In 2017 Sun Peaks Municipality met with Burfield Drive property owners regarding legalizing suites. It was determined that all properties with non-conforming suites on Burfield Drive were to apply for rezoning to bring them into compliance with the BC Fire Code, BC Building Code and the municipal Zoning Bylaw 1400. This is being done, first and foremost, to ensure the safety of all residents in the dwelling. The Municipality recognized that many of the illegal suites were not built to building code and more importantly not built to BC fire Code standards.
All bedrooms need to have two means of egress in the event of a fire. Fire separation is also required between dwelling units to limit the spread of a fire. Zoning Bylaw 1400 also requires that a property may only have one principle dwelling and one auxiliary suite. In the case of a stratified duplex, each side may only have one principle dwelling and one auxiliary suite. In the case of an unstratified duplex, the property owner must first stratify the property should they wish to have two principle dwellings each with a suite. Stratification and rezoning may be done concurrently.
Generally speaking, the Municipality is not requiring property owners moving through the process to evict their tenants. Some properties do have more than one auxiliary suite and in those cases, some suites may be required to be removed. Property owners and tenants may contact the BC Residential Tenancy Board for information regarding requirements and rights during this process.
The basic steps required to legalize a non-conforming suite are:
- Apply for a site-specific rezoning to permit an auxiliary dwelling. The application requires a report from a certified code consultant that will outline the requirements to bring the property into compliance with all codes and regulations. The application will also require a site plan that outlines parking and snow storage within the property lines.
- Rezoning is managed through a bylaw process. Once all information is received, a report and the bylaw will come forward to Council for first two readings and referral to a public hearing.
- A public hearing is scheduled in conjunction with a Council meeting, usually 4-6 weeks after the first two readings. The Municipality will send notifications of the public hearing to all property owners within 50m of the subject property as well as all owners on Burfield Drive. The owner will be required to place a Notice of Development sign on their property for at least the 21 days prior to the public hearing.
- The public hearing is held and neighbours may provide input on the application, either in writing or at the meeting.
- At the Council meeting, usually scheduled immediately following the public hearing, Council will further review the application and public input. Council may then give third and potentially final reading of the bylaw depending on whether the property is fully in compliance with all codes and regulations. It is up to the property owner at what point they wish to do any work required to bring the property into compliance. When they are in full compliance, the bylaw will be adopted and the suite is considered legal.
As previously noted, this process started in 2017. As few applications were received by the end of 2019, Council determined that a deadline for rezoning application submission be set at October 31, 2021. The Municipality’s objective is to make sure that all buildings in Sun Peaks are safe and comply with existing regulations and may consider deadline extensions for those who have entered into the approval process.
Please feel free to contact the Municipal office with questions related to the application or the rezoning process. Please direct any tenancy questions to BC Residential Tenancy Board. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/contact-the-residential-tenancy-branch