City Council needs to get out of secondary suites

ARMCHAIR MAYOR SAYS — It’s time City council got out of the business of secondary suites.

For the second time, council has rejected a rezoning application by Tinniswood Court resident Jordan Lester who wanted to build a basement suite and rent it out.

Many of his neighbours objected, but their objections are short on logic. Some argued that the cul de sac is congested with vehicles already, and one more would be a problem. Yet some already have two or three vehicles.

Others worried about the neighbourhood — you never know what kind of a renter might move in. Yet there’s no guarantee the person who owns the house next to you is going to be a better neighbour than the one who rents.

And, a mix of incomes and backgrounds can strengthen a neighbourhood rather than weaken it.

But councillors, after two of them flip-flopped in opposite directions, voted 5-4 for the second time to turn down the rezoning.

They shouldn’t be involved at all. Secondary suites are an essential form of housing. They need to be regulated, but they shouldn’t be the subject of political decisions on a one-by-one basis.

Rezoning shouldn’t even be in play. Every single-family home should be eligible for a secondary suite as long as it meets regulations. People who buy into a neighbourhood would know this up front. Illegal suites would be reduced and so would neighbourhood friction.

Other City councils have figured this out and legislated accordingly. Kamloops council put the item on a workshop agenda but has never gotten around to doing anything about it.

It needs to be dealt with so everybody plays under the same rules, and no one has to wonder which way council will go on an application.

About Mel Rothenburger (7646 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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