Garibaldi Estates Emerging Ideas: Accessory Commercial Units

The District is exploring ‘Emerging Ideas’ as themes to consider as policies are developed for the Garibaldi Estates Neighbourhood Plan. Emerging ideas reflect public input received earlier in this planning process, as well as existing District policies (i.e. Official Community Plan). This page focuses on accessory commercial units in the neighbourhood.


  • Accessory Commercial Units (ACUs) are small structures built on residential properties that host businesses.
  • ACUs enable walkable services throughout neighbourhoods.
  • ACUs reduce barriers for small business owners and increase affordable commercial space.

Accessory Commercial Units

Emerging Idea: Support Accessory Commercial Units within existing Garibaldi Estates neighbourhood residential zones to increase access to walkable services.

Accessory Commercial Units (ACUs) are small structures built on residential properties that host businesses. The intent is to enable walkable services throughout neighbourhoods without the impact of building larger commercial structures. Like Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or carriage houses as they are sometimes referred, ACUs are intended to be smaller in scale than the principle residential building on the property; however, while Accessory Dwelling Units are typically located in the back yard, Accessory Commercial Units are often located in the front yard, often within the front setback.

Accessory Commercial Units typically support low impact, small-scale, homeowner-driven passion projects which cater primarily to neighbourhood clients. For homeowners interested in starting a business, ACUs can dramatically reduce the incremental cost in comparison to leasing a separate space for the business, thereby reducing barriers and increasing affordable commercial space.

Types of Accessory Commercial Units

Examples of businesses that might locate in an ADU include:

  1. Coffee shop
  2. Artisan Retail
  3. Massage therapist
  4. Yoga studio
  5. Barbershop/Salon
  6. Bicycle repair
  7. Tech/software office

Characteristics of Accessory Commercial Units

Accessory Commercial Units typically have the following characteristics:

  • Typically, within an accessory building, but can be within principal building
  • Can be located within the front setback, up to the front lot line
  • Between 400-800 sq ft maximum size
  • No parking requirements beyond existing residential regulations
  • Outdoor storage is not permitted
  • Can use one small non-illuminated signs
  • No noise, odor, smoke, light, glare, or electrical interference beyond property line
  • Only one commercial delivery or pick up per day, weekdays only