Calgary’s city council has voted in favour of adopting a plan to reform the secondary suite application process after years of debate on the issue.

Administration was instructed by council last year to come up with a plan to update the land use bylaw and permit process and almost a hundred people spoke to council on Monday to have their final say on the issue.

Homeowners who want to put in a secondary suite will no longer need to appear in front of council and will now work with city staff to obtain building and development permits.

During the review process, community associations and residents will be given a chance to provide comments and appeals can also be filed on decisions about development permits.

A two year amnesty to bring existing illegal suites into compliance is also part of the plan and a Suites Registry Program will ensure that all secondary suites meet Alberta Safety Code requirements.

Homeowners with legal suites that have not been registered can list them voluntarily, for free, until June 1st 2020.

The city says it will also work with people who have illegal suites and the development permit fee and registry fee will also be waived until June 1, 2020 as part of the amnesty.

Dealing with secondary suites under the old system took up about 20 percent of council’s time and the mayor says the changes will save money and help cut through the red tape.

Council voted 9 to 6 to approve the proposal and the changes are expected to affect about 170,000 parcels of land in the city.

Backyard suites were also approved and administration has been directed to return to council with new rules on the suites by the end of 2018.

For more information on the secondary suite application process, click HERE.