Port Moody council to look into concerns about large houses

Some Port Moody residents are concerned about the size of new homes being built and the loss of view corridors. Council intends to discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Some Port Moody residents are concerned about the size of new homes being built and the loss of view corridors. Council intends to discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting.

A group of residents pushing for a Good Neighbour bylaw to regulate house size is encouraged by Port Moody council's willingness to explore the issue.

Sandy Liles, a former councillor who is leading the charge to get the city's zoning bylaws changed to regulate so-called "monster houses" said she is pleased Moody trustees will discuss the issue at a meeting next month.

"I think the message is pretty strong and there is a groundswell out there from people that are waking up to a property that has been beside them for years being demolished and what comes up in its place is a great big huge house," she said.

For Liles and her neighbours, who have started a Facebook page, the issue is about finding a compromise that will satisfy both existing homeowners and newcomers.

"I'd like to stress, it's an issue that's more than just about blocking view corridors, it's also the green spaces, it's creating shadows, where once there could be gardens," said Lilles, who added that residents are not against development but want new builders to be "respectful" of the community.

But according to a report to council, the issue may be a bit more complicated. Port Moody land values have risen and people want to maximize their investment and coming up with legislation that works (council already tried to amend the bylaw in 2012 to change how grade was calculated) will be a challenge.

But it's not just Ioco and Pleasantside where residents are complaining. The report states concerns are coming from neighbourhoods throughout Port Moody as deteriorating older buildings are replaced with new larger homes.

The issue is also prevalent throughout the Lower Mainland but so far no municipalities in this region control building height to preserve views, the report states.

At Tuesday's council meeting, politicians welcomed a more thorough discussion and Coun. Diana Dilworth said she wanted to see specific examples of how people would be affected. The topic of building heights, size and siting is expected to take place Tuesday, July 15.

The city's mayor also looks forward to more discussion. "From there I think we need to take it out to a community consultation but move it more aggressively and carefully," Mike Clay said.

However, he said the city has to walk a fine line between respecting property rights and the wishes of existing residents.

He would like to see the meeting offer specific examples of how properties are affected by the current bylaw, and what differences changing the bylaw would make.

"How does it affect my property [people want to know] you are always walking the line between private property rights and dictatorship," Clay acknowledged.


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