FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I have both a secondary suite and a laneway or carriage house on my property
Can I build my new main house and laneway or carriage house at the same time?
Typically, the Building Permit for the new main house is issued first, and builders start construction work on the main house before the laneway or carriage house is approved.
If you are building the main house first, plan ahead and be sure to leave enough room. At minimum, plan for 16 feet of open space (measured from the edge of a rear deck to the laneway or carriage house), enough room for the laneway or carriage house building and space for the rear setback. Additional space may also be needed to accommodate trees, parking, rights-of-way or on-site vehicle turnaround. At least one side of the main house would need to be able to accommodate a fire access route with a minimum width of four feet excluding projections other than eaves. The side yard setback may also need to accommodate utilities and servicing.
If there is not enough space, alterations to the main house may be required before a laneway or carriage house can be approved. Planning staff can provide input on site design that can accommodate a future laneway or carriage house.
How can a laneway or carriage house be used?
Laneway and carriage houses can be used for family or as rental units. Laneway and carriage houses cannot be strata-titled or sold separately. Nor can they be used for short term rentals (e.g. for a bed and breakfast).
I have a single detached dwelling property but it is not shown on the map of eligible properties. Why is that?
Only properties designated (RD) Residential – Detached or Semi-Detached or designed (RGO) Residential – Ground Oriented Infill Housing on the Land Use Designation Map in the Official Community Plan, are eligible for a laneway or carriage house. If your property is not shown on the map of eligible properties, it is does not have one of these two designations.
I live in Queensborough. Can I have a laneway or carriage house?
No, the Queensborough Plan does not allow laneway or carriage houses. Due to the different circumstances in Queensborough (such as the floodplain) a separate process to determine potential for laneway or carriage house development will be completed for this neighbourhood in the future.
What size of laneway or carriage house can I build?
Laneway and carriage houses can be 0.10 Floor Space Ratio (FSR) (equivalent to 10% of the area of the property). If the main house is less than the 0.50 FSR, then up to a 0.05 FSR can be transferred to the laneway or carriage house, for a maximum of 0.15 FSR (a floor space equivalent to 15% of the area of the property).
Different FSR limits may apply to Protected properties in the Queen's Park Heritage Conservation Area. Click here for more information on the HCA Incentives Program.
The maximum size of a laneway or carriage house is 89 square metres (958 square feet).
What are the parking requirements?
A total of two parking spaces are required (even if there are three units: a principal dwelling, a secondary suite, and laneway or carriage house). Tandem parking spaces (one behind the other) are not permitted. Only one garage space is permitted inside the laneway house or carriage house. The floor space of the enclosed parking will count towards the permitted floor space ratio (FSR) of the laneway or carriage house. Up to one parking space can be a carport. Parking spaces can be parking pads.
Can I convert my existing garage into a laneway or carriage house?
The conversion of an existing garage into a laneway or carriage house would be very challenging. The laneway or carriage house would need to comply with the BC Building Code, meet all development permit guidelines and comply with the Zoning Bylaw regulations.
Can I have a laneway or carriage house and detached garage?
No, only one detached accessory structure is allowed: either a laneway or carriage house, or a detached garage.
Does the laneway or carriage house get extra street parking permits?
Yes. If your neighbourhood uses street parking permits, then passes are available for each “household”. A main house, secondary suite, and laneway or carriage house are each considered separate households and eligible for parking permits. Parking permits are available for a fee from the Engineering Department.