How big should a secondary suite be?
Langley Township council wrangled with the idea Monday evening, as the provincial government now allows cities to make their own decisions on the maximum size of extra suites.
Until recently the maximum size, set in the B.C. Building Code, was 90 square metres, or about 968 square feet.
Councillor Eric Woodward suggested moving the maximum size up to 120 square metres, or about 1,290 square feet, to allow a broader range of tenants, including families.
“Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to set some flexibility with a larger number?” said Woodward.
He noted that a larger suite size could accommodate more bedrooms and more types of tenants.
Coun. Blair Whitmarsh said he supported a larger maximum size for secondary suites, but expressed some skepticism about whether it was the right time to change the size, as a report on housing issues is being prepared.
The Township is currently in the midst of conducting a Housing Needs Assessment study, which is expected to conclude next year.
But an action plan won’t follow it until 2021, said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s manager of engineering and community development.
The council might vote to change the size again, but it will be more than a year before the recommendations are issued.
Coun. Bob Long was the only member of council to vote against the 120 square metre limit.
“I don’t think you’re going to find one size that fits all,” he said.
With suites, there can come complaints, he noted.
“It’s going to increase the demand for parking, it’s going to increase the demand for services,” Long said.
He said there could be a backlash, or at least concern, from residents in areas with suites.