Secondary Suites Submission Deadline

Critical Deadlines and How you can Provide Input: 

12:00 pm on Monday, March 5th - submit letters to City of Calgary via
9:30 am on Monday, March 12th - Public Hearing at City Council – everyone is welcome to attend


Secondary Suites Briefing for Residents

The City of Calgary is looking at implementing secondary suites as a discretionary use in primarily single detached home communities like Hounsfield Heights-Briar Hill (R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L districts). 

On March 12th, Council will be looking at several separate pieces of work about secondary suites. They are as follows:
1. Land Use Bylaw (LUB) amendments that add Secondary Suite and Backyard Suite as discretionary uses in the R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L districts.
2. Develop a policy to guide Administration’s discretion when reviewing Development Permits for suites.
3. Reinstate application fees for suites.
4. Changes to the Suite Registry Program requiring mandatory registration.
5. Develop implementation plans for an illegal suite amnesty, registry fees, rebate program, application guidebook, and guidelines on advertising and engagement.

What is a Secondary Suite?

In the context of this project, a secondary suite can be either a basement suite or a laneway suite. A basement suite is a separate dwelling inside a single detached house with separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities. A laneway suite is a self-contained living space on the same property as a single-detached house, and is often accessed from the back alley or laneway.

What does this mean for Residents?

The proposed changes would mean all stand-alone houses could potentially apply for a secondary suite or backyard/laneway housing with only a development permit. 

These proposed changes include both basement suites, and backyard or laneway suites.

  • Current zoning (R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L) will remain but relaxations allowing suites could be granted to property owners
  • Secondary suites decisions will be made by Administration through a development permit application and can be appealed by neighbours directly affected through the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB).
  • A policy that would guide Administration’s discretion when reviewing suite applications is also being debated at the March 12 meeting.
  • There will be fees to both register a suite and to appeal a suite application.
  • The existing suite registry would be made mandatory. This means that all legal suites would have stickers and would be listed online. All legal suites would have applied for the proper permits and have passed inspection.
  • There is no plan to monitor the legal suites once registered. Illegal suites will also be addressed through a complaints based system.
  • The Community Association encourages residents to decide for themselves if secondary suites are a good fit for their neighbourhood

If you would like to have your say, we would suggest the following:

1.Contact your Councillor
Getting in touch with your Councillor directly is a good opportunity to let them know about your thoughts ahead of the public hearing and help to inform their thoughts on the process. The City of Calgary has a webpage that allows you to easily send a message to your Councillor.

2.Submit a Letter to Council
Even if you’re unable to speak at Council on March 12th, you can submit a letter that will be circulated to Council ahead of time. Submissions must be received by noon on March 5th. Read through this document for information about how to submit your letter.

3.Speak at Council’s Public Hearing on March 12
City Council will hold a Public Hearing in the Council Chambers at the Calgary Municipal Building (800 Macleod Trail S.E.,) on Monday March 12, 2018 commencing at 9:30 a.m. Read through this document for tips on how to present to Council.

Considerations for your Letter or Presentation

Whether you support or oppose the proposed changes, you will be expected to focus your comments on the aspects of the changes themselves, on planning rationale, and on process.
Here are some examples of planning rationale:

Compatibility with the neighbourhood (how well would it “fit” into its surroundings)

  • The relationship to the surrounding buildings and the streetscape
  • Impact on the privacy of the neighbours (e.g. over viewing)
  • Driveway access, parking, and traffic concerns
  • Landscaping, including the retention of mature vegetation
  • Safety concerns / Privacy

There are some matters that will not be considered as they are not considered part of a planning rationale:

  • The characteristics of people (e.g., renter vs. owner); comments must address the land uses, not the land users.
  • The economic benefits or losses (increasing tax revenue to The City or surrounding property values, etc.)


The City of Calgary report to Council fully outlining all of the proposed changes available can be found here:

In that this document is both lengthy and somewhat difficult to understand, the FCC has created a helpful interpretation that can be found here:

Letter to Calgary home owners

Download letter