5). Archives

Public Hearing on Massing Control Bylaw, July 17th - Summary

At the July 17th Public Hearing Richmond's mayor once again repeated the pattern of disingenuous public consultation. After two long years of hearing resident's pleas for backyard relief from massing, invasion of privacy and overshadowing by new house construction, Mayor Brodie instead gifted the BUILDER lobby what they demanded (Link: Builder Lobby Demand Letter, July 11, 2017).

The City's professional staff publicly defended their massing control bylaw, a compromise at best, but the mayor overturned their advice and city council passed the builder's requested amendment without review.

Unfortunately a week prior the mayor published a letter in the Richmond News (July 7), indicating city council unanimously supported the original staff recommendations. This was never true (Link: Mayor comments were off base Letter, July 7, 2017).

It is a sad commentary when our elected representatives do not even respect their own municipal processes. Excessive two-storey rooms will continue to overshadow and impose upon Richmond backyards.

Richmond Massing Bylaw 2nd Phase - Public Hearing July 17th

The Public Hearing on massing regulations for single-family homes takes place Monday, July 17th.

It is important for people to make their voices heard and get it on public record; this is one of those times where you are free to speak your mind and share your experiences with the issue of MEGA houses and living next to overbuilding and excessive development. This is never a done deal but this could be the end of this discussion for a while.

Thank you to all who hold our elected representatives accountable. Come out and support the cause, speak, bear witness and support others. Your contributions are indeed appreciated and our Richmond community is better for it.

Public Hearing

July 17, 2017 - Monday at 7pm
City Council Chambers - Richmond City Hall
6911 No. 3 Road

Links to planning reports:

Richmond Massing Bylaw 2nd Phase - 1st Reading June 26th

The issue of MEGA houses and overbuilding in Richmond continues. This issue has dragged out for more than 2 years and now reappears just in time for summer. The City now wants to engage you to talk about responsible building bylaws.

City Staff released recommendations on a Saturday morning for a Planning Committee meeting on Monday afternoon. In that meeting the builder's lobby submitted counter recommendations for City Councillors to vote on and adopt without review or study or consultation with the community.

In the 2 years that City Staff took to conduct surveys and hold open houses a combination of regulations attempting a balance between old and new homes was produced. Regulations that would protect backyards and address the loss of privacy, access to sunlight, loss of healthy mature trees, and impacts on neighbors from excessive building. Councillors on the Planning Committee instead voted against the professional recommendations from the City of Richmond's own Director of Development, Building Department manager and Professional Architect.

Attend First-Reading for this proposed bylaw at the Council Meeting this Monday. Ask that Councillors respect their own City Staff and for the community recommendations (not the builder amendments) to be adopted. Speak and support others who want to question your elected representatives.

Links to planning reports:

MEGA Houses on Farmland - Public Hearing

On Wednesday May 17th, after another marathon Public Hearing that ended at 11 pm Richmond City Council voted to allow the building of 10,764 ft2 houses on farmland over 1/2-acres. In addition, the bylaw that was passed allows farmland owners to apply for rezoning to allow even larger houses based on the needs of a multi-generation family.

Councillor Harold Steves and Carol Day were alone in their opposition and tried to convince City Council to adopt the original City Staff recommendations capping house sizes at 5,382 ft2 (Ministry of Agriculture guidelines).

This new bylaw will continue to encourage speculation by foreign owners, development by builders and drive up the cost of farmland. The reality today, is that the price of farmland forces many farmers to endure short-term rental leases with little incentive to invest in long-term infrastructure improvements like barns and irrigation.

Aside from Councillor Day and Steves opposition, the Mayor and other City Councillors voted to ignore...

* City Staff's researched recommendations
* Richard Wozny report (4,200 ft2 maximum)
* City of Richmond Food Charter
* Metro Regional Food Action Plan
* City of Richmond Survey - showing 73% of Richmond residents opposed to excessive building
* Maple Ridge's decision to cap at 5,996 ft2

Delta’s bylaw, which limits homes to 3,552 ft2 on lots smaller than 20 acres

* Concerns from Retired Councillor Sue Halsey Brandt
* Concerns from MLA VIcki Huntington

Thanks to all who sent letters to Mayor and Council and to the many people who attended and spoke at the 20+ hours of public meetings.

Media link: http://globalnews.ca/video/3183130/richmond-looks-to-address-megahomes-built-on-farmland/

1) Illegal Hotels in Neighbourhoods / Illegal Hotels on Farmland

None of the important controls requested by Councilors at the General Purposes Meetings are included in Richmond's proposed Bed & Breakfast Bylaw.

  • Townhomes, condos or strata units are not included in the ban.
  • 'Mayor Malcolm Brodie suggested any newly licensed B&Bs obtain insurance'
  • 'Councilor Bill McNulty asked to have the new applicants undergo a re-zoning process'
  • 'Councilor Steves wanted to ensure that operators are the listed owners (registered on title) and permanent residents of the home'

These are important checks for home-based businesses. Unfortunately the City's solution to banning illegal short term rentals is to water-down B&B bylaws. Not having these requirements provides loopholes that can allow hotels to still persist. The most glaring omission is that B&B's are not required to be operated by the home owner.

Media link: 'Short-term rental policy softened by city staff' (Richmond News, March 6, 2017)

Attend the Public Hearing this Monday at City Hall to speak to the proposed Bylaws. Let Richmond City Council know they the bylaws are not strong enough. Make the changes above. Do it right. Do it once.

Public Hearing
March 13, 2017 - Monday at 7 pm
City Council Chambers - Richmond City Hall
6911 No. 3 Road

Mega Houses on Farmland - City Council Meeting

Richmond City Council needs to hear from you to stop the encroachment of massive Megahomes on our farmland or there will be very little food producing land left.

By 2015 the average house size proposed in the ALR increased to 12,000 ft2. In 2016 20,000 ft2 became the norm and staff turned down a 41,000 ft2 house with 21 bedrooms as being excessive for a legal single family home.

We produce only 46% of our vegetables and small fruit in BC. Only 1% of BC is farmland capable of growing the vegetables we need to survive. That best of that land is here in Richmond and Delta, where we are also one climatic zone warmer than anywhere else in Canada.

The Climate is changing and much of California is drying up. BC Ministry of Agriculture scientists tell us we need to add 200,000 acres of the very best farmland for vegetable production. The BC Government is supposed to be protecting our foodlands but they don't have the guts to do so. So it is up to cities like Richmond to do it themselves. Delta has done so. It is now up to the citizens to make sure it happens in Richmond too.

Media link: http://globalnews.ca/video/3183130/richmond-looks-to-address-megahomes-built-on-farmland/

Attend to speak and show your support for preserving farmland for agricultural production. Your children’s future depends upon it.

January 23, 2017 - Monday at 7 pm
City Council Chambers - Richmond City Hall
6911 No. 3 Road

Massing and Height - Zoning Bylaws

November 22nd, 2016 Planning Committee Meeting

The Planning Committee endorsed city staff's recommendations to continue with this second round of building massing controls.

The City's massing study for single family neighbourhoods proposed additional refinements to bylaws that included... 1) maximum lot depth, and 2) envelope articulation.

Building Study - Proposed Amendments to Single Family Zoning in Bylaw 8500 (May 15, 2015)


Future Considerations included:

Planning Report - Future Considerations (July 15, 2015)

September 8th, 2015 Public Hearing

WRAPd Summary

After a 5 month exercise that was supposed to control height and massing. The City got the height reinstatement but missed on the massing control.

On Tuesday night, Councillors, Mayor, staff, builders, and residents of Richmond attended five and half hours of marathon talks and left City Hall at 12:30am... crowds obviously had to thin because of the late hour .... but what a turnout and marvellous effort for all those who attended the standing room only meeting.

Also, a tremendous thank you is sent out to all those others who couldn’t attend but took the time to write and express their concerns and preferences on the issues. Sample letters:

There was a 7-2 vote against a motion to amend overheight spaces from 5m to 3.7m. Councillor Steves made the motion and Councillor Day seconded it. A second amendment motion made by Councillor Au was unanimous to re-institute a 9m total building height for all house types (2.5 storey included).

WRAPd Recommended

  • Building massing - The single most effective action to reduce the massing of new homes in Richmond is to reduce the 'double height' standard from 16.4 feet (5.0 m) to 12.1 feet (3.7 m). An overheight room allowance standard of 12 feet has been recommended by staff and architects on the City of Richmond's Advisory Design Panel. Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey all start to count higher rooms at a practical 12.1 feet in height as two storeys - double the floor area. Richmond is alone at starting to count at 16.4 feet.

  • Building height – set a 9 metre (29.5 feet) absolute height limit for ALL new houses. No loopholes or wasteful exceptions for 2.5-storey houses.

  • Backyards – a referral motion for staff to report back on backyard and sideyard controls that protect backyards, privacy, and sunshine.

WRAPd Analysis of Results

Building Heights
A positive change to 9 m for all houses and is a direct result of the public  participating in the process. Heights for large L-shaped front triple garages also reduced. This may be short of our much hoped for miracle...but one could at least call it an epiphany.

“Epiphanies are relatively rare occurrences and generally follow a process of significant thought about a problem. Often they are triggered by a new and key piece of information, but importantly, a depth of prior knowledge is required to allow the leap of understanding.”

Building Massing

Unfortunately the leap fell short on addressing the primary reason for the referral motion which was to control massing and high ceilings. The double height calculation stays at 16.4 ft.  The proliferation of excessive overheight spaces in new houses will continue. Projections into side yard setbacks are not addressed. Massive houses set 20 feet off the back fence will not change.

The bylaw changes are to be reviewed in one year.

Presentations

Lynda ter Borg’s Public Hearing presentation describes enforcement issues. John ter Borg provides an effective 3D presentation with LEGO scale models showing how massing impacts backyards.  Engineering minds find clever ways to put the point across.

Backyard and Sideyards

Kathryn McCreary... Nita Sharma... John Roberts... Marion Smith... and many others summarized these thoughts and concerns.  They spoke up that not enough work has been done, and more needs to come, to provide backyard and sideyard relief from building massing. It was the consistent theme of many presentations but still is under referral for future consideration.No timeline has been set for a report back from staff on:

  • reducing maximum building depth (to 50% of lot)

  • increasing rear and side yard setbacks (backyard from minimum 20 ft to at least 30 ft)

  • respecting detached accessory building setbacks
  • eliminating projections into 4 ft side yard setbacks altogether. No exceptions.

  • limiting 2nd storey floor areas (to 80% of 1st storey floor area)

  • incentivize new building footprints that preserve mature trees on site

July 27th, 2015 City Council Meeting

  • In July, City Council failed on controlling building massing.

  • The recommendations being voted on for final reading are developer driven.

  • Mayor and Councillors rejected the advice of the City's own Design Advisory Panel, recommendations from staff, and pleas from the public.

July 21st, 2015 Planning Committee Meeting

July 8th & 9th, 2015 Community Workshops

Two concurrent evenings were attended by residents and developers alike to discuss the merits of the proposed massing and height Bylaw Amendments. Presentation material for the consultation meetings can be viewed via the following link: http://www.richmond.ca/plandev/planning2/projects/buildingmassingstudy.htm

Completed comment forms provided to Gavin Woo – Senior Manager, Building Approvals,.

Sample completed form:

June 16th, 2015 Planning Committee Meeting

Planning Committee deferred recommending a decision on the massing and height Zoning Bylaw Amendment to next week's General Council Meeting on Monday June, 22, 2015.

May 20th, 2015 Planning Committee Meeting Submission Package

April 29th, 2015 Westwind Town Hall Meeting

A large crowd of over 200 concerned citizens participated in a passionate exchange of ideas regarding new house construction in Richmond's zoning and land-use-contract neighbourhoods.  Presentations are posted below.

April 20th, 2015 Public Hearing for Zoning Bylaw Amendment 9223

A new Zoning By-law amendment has passed first reading and will be going to Public Hearing April 20th to drop the height of flat roof houses and to eliminate balconies on third-storey œZoning governed properties.  If you read the local newspapers you might be lulled into believing that Richmond Council has finally come to their senses and are limiting the size of monster houses on steroids.  This œzoning By-law change will do NOTHING to stop the gargantuan 3-storey houses being built on any of the roughly 4,000 Richmond LUC (Land Use Contract) governed properties (Westwind properties are over half LUC and the rest governed by Zoning).  The By-law will also do NOTHING to stop unnecessary vertical MASSING (on fronts, backs and sides) of houses that we are seeing built on zoning lots.

Image caption: Is this a 2.5 storey or 3 storey house? Why are engineered trusses visible through windows in the attic? and Will those trusses stay or will they go post-occupancy?

Letter to Mayor and Council

LUC Changes Needed for Westwind/Richmond - James Strilesky (April 14, 2015)

Land Use Contract Change Proposals

LUC properties need a moratorium before any more building permits are granted.  Redevelopment could continue under Zoning Bylaw 8500 rules or by replacement of the same square foot livable area currently on the lot, whichever is larger.  No more three story building permits should be granted until the problems with LUC are resolved.  A special “Z” zoning as used in Terra Nova could be a potential solution.  Most importantly, 'double height' provisions need to be ‘REDUCED TO 12 FEET’ and stringently enforced.

Public Hearing Submissions

  1. 'Double height' described
  2. Study: Massing of new houses
  3. History

Summary

This MASSING of house sizes in Richmond to aggrandize frontage and puff up cubic volume is stretching the limit.  Many of the new homes in being built in Richmond are bending the rules on double counting storey heights.  Often rooms are built greater than the allowable 16.4 foot high storeys but without sacrificing the required square footage against the allowed total square footage of the house.  Our neighbouring municipalities (Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey) all use 12.1 ft as their storey height, 'double height' count standard (Table 1). 

We are also seeing this MASSING in the back of new homes.  All the careful town planning done to create our subdivisions is rapidly being dismantled by a wrecking ball approach to new building. What is the new plan for how these neighborhoods will look in 10 years? New buildings are changing the character of single family neighborhoods, overshadowing adjoining properties, blocking out access to the sun, and violating privacy with windows and balconies that overlook family backyards. This is not what we signed up for when we bought into a “planned” community.  We didn’t just purchase a home we purchased a neighborhood and a lifestyle for our kids growing up.  Who is honoring the intent of the Land Use Contract for those who don’t want to sell and redevelop?  The rights to quiet enjoyment are being usurped by a loophole.  Many of the new houses we see built violate the City’s Official Community Plan put in place by a Council who ran on a promise to “preserve the character of single family  neighborhoods”.  We are seeing homes being built that appear to be non-conforming to current bylaws.  Ask the City to strike a task force and hold an audit! 

A 1990’s Solution... But Not for Long

In the late 1980’s and early 90’s Richmond residents were displeased with the size of the large monster homes being built and the Council of the day responded. The zoning bylaws were changed to reduce the maximum house size permitted to be built on zoning lots from 55% of the lot size...  to a new fixed formula: 55% on the first 5,000 sq ft and 30% thereafter.  However, now in 2015, the zoning houses being built today are much bigger in height and volume than those houses which were built in the 1990’s and yet these new houses also claim to be much smaller in square footage?  The new homes reportedly 20% smaller in square footage are now overshadowing the older 1990’s monster homes and are MASSIVELY bigger!  How can that be?  

Land Use Contracts - Bigger Problems on Smaller Lots

Original LUC houses were built by contract in the 1970’s and were linked to the current zoning bylaw of the time, Zoning Bylaw 1430. The LUC only described percentage-lot-coverage and setbacks required by the new subdivisions.  All other building guidelines referenced Zoning Bylaw 1430 “plus amendments thereto”.  Three key words were missing “and successors thereto”.  The LUC was silent about continuing its linkage to subsequent adopted Bylaws if Bylaw 1430 was to be repealed.  Bylaw 1430 after two decades of use and 1,000 amendments was repealed and replaced in 1989 by Bylaw 5300.  From this point on, interestingly, LUC properties were redeveloped as if the same rules for all other Richmond properties applied and were interpreted as if they were linked to Zoning Bylaw 5300 for the building requirements. 

Concerned citizens made the City aware at the time that Bylaw 5300 was being updated that there was a problem with LUC properties not being “legally” linked to Bylaw 5300 because the contracts did not include the words “and successors thereto”.   Building permits were challenging the LUC interpretations.  The City carried forward with a repeal of Bylaw 5300 anyway and in November 2009 adopted Zoning Bylaw 8400.  We were told  5 ½ years ago the city would control building on LUC’s “by persuasion” and they would appeal to the Province for help re-linking LUC to current City Zoning, that would eventually merge all single family residential properties into one active Zoning Bylaw with the same rules for all. 

The Province passed that legislation in May 2014, giving the City the green light and the legal right to initiate changes. Link: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act  (Bill 17, 2014)

If the City were to do nothing the LUC would expire in ten years automatically in 2024.  Nearly one year has passed and the City has still not affected any changes to mitigate the redevelopment of LUC properties and the houses being built are getting more and more audacious.  We have to do something to stop the madness!   LUC properties for the most part initiated the change in Richmond from larger 66 x 120 ft lots to smaller sized properties. Most LUC properties are 100 feet deep or less.  Without back lanes to separate homes for more privacy, backyards are effectively 40 feet closer between LUC homes.  Old Zoning Bylaw 1430 is “dead”, repealed in 1989, yet is the only guideline for building on LUC properties and that bylaw permitted three-storey homes. Extreme overbuilding (example...three levels of 6,200 sq. ft. on a 5,300 foot LUC lot) is massively invasive for privacy and shadowing.  On a “zoning” property of 5,300 sq. ft. the maximum house that can be built is 2,840 sq. ft.  The LUC house can be more than twice as big as what is permitted on a zoning lot!  Building this home on three stories and adding third floor viewing decks is a further insult and a travesty.  The attached pictures are bad enough but imagine rows of these houses and still much bigger houses backing onto each other.  These new houses built on LUC are more imposing than most of our townhomes and yet they claim to be single family detached residences.  We won’t need an Official Community Plan to preserve the character of single family neighborhoods in 2041 because there will be nothing left to preserve but these apartment houses where you rent a room with an ensuite.  Sounds like the old rooming houses of the dirty 30’s.   

Potential Solutions for Today?

Two urgent solutions are required.  One for zoning properties and one for LUC properties.  There are approximately 4,000 LUC properties in Richmond.  In our Westwind neighborhood more than half of our lots are under LUC and the rest are under zoning jurisdiction.  We need relief on both LUC and Zoning properties from MASSING of new homes.

Zoning Change Proposals

Surrey responded to public pressure and has tightened their building bylaws as of last July, 2014.  We seem to not have learned from their hard lessons and are instead permitting these building MASSING practices to proliferate in our City.  We need to look to other municipalities to see how they are moderating these monster homes.  Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey all 'double count' storey height starting at 12.1 ft.  Richmond alone allows 16.4 feet.  The single most effective action Richmond can take to reduce the MASSING of homes is to reduce the 'double height' provision in By-law 4.2 from 16.4 ft (5.0 m) to 12.1 ft (3.7 m) to bring us in line with our neighboring municipalities.   This can be a simple fix with a revision to the general section of By-law 4.2 which will automatically cover all building zones.

What is 'Double Height'?

The second most effective measure to rightsize the new homes being built is to re-establish the measurement criteria pre 2008 to determine the maximum height of a house being built.  Prior to 2008 the maximum height for a house was 29.5 ft and still is.  The 2008 amendment changed the building height measure from the top of the roof peak to now be a measurement to the mid-point of the roof.  Roof pitches are getting higher and sharper; the overall heights are rising purposely just to create a “big” presence.  The overall true height to the top of the peak now exceeds 29.5 feet and is often upwards of 34 feet.  This proposal was instigated after discussions with whom the City of Richmond calls their stakeholders: Greater Vancouver Builders Association (GVBA) the developers and architects at the Urban Design Institute (UDI) and Richmond Small Builder’s Group (RSBG).  Richmond citizens have no comment until the “uncontested” first reading... well after policy development... and then to Public Hearing.  This methodology is well orchestrated to control and manipulate public input.  Delegations are limited to 5 minutes and have no opportunity to rebut staff input.  The policy review that was promised in 2008 to assess the impact of these changes to roof height measurement has never happened. The complaints from the ratepayer “stakeholders” continue, but no changes are made.  The current Public Hearing for amendment of three story heights scheduled for April 20th DOES NOT change the maximum height measurement for houses with peaked roofs.

Land Use Contract Change Proposals

LUC properties need a moratorium before any more building permits are granted.  Redevelopment could continue under Zoning Bylaw 8500 rules or by replacement of the same square foot livable area currently on the lot, whichever is larger.  No more three story building permits should be granted until the problems with LUC are resolved.  A special “Z” zoning as used in Terra Nova could be a potential solution.  Most importantly, 'double height' provisions need to be ‘REDUCED TO 12 FEET’ and stringently enforced. 

References

Comparison of Local Municipality 'double count storey height' Bylaw Clauses

Richmond, 16.4 feet
4. General Development Regulations
4.3.1 (c) Calculation of Density in Single Detached Housing and Two-Unit Housing Zones
http://www.richmond.ca/__shared/assets/DevRegs24223.pdf  

Vancouver, 12.1 feet
RS-1 District Schedule
4.7.2 Floor Space Ratio
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/BYLAWS/zoning/RS-1.PDF

Burnaby, 12.1 feet
SECTION 6 SUPPLEMENTARY REGULATIONS
6.20 (4) Computation of Gross Floor Area and Floor Area Ratio:
https://burnaby.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?Id=9769&Search=1&Result=1

Surrey, 12.1 feet
Surrey Zoning By-law 12000
Part 15A - D. Density, 4(b), ii, d.
http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/BYL_Zoning_12000.pdf

Land Use Contracts (LUC's) - Early Termination

November 24, 2015 - Public Hearing Summary

Early termination of Land Use Contract bylaws were adopted after the Public Hearing, November 24th. There is a legislated delay and the zoning regulations will come into effect in one year's time.

Excessive overbuilds may still be experienced by some in the next year but relief is on the way. The sky is not falling and values will not plummet because of the changes. Resist the knock at the door that tells you otherwise.

The Public Hearing was well attended with a turnout of over 400 people. Over 110 written submissions were received and over 40 individuals took the opportunity to present. After 4 hours of presentations, petitions, the sharing of various viewpoints and concerns, and clarifications from staff, the Mayor and Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the early termination of Land Use Contract bylaws.

Many people took hours of their time to learn about the issues, to write letters, to attend and to speak at meetings. The replacement of Land Use Contracts with Zoning Bylaws allows the consistent application of modern land use policies and practices and will provide greater certainty and transparency for residents and those who develop and build within the City.

From the WRAPd Steering committee to all subscribers and residents,Thank you for participating.

November 5th, 2015 -Public Information Session

  • Thursday, November 5, 2015
  • Richmond City Hall (6911 No. 3 Road)

October 6th, 2015 - Planning Committee Meeting

The City of Richmond posted the agenda, staff report recommendations and proposed bylaws for Land Use Contract (LUC) properties for the Tuesday October 6th Planning Committee meeting.

The recommendation proposes that Council fast track first reading bylaw amendments to create underlying zoning and concurrently early termination for LUCs at the next Council meeting, Tuesday October 13th.

If the bylaws pass first reading at that Council meeting, a city-wide Public Hearing for 2nd, 3rd, and final reading will be scheduled for LUC properties and neighbouring properties affected.


Reasons for Change to Zoning

The effect of not including the phrase... “and replacements thereof”..., or words to that effect, is that there is no longer a link between many LUCs and modern zoning bylaws which prescribe current limits for heights, setbacks, and permitted density. Single family residential building heights for zoning lots, as of the September 8, 2015 Public Hearing were reinstated to 29 feet to control building height and massing. Third storey balconies were eliminated for zoning lots at the April 20, 2015 Public Hearing. These recent changes (which apply to approximately 15,000 zoning properties) cannot be applied to the redevelopment of approximately 4,000 LUC properties grouped within 93 LUC areas in Richmond. Many of the recent LUC rebuilds are to a full three stories, 35 feet high, and many are more than twice the currently permitted density (house size) compared to zoned properties.

Modern Land Use Policies

In 2010, the City of Richmond took a leadership role in advocating, through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, for Provincial legislation to create a process for early termination of Land Use Contracts.  Surrey, with 8,000 properties under LUCs, has committed to early termination as described by the process in their Corporation Report No. R122 (dated June 15, 2015).  The communities of Terrace, Prince George, Okanagan-Similkameen, among others, have also started the early termination process this year.  Vancouver is a charter city and has no LUCs to terminate.

Some legal non-conformance to proposed zoning or permitted density will exist for a small percentage of the city's total LUC properties. Proposed underlying zoning for some LUC homeowners would be to effectively downzone their opportunity to rebuild the same size house that currently exists on the property. That is, should one of these affected homes be destroyed for any reason (fire, demolition, redevelopment, etc.) the landowner would not be able to rebuild to the same square footage as that of the previous structure. However this is not unique to the early termination process for LUC properties, as many “zoning” houses, built in Richmond, before 1992, were also made legally non-conforming to current permitted density when changes were made to permitted density in 1992. For those who would bring up the question, the City of Richmond has been asked what options are available within the creation of underlying zoning that can address concerns about non-

conformance and that do not go as far as introducing site specific zoning.This Provincially legislated process to link LUC’s to the modern zoning bylaw through the creation of underlying zoning and early termination is universal and a fair process for all. The Bylaws when passed come into effect one year after adoption. The recent legislation for early termination allows the City Council to terminate LUC’s without the consent of the landowner. The legislation has also introduced an appeal process through the Board of Variance, if the owner feels that the timing of the termination of the LUC would cause the owner hardship with respect to land use and building construction.

Official Community Plan

In Richmond’s 2041 Official Community Plan (OCP), Section 3.2 “Neighbourhood Character and Sense of Placehas a specific objective to:

“actively explore alternatives to Land Use Contracts (LUCs) (e.g., seek Provincial legislative changes, replace LUC with appropriate zones, apply development permit guidelines) to achieve better land use management over time;"

Actions

For examples of current houses being built on LUC properties, drive by Addison Street (north of Steveston high school), Colonial Drive (south of Grauer elementary school), or Schooner Court (north of Garry Street). Whether you own a LUC property, or live beside, behind, or across the street, the City can hear your views at the Public Hearing November 24th, 2015 at the Executive Inn. The City will have over 500 demolitions this year. This is a quality of life issue for all Richmond residents.

Comments

We have received comments from residents who request a simple message to communicate at the public hearing and in writing to Mayor and Councillors.

We recommend expressing support for City Council’s decision to proceed with the process for the termination of Land Use Contracts, because...

 (A – Simple version)

  • It was never the intent for Land Use Contracts to be immune from Richmond’s Zoning bylaw.
  • The same rules should apply for all.
  • The Provincial government has provided the opportunity to regain control over Land Use Contracts.      

 (B – Longer version with explanation)

1) Land Use Contracts have served their purpose

  • Land Use Contracts were created as a land development tool to subdivide land.
  • It was never the intent for Land Use Contracts to be immune from Richmond’s Zoning bylaw.

2) Land Use Contracts are not fair

  • The early termination process is fair to all and has a built in appeal mechanism for homeowners who feel they may have reasons for hardship.
  • The only unfairnessis what continues for some neighbours to have to be the unlucky ones to have to endure an excessive overbuild next to them, behind them, or in front of their property.

3) The City of Richmond has a leadership role in supporting Land Use Contract early termination

  • The Provincial government has provided the opportunity to regain control over Land Use Contracts, as lobbied by Richmond City Council (2010) and resolved by the Union of BC Municipalities.
  • Richmond joins with other municipalities who are undertaking early termination of Land Use Contracts.
  • Termination of Land Use Contracts is part of Richmond’s Official Community Plan.

Photo(s): New LUC house construction sent to WRAPd Steering Committee by neighbour from her front, side, and backyard.

Message: "It is too late for our street but I wish you luck with Westwind
My house is a teardown now for sure...No one will want to live here.
My neighbours to the South can no longer see the mountains
And I can no longer see the Sun..
Thank you for inviting me to the meeting tonight
I will keep in touch"

How Richmond Compares with Other BC Municipalities

City of Richmond

City of Surrey

Surrey has started the process of terminating land use contracts. Surrey has almost twice as many single family properties affected, about 7,500 compared to about 4,000 in Richmond. Surrey has developed an orderly timeframe, process, and sequence as communicated on their website.

The major difference is that the City of Surrey already has underlying zoning.

In the late 1970s the Provincial Government adopted changes to the Municipal Act, eliminating the ability of municipalities to enter into LUCs. As a result in 1979, all properties in Surrey were assigned a zone, including those properties that were regulated by LUCs.

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

City of Terrace

Thompson-Nicola Regional District

Squamish-Lillooet Regional District

City of Kelowna

City of Nanaimo

City of Abbotsford