Carriage suites are a bold new direction in affordable housing for many cities in Canada, and on Tuesday, City of Kamloops council members will weigh in when they decide whether to send a rezoning application to public hearing.
Ross and Margaret Spina (a City of Kamloops councillor) are requesting rezoning on their Fraser Street property that would allow them to turn their detached, one-car garage into a legal suite.
The applicant canvassed the community and came up with 10 supportive neighbours. But that may have more to do with the extensive consultation process Ross Spina undertook than the project itself.
The couple initially considered building an addition to the house to accommodate their adult, special needs son. But they concluded that would be "too intrusive," said Ross.
He then read a newspaper article about the increasing popularity of carriage suites and after consulting an architect, provided neighbours with design concepts. After a few back and forth discussions with a neighbours, including a family concerned about the view from their deck, everyone came to consensus.
The project proposes that the garage be torn down and replaced with a two-storey garage and suite, which would be built into a hillside.
With the consultation and agreed upon design settled, the Spinas received not a single letter of dissent, said Ross.
The proposal also appears to adhere to City of Kamloops preferred housing options. A report from Kamloops Chief Administrative Officer David Trawin recommends that council send the issue to public hearing.
He notes that both the Kamloops official community plan and sustainability plan encourage housing opportunities on currently existing lots and "innovative, flexibility and quality" in new housing.