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Coach house applications soon no longer considered by Delta council

The house and garage were built four years ago but the owner applied increased space to accommodate their growing family
The application is not consistent with the current land use designation, so the applicant requested to change it to increase the density required to accommodate a coach house. City of Delta report

Delta council last week approved an application by a Tsawwassen homeowner to add a coach house above a garage, but pointed out such applications in just a few months, will not be required to come to them for consideration.

Following a public hearing on Jan. 22, approval was granted for the proposed Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment, rezoning and development variance permit to allow for the addition of the coach house at a single-family property located on the corner of 66A Street and 1A Avenue.

The 905-square-foot dwelling unit above the existing garage would convert the accessory structure into a 1,357-square-foot coach house. The existing single-detached house would remain on the property.

Neighbouring homeowners spoke in opposition of the application, saying they would lose their privacy and natural light for their garden, as well as the densification being too small for the lot.

However, council disagreed, also having staff comment that new provincial housing legislation will require municipalities to amend their OCPs so that such lots will be able to have accessory dwelling units, such as detached garden suites or coach homes, without having to go through the current process. The applications will only be required to go through the building permit process and not go to council for approval.

The Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act (Bill 44) will require municipal zoning bylaws be updated by June 30, 2024, to permit small-scale, multi-unit housing on all lots currently zoned for detached single-family or duplex use.

Currently, Delta’s OCP and zoning bylaw allow for secondary suites, including suites in duplexes, but they generally do not allow other forms of accessory dwelling units except through rezoning and, in most cases, OCP amendments.

For single-family lots over 280-square-metres, up to four housing units will be allowed. The lot at 66A Street is around 500-square-metres.

Coun. Dylan Kruger noted the “massive” new pieces of legislation will fundamentally change the responsibilities of Delta’s elected officials as well as the city’s responsibilities when it comes to development approvals.