Strathmore Town Council held a public hearing on the proposed amendments to Bylaw No. 24-14, which would allow garden and garage suites in Strathmore.

The hearing was held at the Strathmore Municipal Building on Wednesday with only two residents attending to voice their concerns about the amendments, which would allow a second unit to be built on a lot and used as a separate living space or standalone unit. 

Strathmore's current Land Use Bylaw regulates existing garden suites, with a block of these suites existing in Strathmore Lakes. However, it is not currently possible to apply for a new garden or garage suite development permit without these amendments.

A survey was conducted by the town in October 2022 about the idea of allowing garage and garden suites in the community, with 64 per cent of respondents answering that they would like to see garden suites in their neighbourhood. In this same survey, 31 per cent of respondents answered that parking must be on the property, with street parking being unacceptable. Another 38 per cent agreed that only properties with a single-family dwelling may have a garden suite.

One of the residents who expressed his concerns about the proposed amendments was Claude Brown, who has lived in Strathmore for the last two years.

"I think this is a terrible bylaw. Calgary had its own blanket rezoning debacle, and the citizens spoke up against it," said Brown. "I know that it's been stated in this meeting that this is an incremental change, but this incremental change affects the largest properties and the best neighborhoods in this town."

Despite his frustration, Brown made a point to praise council for their efforts.

"You do a spectacular job on so many things. I don't always agree on all of your things, but most of the things you do is pretty good. This is not a good idea." 

Brown's complaints stemmed from overpopulation and traffic congestion, with around 20 per cent of the town being eligible to build garden and garage suites. His concerns were answered by councillor Brent Wiley.

"I do insist it's not a blanket rezoning. What was happening in Calgary was a nightmare. I think what this does is it encourages citizens as developers," said Wiley. "It's highly, highly regulated. In fact, it's so regulated that the conservative part of me is really bothered by the amount of regulations."

Wiley added that the bylaw document states that there must be an additional parking space on the lot. The document also mentions that there is only one garage or garden suite allowed per lot.

The bylaw amendment passed its first reading back in June.

Second and third readings were passed as well.