary Suites Study - Draft Strategy, authored by the Manager of Planning and dated January 11, 2021 be received for information; AND, THAT the District of Oak Bay Secondary Suites Study - Draft Strategy, prepared by Urban Systems, be received for information.

CARRIED

Special Council Meeting

July 19, 2021

Secondary Suites Study - Community Survey/Draft Strategy Presentation by Urban Systems

THAT the report entitled, "Secondary Suites Study – Community Survey/Draft Strategy Presentation by Urban Systems," authored by Bruce Anderson, Director of Building and Planning, dated July 19, 2021, be received for information;

AND THAT the presentation and Community Survey Summary (June 2021) report by Dan Huang, Urban Systems, be received for information.

CARRIED

Special Council Meeting

July 19, 2021

Secondary Suites Study - Community Survey/Draft Strategy Presentation by Urban Systems

THAT the consideration of Council direction for the Final Report regarding the Secondary Suites Study be deferred to the regular meeting of July 26, 2021.

DEFEATED

Special Council Meeting

July 19, 2021

Secondary Suites Study - Community Survey/Draft Strategy Presentation by Urban Systems

THAT staff prepare a Final Report regarding the Secondary Suites Study for Council consideration in September 2021.

CARRIED

Contact

Building and Planning Department
planning@oakbay.ca
Phone: 250-598-2042
Fax: 250-598-9108
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.