Garage suites will get more debate by councillors

The topic of allowing garage suites in Sylvan Lake hasn’t gone away yet.

The topic of allowing garage suites in Sylvan Lake hasn’t gone away yet.

During their meeting Monday night, Sylvan Lake councillors unanimously approved a motion directing staff to prepare changes to the town’s Land Use Bylaw concerning garage suites.

Tim Schmidt, director of planning and development, said the work should take about four weeks.

Among the topics he suggested would be addressed were design guidelines, aesthetics and how they might fit into curvilinear subdivisions which are becoming more prevalent in Sylvan Lake.

Schmidt had presented a report at the May 27th council meeting asking for direction on potential amendments. At that meeting councillors voted to defer discussion to their June 24 meeting “pending receipt of more information to address related items”.

The report made a number of suggestions, such as moving the approval process to the Municipal Planning Commission instead of leaving it with the development officer; doing more advertising — both to the construction industry and homeowners — about the fact garage suites may be built in certain areas; and increasing the distance used for notifying neighbours of proposed garage suites (currently it’s 50 metres, Schmidt suggested 75 metres). Another option was to create an ‘overlay district’ which would indicate exactly which lots in new subdivisions could accommodate garage suites.

At the May 27 meeting, Councillor Sean McIntyre said even with proposed changes there was no change in the rules that allow garage suites. He called for an immediate suspension of garage suite approvals.

Since then the topic hasn’t been back on the agenda.

It was added during Monday night’s meeting by Mayor Susan Samson. She also made the motion for staff to bring back a report to councillors.