FAQs (Click Below for Full List)
How can I share my thoughts on the proposed changes?
The public are invited to share their opinions on this Zoning amendment by submitting letters or emails, coming into City hall, or coming to share their input at the Public Hearing (date TBD).
What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) refers to all forms of additional or auxiliary units on residential (or even commercial/industrial) properties, and may be either attached (internal) to the principle residence or detached (external) from the principle residence. The ADU is an independent living space, self-contained with its own kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.
How will regulations change around Accessory Dwelling Units (eg. secondary suites)?
Secondary suites would now be permitted in two-family homes (duplexes), where previously they were not. Additionally, lock-off suites will now be permitted in multi-family homes (3+ principle units). This change is in line with Council's Housing Action plan and is intended to free up opportunities for additional rental units in the community.
What is the difference between a secondary suite and a lock-off suite?
A secondary suite means an accessory dwelling unit located within a principal dwelling. These generally have separate entrances and firewall separation from principle dwellings. These would now be permitted in single- and two-family homes (duplexes), with one suite per principle dwelling.
A lock-off suite is an accessory dwelling unit located within a multi-family dwelling unit, with a separate lockable entrance access to a shared common hallway and shared internal access, and which can be locked-off from the primary dwelling unit, but does not include a secondary suite. These are generally smaller than secondary suites and may have external access as well.
Can I have a lock-off and a secondary suite in my home?
No. Only one accessory dwelling unit per principle dwelling unit is permitted. Furthermore, lock-off suites and secondary suites are not permitted within the same zones.
Where can I build housing with secondary suites or lock-off suites?
Secondary suites are proposed in two-family homes and are already permitted in single-family homes. Therefore, secondary suites are permitted within R1 and R2 Zones. Lock-off suites are proposed in multi-family buildings, which is defined as having 3+ principle units in each. Therefore, lock-off suites would be permitted in Residential Zones, Commercial Zones and Marina District Zones where multi-family housing is permitted.
Would a duplex with one or two secondary suites be considered multi-family housing and require rezoning?
No. The addition of secondary suites to duplexes would not be considered multi-family housing. Our zoning bylaw defines multi-family housing as 3+ principle units. Accessory dwelling units, such as secondary suites, are not considered principal dwelling units and therefore do not factor into density calculations.
How will accessory dwelling units impact parking in my neighbourhood?
One off-street parking space would be required for each dwelling unit, which includes principle dwelling units and accessory dwelling units. Therefore, if a duplex has two principle units and two secondary suites, at least 4 parking spots will be required. This requirement will help alleviate on-street parking pressures that may come with neighborhood densification.
How many accessory dwelling units can I have in my building?
This depends. There is one accessory dwelling unit permitted per principle dwelling. Therefore, if you live in a duplex, which allows two principle dwellings, you can have up to one suite per principle dwelling or two suites. In a multi-family building that has 5 townhouses in a row, you can have up to 5 lock-off suites.
Do I need a development permit to a build two-family home with secondary suites?
No. Two-family homes or duplexes are not subject to multi-family housing development permit areas. As with all buildings, in cases where housing is built within riparian areas, they are subject to riparian area development permits. Additionally, if any variances are sought a development variance permit will be required. Please speak to planners or building inspectors at the City before proceeding with this type of work.
Can I rent out secondary suites or lock-off suites for short-term rentals (less than 30 days)?
No. The proposed amendments retain the current limitations to short-term rentals. Short term rentals are not allowed in accessory dwelling units because they take potential long-term rental stock off the market. The City of Prince Rupert is facing severe rental unit shortages and low vacancy rates, this amendment will help add additional long-term rental units
How big can secondary suites and lock-off suites be?
Secondary Suites can be up to 90m2 or 40% of the building of the principle dwelling, whichever is smaller.
Lock-off suites can be up to 45m2 or 40% of the building of the principle dwelling, whichever is smaller.
Will utilities be charged for accessory dwelling units?
Yes. The City charges water, sewer, and garbage rates for all known suites at the same rates as all other dwelling units. A house with a secondary suite will pay the same utility fees as a duplex.
Do accessory dwelling units have to be registered or licensed with the City?
The building permitting process would be the primary ‘ADU registration’ process. All constructed ADUs will have to obtain a building permit. Tenants and home buyers are welcome to inquire with the City if a building permit was obtained.
A business license is only required for renting units in multi-family buildings (3+ primary units). Single family dwelling units, two-family dwelling units, or the secondary suites (if any) of those units, are exempted from licensing requirements. This licensing provides the City with additional tools for regulating renovictions and rental unit safety.
Is the owner of a residence with an accessory dwelling unit required to live on-site?
No. The owner is not required to live in either the secondary suite or the principal residence.
Can I build my house from modular housing?
Yes. Our current zoning bylaw defines single-family homes as not including mobile or modular housing. The proposed amendment removes modular from this definition and therefore permits housing to be built using modular units. However, modular-built homes cannot be mobile homes unless mobile homes are permitted within the given zone. This means that housing built using modular units must be done so on a permanent foundation.
I’m building a deck at the back of my house. Will I need to worry about needing a variance on lot coverage or gross floor area?
No, unenclosed decks, balconies, or patios are no longer considered under floor area or lot coverage calculations. However, variances for lot setbacks or height may still be an issue. Please speak to planners or building inspectors at the City before proceeding with this type of work.