Foothills County Approves Phase 1 of Secondary Suites

HIGH RIVER: Foothills County has approved Bylaw 8/2019, legalizing secondary suites on Agricultural District, Agricultural Business District, and Country Residential District parcels two (2) acres in size and larger only.

“Secondary Suites provide for more affordable housing options, create opportunities for aging in place, and allow families to stay together by providing a secondary unit for a relative, disabled family member, or children,” said Reeve Larry Spilak.  “This additional housing can be accommodated without creating additional parcels, with minimal changes to the built form, and with efficient use of existing infrastructure and servicing.”

Two types of Secondary Suites are approved. A Secondary Suite, Principal is located within the principal dwelling unit or above a garage attached to the principal dwelling. A Secondary Suite, Accessory is located within an accessory building or detached garage, subordinate to the principal dwelling on the same parcel.

“The County also hopes to reduce the number of potentially unsafe, illegal suites by providing a legal option where Secondary Suites are properly permitted and inspected to meet all building and safety codes,” said Director of Planning, Heather Hemingway.

Council has granted flexibility to allow residents to bring existing illegal suites into compliance with the new regulations.  A two-year grace period from April 17, 2019 will allow landowners the opportunity to apply to bring existing un-permitted (illegal) suites on their property into compliance. After that deadline, any properties that have not brought their illegal Secondary Suites into compliance will be subject to enforcement.

To initiate a Secondary Suite application please contact a Development Officer with Foothills County at 403-652-2341.

Foothills County will explore Secondary Suite on smaller parcels and parcels within Hamlet boundaries in the future with additional public engagement.