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After extensive research and public engagement, City staff are recommending changes to where secondary suites are allowed.

What We’re Thinking 

Based on our analysis and feedback from Edmontonians, we think allowing more opportunities for secondary suites will have minimal impact to our neighbourhoods, but will have a big positive impact for individuals by making homes more affordable and providing more housing choices for Edmontonians.

About the Project

This project is currently at the information gathering stage.

At the June 21, 2016, Executive Committee meeting, City Council directed staff to prepare changes to the Zoning Bylaw to allow secondary suites in semi-detached and duplex housing.

Council also directed City staff to provide information on the minimum site area requirements for all types of suites, and on the possible implications of allowing secondary suites in row housing.

Our Recommendation

We plan to recommend that City Council:

  • Allow secondary suites in semi-detached and duplex housing wherever these housing forms are allowed
  • Remove the requirement for properties be a certain size before they are allowed to have a secondary suite on them
  • Allow secondary suites in row housing wherever this housing form is allowed

What Edmontonians Think About Secondary Suites

June 2017

As part of the project’s public engagement process,  City staff conducted a survey through the Insight Community in June 2017. The survey received over 1,700 responses.

Here is how Edmontonians responded.

Secondary Suite Survey Results

For more details, view the What We Heard report.


What We Have Learned About Secondary Suites

3,453 secondary suites have been permitted since the City expanded opportunities for them in single detached housing in 2007. This means that about 1.7% of Edmonton’s 201,463 single detached houses have permitted secondary suites.

Neighbourhoods With the Most Secondary Suites

Neighbourhood Number of Suites Number of Houses Percentage of Houses with a Suite
Alberta Avenue 97 2,592 4%
Chappelle Area 67 1,216 6%
Oxford 67 996 7%
Allendale 62 1,029 6%
Laurel 62 1,280 5%
McKernan 61 998 6%
Ritchie 59 1,258 5%
Walker 59 1,544 4%
King Edward Park 58 1,423 4%
Hazeldean 55 1,142 5%

Semi-detached and Duplex Housing in Edmonton

Here’s where semi-detached and duplex housing currently exist in Edmonton. NOTE: The Edmonton Municipal Census includes fourplex in the same category as semi-detached and duplex, so these figures may be inflated.

Neighbourhoods with the most Semi-detached, Duplex and Fourplex Housing
Neighbourhood Semi-detached, Duplex and Fourplex Units Total Housing Units
Rutherford 885 4,291
The Hamptons 638 4,435
Walker 604 2,968
Windermere 524 3,650
Canora 508 1,702
Calder 471 2,063
Bonnie Doon 461 2,567
Summerside 453 5,000
Killarney 434 1,911
Laurel 409 2,610


Projected Number of Suites in Semi-detached and Duplex Housing

Different neighbourhoods in the city have had different levels of secondary suite development in single detached houses.

If we took the same percentage of single detached homes with suites and applied that number to all semi-detached and duplex housing, we would see approximately 490 new suites across the whole city.

We expect that the total number of secondary suites in semi-detached or duplex housing would be relatively small, both across the city as a whole and in each neighbourhood, if they were allowed.

Row Housing In Edmonton

The amount of row housing in most neighbourhoods is significantly lower than for single detached housing. If we took the percentage of single detached homes with suites and applied that to rowhousing, we would see approximately 615 new secondary suites.

Neighbourhoods With the Most Rowhousing

Neighbourhood Rowhousing Units Single Detached Homes
Ormsby Place 728 1,052
Casselman 719 390
Belmead 680 812
South Terwillegar 610 1,735
Belmont 570 782
Homesteader 552 457
Lymburn 546 1,519
Richfield 524 468
Hairsine 523 269
Callingwood South 515 9


Lot Sizes and Secondary Suites

Currently, properties have to be a certain size (360 sq. m or 3,875 sq. ft.) before they are allowed to have a secondary suite on them. This requirement prevents homeowners on smaller properties from adding a secondary suite.

City staff have not found a reason for this restriction and as a result, we are proposing to remove this restriction. This change will not:

  • Increase the size of the main house
  • Decrease the minimum size of the suite
  • Decrease the number of required parking spaces

The change will:

  • Allow more homes to add a suite, including narrower lots in new and established neighbourhood

Parking for Secondary Suites

We’ve heard that parking for secondary suites is a concern for some people. Currently, secondary suites require one off-street parking space in addition to the parking space required for the main house, unless the suite is close to transit.

We are not planning any changes to this requirement.

In addition, research has shown that people who live in secondary suites and garden suites typically have fewer vehicles than people who live in houses.

On-street parking management programs can also help address areas where there is a shortage of on-street parking, for example by adding time limits.

For More Information

Jeff Booth

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw



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