To view proposed Bylaw No. 530, related staff reports, and other information, please see the Salt Spring Island Projects page under the ‘Proposed Bylaw No. 530 – Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)’ section.
Process of Proposed Bylaw No. 530
Following a public hearing in August 2022, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SS LTC) requested staff to propose options to address concerns raised about proposed Bylaw No. 530. In April 2023, the SS LTC endorsed the current proposed bylaw through second reading. The proposed Bylaw No. 530 is now going through a formal referral and public engagement process.
As part of the public engagement process, Open Houses were held on June 6 and June 10, 2023.
Proposed Bylaw No. 530 Information
What is an ADU?
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an age-old concept that involves incorporating a second, smaller dwelling unit on the same property or as an extension to an existing single-family home. Commonly known as secondary or in-law suites, granny flats, garden suites and carriage houses, ADUs have their own entrance, kitchen, living area, and bathroom. ADUs can be integrated or attached to a single-family home, or as a detached structure, or above a garage. ADUs address housing and provide a unique housing form created by individual homeowners; they can allow Islanders to house Islanders.
All small- and medium-sized BC communities (between 1,000 and 22,000 in population) have ADUs, according to BC Housing. Salt Spring Island already allows for secondary suites and full-time rental cottages in certain areas of the island.
Why do we need ADUs as a housing option?
The affordability, availability, and adequacy of rental accommodation is a significant concern for Salt Spring Island residents. A 2022 survey among residents conducted by Islands Trust Planning Services found that more than 80% of respondents indicated support of more secondary suites and additional housing options such as ADUs. The Housing Action Program survey can be found in the survey section of the Housing Action Program page.
ADUs can diversify housing options in the Salt Spring Island community and address:
- Housing needs: to meet the needs of the workforce and other anticipated population trends, Salt Spring Island needs to add 302 units by 2025, primarily smaller unit types (i.e., studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom.
- Smaller households: on Salt Spring Island, 73% of households consist of one to two people, reflecting the change in demographic trends. ADUs often have one or two bedrooms, adding housing for today’s smaller households and single dwellers.
- Low supply of rental housing stock: vacancy rates for rental units on Salt Spring Island are very low, ADUs can help provide much-needed rental housing.
- Cost pressures for renters: according to the latest census, 45% of renters on Salt Spring Island live in unaffordable housing and spend more than 30% of their income on housing. 35% of the population on Salt Spring Island are individuals aged 65 and older, and many are seeking alternative housing options to remain on the island. ADUs in many communities have been providing option for older residents “age in place.”
- Creating safer homes: legal ADU construction reduces the risks for homeowners and renters and can provide access to better-quality housing
Who benefits from ADUs?
- ADUs can diversify the range of housing types and provide much-needed housing for smaller households, single dwellers and the local workforce.
- ADUs can provide housing to family members and caregivers to provide an ageing-in-place option for property owners.
- ADUs can provide rental income and allow homeowners to qualify for grant programs
- ADUs are environmentally friendly housing options, typically using less electricity, water, and other resources than single-detached homes, and they don’t require new land development
Proposed regulations to allow for ADUs
Currently, the Islands Trust permits secondary suites in selected zones and detached cottages on residential properties in a few zones. Proposed Bylaw No. 530 was developed to address Salt Spring Island’s housing needs and contains a series of amendments that, if adopted, would allow secondary suites attached to a primary dwelling or accessory building (i.e., garage or workshop) and detached ADUs (i.e. cottage or garden suite).
ADU types permitted under the proposed bylaw include secondary suites, garage or lane suites, and garden suites.
The proposed bylaw expands ADU opportunities:
- by permitting ADUs, secondary suites and cottages in more residential areas
- by expanding the types of ADUs allowed, including allowing attached suites in more zones, and allowing suites within an accessory structure, such as a workshop or garage, or as a stand-alone structure
Proposed Bylaw No. 530 creates regulations for ADUs and ensures regulations relating to protecting water supply. The regulations include:
- Only one ADU or secondary suite per lot
- No subdivision of the ADU from the primary residence
- No additional driveways for ADUs
- Maximum floor area of ADU is 56 square metres on lots less than 1.2 hectares, 90 square metres on lots greater than 1.2 hectares
- No ADUs within the community well-capture zones or a community water system
- Short-term vacation rentals are not permitted in a residential zone
- ADUs do not include recreational vehicles or accessory dwelling units on wheels
ADUs would require a building permit and must comply with siting and use regulations in Salt Spring Island Land Use Bylaw and other required permits, such as development permits.
How much housing could ADUs provide?
ADUs can play an important role in diversifying housing stock and help ensure that people of all ages, including older adults, have more choice in where and how they live on the island. ADU uptake in small- and medium-sized BC communities, including Salt Spring Island, is typically low. On average, less than 10% of detached homes in small- and medium-sized BC communities have an ADU. For the first two years, staff will monitor and report on the uptake of this bylaw.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If adopted and my property conforms to the requirements, what are the steps required to build an ADU?
A: A Building Permit from the CRD is required. Prior to issuance of an Occupancy Permit, CRD requires proof of an adequate supply of potable water and confirmation that the onsite wastewater disposal system meets provincial regulations.
Q: Who ensures that on-site sewage disposal systems are properly designed and installed?
A: A Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner must certify that an onsite wastewater disposal system meets the requirements of the regulations. The certified plans are filed with Vancouver Island Health Authority.
Q: Will my neighbourhood look or feel different if ADUs are permitted?
A: This is a common concern when ADUs are introduced into a neighbourhood. The intent of the proposed regulations require on-site parking for the ADU and that setbacks and height restrictions conform to the regulations, ADUs have minimal effect on the look and feel of a neighbourhood.
Q: Can I have a tiny house as an ADU?
A: There are maximum size limits, but no minimum limits as proposed in the Bylaw 530. All ADUs must comply with the BC Building Code.
Q: Will Bylaw 530 create more short-term vacation rental (STVR) on the island?
A: Short term vacation rental is not a permitted use in a residential zone per the Salt Spring Island Land Use Bylaw.
Q: Can I sell the ADU on my property?
A: Property containing ADUs cannot be separated through any form of subdivision.
Q: When will Bylaw 530 be approved?
A: Following a public hearing in August 2022, the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee (SSI LTC) requested staff to propose options to address concerns raised about the proposed bylaw. In April, the SSI LTC endorsed the current Proposed Bylaw No. 530 through second reading. The Proposed Bylaw No. 530 is currently going through a formal referral and public engagement process.