Creston Housing Hub

Secondary Dwellings

Secondary dwellings, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), refer to additional units on residential (or even commercial/industrial) properties and may be either attached (internal) to the primary residence or detached (external) from the primary residence. There are many types of Accessory Dwelling Units, including:

  • Secondary suites
  • Garden suites
  • Laneway houses
  • Carriage homes
  • Any other dwelling unit type that is secondary to the primary residence on a lot

ADUs provide many benefits to homeowners and communities. These separate living spaces can provide an additional source of rental income for homeowners, helping with mortgage payments and other expenses.

The Town encourages development of new ADUs because they provide a cost-effective solution to the housing shortage, while also benefiting the property owner. Potential benefits of adding more ADUs to the Town housing supply include:

  • Living spaces for aging parents, adult children, or other family members, providing a flexible solution for multi-generational living.

  • Increased property value.

  • Typically more cost effective and environmentally friendly construction than traditional single-family homes, making use of existing infrastructure ADUs are often smaller and more efficient homes.

  • Local economy contributions by generating additional rental income and creating jobs in construction and maintenance.

Creston’s Zoning Bylaw specifies the permitted uses in a zone, including the allowable number, size and location of ADUs on a lot.  

For information on ADUs to be constructed within a single family dwelling see the Town’s Single-Family Dwelling 2018 BC Building Code Requirements Building Advisory. 

It is also recommended to review Creston’s Building Bylaw, which outlines the regulations and requirements for building in Creston, including those specific to ADUs. By reviewing these resources, you can make sure that your building plans are in compliance with the local building codes and regulations. Town staff are available to help evaluate your plans and work with you to ensure a successful development.

Building an ADU can involve costs including construction, design, project management, demolition (if needed), municipal fees, financing fees, and professional fees.

The cost of the project varies based on the homeowner’s involvement and the specifics of the project, and to what degree it is necessary to include professionals such as architects or engineers.

The cost of furnishings and finishes should also be considered. It is important to budget your plans and to allow a contingency for unexpected costs, particularly in today’s construction environment where costs can change significantly in a short period of time.

To build an ADU in Creston, follow these 5 steps:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility:

  • Review the Zoning Bylaw to determine if an ADU is permitted on your lot.

Step 2: Determine Feasibility:

  • Review the Zoning Bylaw for important information on minimum setbacks, maximum height, maximum unit size, etc.

  • Determine if your property can support ADU development, taking into consideration buildable area, water pressure, flood plain restrictions, and Development Permit Area Guidelines (if applicable). If your property is within a Development Permit Area, a Development Permit is needed before you proceed further.

  • Review you property’s Title for any easements, rights-of-way, covenants or other charges that impact where and how a development can proceed. Determine if existing structures conform with applicable regulations.

  • Use the information gathered to create an ADU site plan and if needed, contact the Community Planning and Development department for any questions.

Step 3: Prepare Architectural/Construction Plans

  • Hire a professional to create a set of architectural plans, including a site plan, floor plan, servicing plan, elevation plan, roof plan, and landscape plan (if required for a Development Permit Application).
  • Required Documents for Building Permit Application (as applicable)
  • Two (2) sets of Drawings and one digital copy emailed to
  • Two (2) sets of sealed Engineer’s Drawings and Schedule B (if applicable)
  • Engineered Truss & Beam Layouts; Note Solar Panel locations on roof truss layouts (if applicable)
  • Owner Authorization if applicant is not the owner (Signed by owners on title)
  • Professional Reliance Acknowledgement Letter (if applicable)
  • Developer’s Guideline Approval (if applicable)
  • BC Energy Step Code Pre-Construction Compliance Report (New Construction Houses & Commercial Only)
  • HPO – BC Housing Registration (New Construction Homes Only)
  • Copies of any referenced easements, rights-of-ways, covenants etc. registered on the Certificate of Title
    Corporate Registry documentation (current), if the owner is a registered company, to show a listing of the Director names with signing authority.

Step 4a: Submit Development Permit Application (if property is in a Development Permit Area)

Step 4b: Submit Building Permit Application

  • Submit a completed Building Permit Application and all necessary supporting documents as required by the project-specific checklist.
  • A Building Official will review the proposed construction plans and supporting documents to ensure compliance with the BC Building Code and Town bylaws.

Step 5: Construction and Inspection

  • Once the building permit is issued, you can proceed with construction.
    Regular inspections by the Building Official will be conducted to ensure compliance with the approved plans and regulations. It is critical that the work is inspected at the required stages specific to your construction plan.
  • To schedule an inspection, call Town Hall at 250-428-2214.
  • Once construction is complete, obtain a final inspection and certificate of occupancy.

Potential pros and cons of building an ADU:

  1. Building on existing land is cost-effective for homeowners.
  2. Can provide rental income to homeowners and offer a way for renters to live in a residential neighbourhood.
  3. Can provide housing to family members or caregivers on the same property and help older residents “age in place”.
  4. Blend with the existing neighbourhood without drastically changing its character.
  5. Diverse housing options attract residents to neighborhoods experiencing population decline due to aging. This ensures existing amenities continue to be used.
  6. Can help fulfill the goals of a sustainability plan or growth management strategy.
  7. Can help optimize the use of municipal infrastructure and services.
  8. Often have one and two bedrooms, adding housing for today’s smaller households and single dwellers.
  9. Require fewer resources to build and attached units have lower operating and energy costs.
  1. Can put stress on municipal infrastructure (parking, water, sewage, roads) if usage levels are close to maximum capacity.
  2. Short-term rentals in tourism-based communities have created a demand to use ADUs for commercial purposes, removing these units from long-term rental stock.
  3. The return on investment for building an ADU may be unreliable in communities with high building costs and lower rental rates.
  4. Residents in neighbourhoods lacking experience with ADUs may have concerns about increasing population and adding renters to the neighbourhood.
  5. Homeowners are often new to the development process, and lack sufficient knowledge about bylaws, design, and construction.
  6. Financing may not be available for some homeowners to develop ADUs.
  7. Homeowners may be concerned about the tenant issues and rights that could limit their ability to control what happens on their property.