Front view of shop/suite, left, showing proximity to main house

Hearing set on Courtenay illegal carriage house

A public hearing is set for Monday, July 17 for a rezoning to allow an existing – but illegal – carriage house on Back Road.

Ian Buck, the city’s Director of Development Services, told council July 4 that a building permit was issued in 1996 for the property owner to build a detached garage.

Somewhere along the way, it was converted into a rental carriage house.

“The property’s new owner thought it was lawfully permitted,” Buck said.

Now the owner wants to sell the property and legalize the carriage house.

Buck said the city hasn’t received any complaints.

“It’s a relatively straightforward application,” he said of the rezoning which would change from Residential One to Residential Two.

The property is a panhandle lot near the intersection of Tunner Drive and Back Road. The lot has access on to Back Road.

Surrounding properties are larger residential lots, some of which are zoned to allow secondary suites.

Coun. Doug Hillian said he was curious as to how such a situation comes about.

“Presumably we issued a building permit … Is this someone pulling a fast one on us? Or is there too much latitude?” he asked.

Buck said the carriage house isn’t really visible from the road.

“People do put in illegal secondary suites … after the fact,” he said. “The conversion was done and we didn’t receive any complaints.

“It’s not the current owner who was responsible. They are trying to legalize it and make things right. Unfortunately, it does happen; not often, but they are difficult to catch.”

The public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. at City Hall.