Secondary suites are self-contained dwellings that are typically located in the basement of a home. Secondary suites provide a form of residential intensification that is sometimes referred to as “invisible density” because they do not change the exterior appearance of the building in which they are located.
In June 2016, City Council passed a motion directing City staff to explore options for allowing secondary suites in other types of housing, such as semi-detached and row housing, as way of increasing housing choices for Edmontonians.
Changes to Zoning Bylaw 12800 were approved by City Council and came into effect on August 20, 2018 (item 5.1).
The highlights of the amendments include:
Allowing secondary suites in semi-detached and duplex housing wherever these housing forms are allowed
Allowing secondary suites in row housing wherever these housing forms are allowed
Removing the minimum lot size requirement for secondary suites, creating opportunities for secondary suites on narrow or smaller lots across the city
Adjusting maximum floor area for secondary suites built above grade, or partially above grade, to increase flexibility in interior layout
The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement.
The City undertook a range of public engagement activities to help inform the bylaw changes, including Insight Community surveys, in-person engagement at the 2017 Engage Edmonton events, and meetings with community and industry stakeholders. Overall, public engagement revealed a high level of support for allowing secondary suites in single family homes on narrow lots, and in semi-detached, duplex and row housing.