December 7, 2017

The Battle of the Clayton Heights Basement Suites

There is a tempest in Clayton Heights, where home owners (who also have rentable coach houses in their back lanes) have been penalized by the City by also renting out secondary accommodation in their basements. Many homeowners were surprised to hear from the City of Surrey that they could only have one rentable unit on the property, as some have been renting out both their coach houses and their basement suites for years.
And it was not  people living in these units that brought the matter to the City’s attention. Oh no. It was parking. And the fact that people who live at an address may have a car that also needs to park on the street. As Jen St. Denis describes in Metro News, Councillor Bruce Hayne had received “thousands of complaints about parking congestion”.  Since the vacancy rate is .04 in Surrey (Vancouver is .08) kicking out tenants doesn’t appear to be a workable solution for anyone. But as the Councillor notes
We could put a date on the future on it, or if the house is resold before that date that the suite has to be decommissioned and a restrictive covenant is put on title so the new owners know they absolutely can’t rent out a second suite.”
And here is the strange part~Surrey has not restricted residential parking in the area, which appears to be the precipitating factor in the complaints.  There will be a staff review on potentially controlling parking in 2018. Meanwhile Surrey is saying that three units per lot is not allowable under the current zoning, and that if it was the new approved units would have to be to code and have sprinkler systems.
It appears that this accommodation is sought after and needed as Surrey has only built two rental buildings in the last thirty years.  And the complaints about the renters in Clayton Heights?  A City of Surrey report notes that complaints about multiple suites include “renters parking commercial vehicles, excess garbage, unsightly property, criminal activity from renters, loud music, excessive partying.”
You can view a short video by global news on the battle of the Clayton Heights basement suites here.

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  2. Ah yes, the much hated Renter. They’re surely all bikers, drug addicts, on welfare and don’t recycle.
    Now imagine all of these people’s complaints, but replace the word “Renter” with “black” or “Chinese,” or gay. Would any politician dare to run down a whole community? Would any news outlet print a story suggesting that one of these groups was less worthy, less Jan, than “normal” people.
    If there’s a problem it’s with parking, not with Renter’s.

  3. Why don’t they just build a little parkade at the edge of the neighbourhood? I think people would be more willing to walk a few blocks than to not have anywhere to park at all.

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