Red tape keeping garage suites down, say Saskatoon builders
Coalition urges city hall to lower fees and get rid of some guidelines
They were supposed to be one solution to Saskatoon's housing crunch, but so far there's only been a half dozen garage and garden suites built and now developers are calling for change.
"I think people are just finding the process is too difficult, too clunky and it is just too time consuming," said Laneway Suites owner Jeff Natress in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.
Navigating through the regulations is a real challenge, he said. The approval time is long, and there are a lot of rules that come along with building one of these suites, said Natress.
"Really, people kind of get frustrated with the process and kind of just give up after a while."
And, he said, the stakes are high for any potential developer.
"It's a similar cost to a small house."
Developers calling for change
Also a problem, Natress said, are some of the unique rules.
"If you've got a small house you can't build a garage suite, somebody's got a big house they can build a garage suite so it is not really fair to those with small houses."
The bottom line for Natress and other developers is that it shouldn't be easier to build a standalone house then it is to build a garage or garden suite. The evidence that change is needed, he said, is in the numbers — just a half dozen developments since 2014.