Carriage Houses bylaw proposed for area H

Flexibility in housing seen as benefit from bylaw amendment to Area “H”

A development application in rural Princeton for a zoning amendment to allow carriage houses was discussed by board members at the Planning and Development Committee meeting on January 9.

The applicant proposes to introduce carriage houses as a permitted use on 12 parcels within a bare land strata subdivision at 590 East Similkameen Road in Electoral Area “H”.

Rather than dealing with the proposal as a “spot zoning”, or site specific basis, staff urged the board to consider applying the amendment to all rural zones in Area “H”.

“We consider a broader merit to this proposal,” said Regional District Planner Chris Garrish in his address to the board, “carriage houses provide an opportunity to diversify housing stock, provide an alternative to basement suites and expand rental housing opportunities.”

The board’s biggest concerns stemmed from the potential for a carriage house to overload a property’s septic field. Area “D” Director Tom Siddon suggested an engineering study could be undertaken in order to assess the property’s septic field’s ability to take the extra load.

“I would be happy to see this bylaw pass,” said Area “H” Director Brad Hope, following the discussion. “It will give flexibility to larger properties in terms of size of secondary suites. Actually, I don’t know why we haven’t had this all along.”

Hope said he had received other inquiries regarding the introduction of such legislation from other rural property owners.

Carriage houses, as defined by the Regional District, carry a list of conditions that include size and setbacks, as well as requirements to be located on secondary floors and to be connected to the property’s existing septic system. The bylaw would not apply to lands within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The bylaw amendment will come before the board at the next regular meeting on January 23 for approval. A finalization of the draft bylaw will follow before the legislation is brought forward for public consultation.