Fredericton has announced plans to cut red tape for homeowners looking to build secondary units.

Ken Forrest presented the proposal at the June 10 city council meeting.

“Over the next number of weeks and months we will be bringing forward a series of amendments for council’s consideration,” he said during the presentation.

It’s part of the city’s Housing Accelerator Fund agreement with the federal government.

University of New Brunswick housing researcher Julia Woodhall-Melnik said this likely won’t have a great impact on the housing crisis.

However, she said landlords hosting tenants on their own properties may have less need to raise rent, and could use the arrangement to offset homeowning costs.

“Any avenue to more housing that can be more affordable is important,” she said in an interview.

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick rent prices grow above target'

She pointed out some potential downsides as well — homeowners will be charged more provincial taxes, and there could be street parking challenges.

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But there’s another concern that’s shown up multiple times in Fredericton development proposals — NIMBYism, or people feeling uncomfortable with new renters coming into neighbourhoods and, in this case, backyards.

“There’s stigma associated with being unhoused, or underhoused, and there’s stigma associated with needing housing assistance,” she said.

Charlie Dyer owns Case’s Renovations in Fredericton, and said costs prevent some people from building secondary units.

“In an older home, to make that separation, you need a separate HVAC system, you need the piping for that, you need the enclosed area for electrical. So there is a cost involved in doing it properly,” he said.

In April, Fredericton announced grants for property owners to build secondary dwellings on their land using the Housing Accelerator Fund.

The proposed bylaw amendments will go before the Planning Advisory Committee on July 17, and there will be a public hearing on Aug. 12, when objections and support will be considered.

During the council meeting, Coun. Bruce Grandy encouraged people in Fredericton to review the proposed changes.

“This is an important amendment, and I can’t reiterate enough, anyone who’s listening, has any interest in this at all … make sure you understand what it is that could have an impact, or not impact, to your particular property,” he said.