What's a Secondary Suite?

    Secondary Suites are defined in Zoning Bylaw No. 4500 as "one or more habitable rooms, but no more than two bedrooms and one cooking facility, constituting a self-contained unit with a separate entrance, but which is clearly subordinate to the principal dwelling, for the residential accommodation of: one or more individuals who are related through marriage or common law, blood relationship, legal adoption, or legal guardianship; or a group of not more than two unrelated persons." To learn more check out our Secondary Suite brochure

    What's considered 'affordable' housing?

    According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing that costs less than 30% of a household's before-tax income, where housing costs include the rent or mortgage, utilities, maintenance fees, property taxes and insurance.

    What is Floor Area Ratio (FAR)?

    Floor area ratio (FAR) is the measurement of a building’s floor area in relation to the size of the lot/parcel that the building is located on. FAR is expressed as a decimal number, and is derived by dividing the total area of the building by the total area of the parcel (building area ÷ lot area). FAR is an effective way to calculate the bulk or mass of building volume on a development site, and is often used in conjunction with other development standards such as building heights, lot coverage and lot area to encourage a community’s desired arrangement and form of development. In this context, higher FARs indicate greater building volume.

    What is zoning?

    Zoning guides the growth and development of a community in a regulated way to avoid conflicts between incompatible uses. Every piece of land in the City of Nanaimo has an assigned zone that prescribes permitted uses of the land, as well as potential building form(s), density, height, setbacks, lot coverage and lot size. For more, here is a link to Zoning Bylaw No. 4500.

    What is a land use designation?

    Land use designations differ from zoning in that they guide how and where change or growth will be focused and are tied to Official Community Plans (see City Plan – Nanaimo ReImagined). Land use designations ensure that space is allocated in a way that can achieve a City’s goals and are high-level objectives for the overall development patterns in a City. They provide the basis for zoning.

    What are setbacks?

    A setback is the required minimum horizontal distance measured between a building or use and each of the respective lot lines. 

    Plan showing property lines and required "setbacks"