Secondary Suites

Secondary Suites in the Town of Comox

As part of its Housing Affordability Strategy the Town of Comox now allows secondary suites in most single-family detached homes.

One of the Housing Affordability Strategy’s main goals is the improve the availability and affordability of a variety of housing types in Comox, while ensuring the housing produced is well-designed and suitable for the community. Secondary Suites can benefit different sectors within a community by providing mortgage help for first time home buyers and young families and offering maintenance and income assistance for existing owners who want to age in place.

A quick overview of Secondary Suites in the Town of Comox can be found in this fact sheet

What is a Secondary Suite?

The Town of Comox defines a secondary suite as a legal suite located within a single family detached house and must meet the following requirements:

  • The building owner must occupy either the primary or the secondary suite
  • Only one secondary suite is permitted per residential home
  • The secondary suite must be completely contained within the principal building
  • The suite must not have a floor area greater than 90m2, or 40% of the gross floor area of the home, whichever is less.
  • The secondary suite must be located either above or below the primary dwelling unit
  • The secondary suite must have its own entrance separate from that of the principle dwelling.
  • Only one secondary suite is permitted per residential home

Additionally the home must provide two individually accessible off-street parking spaces: one for both the primary and secondary suites.

Residential fees for water, sewer and garbage collection are levied per residential unit. A secondary suite is a residential unit; as a result the residential fees will double once a suite is constructed. Paying for 2 residential units of garbage allows for the pickup of two garbage cans. Switching to metered billing from flat fees can reduce the water fee, depending on water use.

Where are Secondary Suites allowed?

Currently secondary suites are allowed in the following zones: R1.1, R1.2, R1.3, R2.1, R3.1, R3.2, R3.3, R3.5, R3.6, R3.7, CD1.1, CD3, CD5 and CD9. See the Town of Comox Zoning Map, the Town of Comox, Zoning Bylaw 1377 or contact the Planning Department at (250) 339-1118 for more information.

Permitting Process for Secondary Suites

In order to have a secondary suite approved you must obtain a building permit from the Town of Comox. You (or your authorized agent) must apply for the building permit in person at the Town of Comox Building Inspection Department. This is to ensure all secondary suites comply with the BC Building Code and provide minimum health and safety standards for occupants, while mitigating undue costs on homeowners.

For more details regarding the permitting process for Secondary Suites see the Guide to Secondary Suites or contact the Town of Comox Building Inspection Department at (250) 339-2250.