“Monster home” council meeting of July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 council resolutions on building height and calculations
Special Council Committee of the Whole (SCOTW)

Following up on the town hall on house size and height calculations held on July 15, 2014, council held a special meeting on July 29. It was a marathon session. Many questions came up as to how calculations are made, including:

  • what counts as floor area (e.g., parking space either attached or detached, unoccupied or unfinished space such as basements), and
  • how a building can appear much higher than the maximum of 34.5 feet, especially on sloped lots.

There was much more discussion. The primary goal seems to be to make the rules clear and less subject to interpretation or “grey areas.”

Council has asked staff to work on the plan and bring something back to council in September, most likely on September 9, 2014. Council expressed the desire for this to be an expedited process; i.e., as quickly as possible. The Ioco area is 1st priority. Public consultation and a public hearing would be required prior to zoning bylaw changes. City manager Kevin Ramsay suggested that there will be challenges to a quick resolution, based upon experiences from other municipalities.

Council resolutions from the July 29, 2014 meeting:

Moved,

WHEREAS the issue of “mega” home size and situation on lots has resulted in a decreased enjoyment by neighbouring residents;

AND WHEREAS Council has agreed that this issue be dealt with in an expeditious manner;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT Staff be directed to report back at the first meeting in September with a plan for creating area specific zones for Ioco, Moody Centre, and Glenayre;

AND THAT Staff immediately commence an expedited process based on community input and expectations on the issue of height, lot coverage, grade, view corridors and setbacks for the “Ioco single family residential area.”

Moved and CARRIED

THAT the foregoing motion be amended by adding the following paragraph after the third paragraph ending with the word “Glenayre”:

AND THAT, subsequently, area specific zones for other neighbourhoods, including Coronation Park, Noons Creek, Westport and College Park, also be developed;

The question on the main motion was put and CARRIED.

Moved and CARRIED

THAT the following potential changes to RS1 or area-specific zoning be considered as part of the expedited process involving community input:

  1. That basements, finished and unfinished, be included in FAR calculations;
  2. That all garages and carports be included in FAR calculations;
  3. That regardless of slope, no podium shall extend higher than 0.5 metres (20 inches) above grade and that a new definition for “Podium” be inserted as follows: A podium is any structure such as exposed foundation walls, columns, stilts, retaining walls, fill or other means of elevating a building above grade;
  4. That retaining walls required for house construction be limited in height to a maximum of 8 feet and not exceed a 1:1 slope from the side-yard property line (e.g. a 4-foot tall retaining wall shall be 4 feet from the property line);
  5. That the 24-month timeline reference be removed from the definition of natural grade;
  6. That the full height of a building with a peaked roof be measured to the top of the peak and capped at a maximum of 34.5 feet;
  7. That double-height space (lofted entrance) be counted as twice the floor area in FAR calculations; and
  8. That staff review the potential to increase rear yard and front yard setbacks and provide Council with options to address the problem of impacted view corridors.

Moved and CARRIED

THAT the following potential change to RS1 or area-specific zoning be considered as part of the expedited process involving community input:

That eave height be limited to that of the existing or the previous house on the lot as measured by geodetic elevations.

(Voting against: Councillor Royer)

Moved and CARRIED

THAT the following potential change to RS1 or area-specific zoning be considered as part of the expedited process involving community input:

That the definition of grade adopted in 2012 be rescinded and a new calculation be adopted using the average grade based on the lowest elevation of the front and rear of the property.

Moved and DEFEATED

THAT the following potential change to RS1 or area-specific zoning be considered as part of the expedited process involving community input:

That the full height of a building with a flat roof be defined and capped at 29 feet.

(Voting against : Mayor Clay, Councillors Dilworth, Royer and Small)

Moved and DEFEATED

THAT the following potential change to RS1 or area-specific zoning be considered as part of the expedited process involving community input:

That the amount of a lot area that can be paved over with impervious material be limited.

(Voting against: Mayor Clay, Councillors Dilworth, Nuttall and Small)

Moved and CARRIED

THAT the issue of limiting the amount of a lot that can be paved over with impervious material be deferred to the Environmental Protection Committee for comment.

Moved and CARRIED

THAT an allocation of up to $10,000 be identified to assist in the facilitation of this community consultation process.

The meeting can be viewed at:
http://portmoodybc.swagit.com/play/07292014-778 (3 hrs, 22 mins)

Media reports
Port Moody zeros in on zoning changes to curb monster homes
http://www.tricitynews.com/news/269450431.html
Changes expected this fall to ‘monster house’ rules
http://www.thenownews.com/news/changes-expected-this-fall-to-monster-house-rules-1.1271946

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