Secondary Suites Study

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Thank you for your interest in the District of Oak Bay’s Secondary Suites Study and for taking the time to participate in the public engagement process.

The District of Oak Bay’s Secondary Suites Study concluded in fall 2021. The study was initiated in 2018, and involved five phases of analysis including a variety of public engagement opportunities. For more detailed information about the Secondary Suites Study, please see the project website.

Policy Direction
Council has endorsed the following ten Guiding Attributes to form the foundation of a Secondary Suites Program in Oak Bay:

  1. That the Secondary Suites Program address both new and existing secondary suites in Oak Bay;

  1. That secondary suites be incorporated into all RS (One-Family Residential Use) zones in Oak Bay;

  1. That no minimum lot size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay;

  1. That no maximum unit size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay;

  1. That owner occupancy be a requirement to have a secondary suite within a single-family dwelling in Oak Bay;

  1. That enforcement of secondary suites should be through a complaint-based program in Oak Bay;

  1. That basic health and safety standards should be met for existing suites based on Alternate Compliance Methods (Division A), and full BC Building Code compliance should be required for new suites in Oak Bay (Division B);

  1. That a secondary suites registration/tracking system be developed with the goal of collecting baseline information, promoting health and safety, educating existing suite owners, and phased-in compliance with the BC Building Code (Division A);

  2. That boarding use only be permitted within the principal dwelling unit and not in a secondary suite, and that the definition of “family” in the Zoning Bylaw be amended to include a caregiver providing services to the family, and that a maximum cap of six (6) unrelated persons be permitted within a principal building for RS Zones; and

  3. That one additional off-street parking space be required for secondary suites, but that staff be delegated authority to issue a Development Variance Permit (DVP) based on guidelines to promote active transportation, walkability, and other sustainability incentives.


These ten attributes are premised on the approach that regulations for secondary suites in Oak Bay:
  • should be flexible and attainable;

  • should encourage more affordable housing options in Oak Bay;

  • should provide oversight and accountability;

  • should be respectful of neighbours while maintaining community character; and

  • should prioritize health and safety for homeowners and tenants


Timeline and Next Steps
With general policy direction provided by Council, bylaw amendments have been prepared for consideration. The bylaws requiring amendment include the following:

  • Building and Plumbing Bylaw No. 4247, 2005
  • Driveway Access Bylaw, No. 3550, 1987
  • Land Use Procedures and Fees Bylaw No 4653, 2015
  • Parking Facilities Bylaw No. 3540, 1986
  • Zoning Bylaw, No. 3531, 1986

The following timelines are tentatively proposed for bylaw review and consideration:

  • July 18, 2022 – Council’s initial consideration of bylaw amendments
  • August 2022 – Staff refine operational/cost considerations
  • September 8, 2022 – Public hearing for Zoning Amendment Bylaw
  • September 19, 2022 – Final consideration of all proposed bylaw amendments
  • Fall/Winter 2022 – Website update, information packages developed, resources and staff changes further explored
  • Early 2023 – Full program implementation


Stay Informed
Get direct updates about upcoming Council meeting through our subscription feature found here: https://oakbay.civicweb.net/Portal/Subscribe.aspx

Thank you for your interest in the District of Oak Bay’s Secondary Suites Study and for taking the time to participate in the public engagement process.

The District of Oak Bay’s Secondary Suites Study concluded in fall 2021. The study was initiated in 2018, and involved five phases of analysis including a variety of public engagement opportunities. For more detailed information about the Secondary Suites Study, please see the project website.

Policy Direction
Council has endorsed the following ten Guiding Attributes to form the foundation of a Secondary Suites Program in Oak Bay:

  1. That the Secondary Suites Program address both new and existing secondary suites in Oak Bay;

  1. That secondary suites be incorporated into all RS (One-Family Residential Use) zones in Oak Bay;

  1. That no minimum lot size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay;

  1. That no maximum unit size be required to have a secondary suite in Oak Bay;

  1. That owner occupancy be a requirement to have a secondary suite within a single-family dwelling in Oak Bay;

  1. That enforcement of secondary suites should be through a complaint-based program in Oak Bay;

  1. That basic health and safety standards should be met for existing suites based on Alternate Compliance Methods (Division A), and full BC Building Code compliance should be required for new suites in Oak Bay (Division B);

  1. That a secondary suites registration/tracking system be developed with the goal of collecting baseline information, promoting health and safety, educating existing suite owners, and phased-in compliance with the BC Building Code (Division A);

  2. That boarding use only be permitted within the principal dwelling unit and not in a secondary suite, and that the definition of “family” in the Zoning Bylaw be amended to include a caregiver providing services to the family, and that a maximum cap of six (6) unrelated persons be permitted within a principal building for RS Zones; and

  3. That one additional off-street parking space be required for secondary suites, but that staff be delegated authority to issue a Development Variance Permit (DVP) based on guidelines to promote active transportation, walkability, and other sustainability incentives.


These ten attributes are premised on the approach that regulations for secondary suites in Oak Bay:
  • should be flexible and attainable;

  • should encourage more affordable housing options in Oak Bay;

  • should provide oversight and accountability;

  • should be respectful of neighbours while maintaining community character; and

  • should prioritize health and safety for homeowners and tenants


Timeline and Next Steps
With general policy direction provided by Council, bylaw amendments have been prepared for consideration. The bylaws requiring amendment include the following:

  • Building and Plumbing Bylaw No. 4247, 2005
  • Driveway Access Bylaw, No. 3550, 1987
  • Land Use Procedures and Fees Bylaw No 4653, 2015
  • Parking Facilities Bylaw No. 3540, 1986
  • Zoning Bylaw, No. 3531, 1986

The following timelines are tentatively proposed for bylaw review and consideration:

  • July 18, 2022 – Council’s initial consideration of bylaw amendments
  • August 2022 – Staff refine operational/cost considerations
  • September 8, 2022 – Public hearing for Zoning Amendment Bylaw
  • September 19, 2022 – Final consideration of all proposed bylaw amendments
  • Fall/Winter 2022 – Website update, information packages developed, resources and staff changes further explored
  • Early 2023 – Full program implementation


Stay Informed
Get direct updates about upcoming Council meeting through our subscription feature found here: https://oakbay.civicweb.net/Portal/Subscribe.aspx

Page last updated: 27 Sep 2022, 02:03 PM