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Demographics prompt new bylaw

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The RM of St. Francois Xavier is considering a proposed bylaw that will allow the construction of granny suites, garden suites and coach houses within the municipality.


The need to draft the bylaw became apparent to councillors after they dealt with three such applications in a row. With Canada’s aging population, a growing number of families are arranging to care for aging parents.


A public hearing on the proposed bylaw was held Nov. 20 and no objections were raised at the time.


"It provides more opportunities for people with aging parents," said Reeve Roger Poitras.


The draft bylaw defines the types of structures that will be allowed in the municipality.


Chief administrative officer Robert Poirier explained that a secondary suite is located within a house and has a separate entrance and cooking, sleeping and bathroom areas. A garden suite is a single-story building located on the residential property which has its own utility service. On land zoned as agricultural, the separate structure can be a mobile home. A coach house is usually constructed as part of a garage but has its own entrance.


The municipality will retain control over the number of secondary and garden suites and coach houses built in the RM if the bylaw is approved. Anyone planning on constructing one would have to apply for a conditional use permit. That will allow councillors to place conditions on an application if they feel it is necessary.


"We want to make sure that any suite is a good fit," Poitras said.


The bylaw was scheduled to receive final reading at the council’s Dec. 4 meeting.

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