The City of Williams Lake has issued its first permit for the construction of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) since the adoption of a zoning bylaw amendment earlier this month.
An ADU is a self-contained, detached dwelling unit that is accessory to a principal dwelling and on the same parcel of land. An ADU must contain its own cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities.
The bylaw amendment was proposed as a way to lessen the impact of the critical housing shortage in the community, as well as to help increase the amount of affordable housing in the city, including the supply of rental housing. ADUs will help support the need for an identified 817 homes in Williams Lake, according to a 2021 Central Cariboo Housing Capacity and Gap Analysis.
The zoning bylaw amendment, proposed by City staff and adopted by Council at its Tuesday, May 2 Regular Meeting, eliminates the requirement for property owners to apply through a rezoning application and streamlines the process for constructing an ADU.
“Streamlining the process benefits homeowners by reducing barriers to approval processing and assisting in community-driven development,” said Jessica Ball, Planner 1. She noted ADUs also provide a sustainable way to create more housing without requiring more land and infrastructure.
“There are challenges to any development, especially housing, as there are many factors to consider regarding neighbourhood impact,” Ball said. “ADUs will help provide a wider range of housing options for residents and allow seniors to age in place, help make home ownership more attainable by providing a mortgage helper and allow for more housing development.”
By streamlining the ADU process, the City is hopeful this is a step in the right direction to providing easier community-driven housing to help increase the housing stock within existing neighbourhoods and to provide alternative housing options that benefit our residents and potential newcomers to the city.
“I think this is a positive step to increase density within our existing neighbourhoods and I am happy to be issuing the first building permit since the bylaw adoption to Mr. Kevin Friesen, whom the City has been working with since last fall to meet all of the zoning regulations and requirements,” Ball said.
The City has created a step-by-step ‘How-to Guide’ on ADUs to walk residents through the process of building an ADU. More information is also available on the City’s website at: www.williamslake.ca/991/Accessory-Dwelling-Units.
Jessica Ball, Planner 1
City Hall: 250.392.2311