Port Moody's efforts to grapple with some residents' mega house complaints took an unexpected turn at Tuesday's meeting as council returned to the prospect of creating multiple single-family zones within the city.
The suggestion was brought up early in the mega homes discussions last year but was dropped after staff said going the route of North Vancouver, which has 13 such zones, would be too complex for both the city and homeowners. Instead, council has pursued a handful of zoning bylaw tweaks that would likely ameliorate most of the problems, with plans to tackle the issue in greater detail as part of a city-wide zoning bylaw update.
The changes hammered out over several meetings include: developing a fill permit process that would prevent landowners from significantly building up the grade on their properties; establishing a more effective grade calculation; shifting allowable roof heights; limiting the size of retaining and landscape walls; and requiring a proportional setback.
As well, staff will be drafting a set of "good neighbour guidelines" to encourage homeowners to consider those around them when designing a home, demolishing an old one, building fences and decks, and keeping yards tidy.
On Tuesday, council voted to send the bylaw amendments to the land use committee for review but Coun. Zoe Royer said the changes may not solve the issue.
"I think we will never be able to answer the call on protecting views, dealing with radically different parts of the city, dealing with a loss of equity and facilitating good quality, sensitive builders if we don't look at multiple zones," Royer said, noting even within the Ioco area, the needs of residents on Alderside Road, lower and upper Ioco Road, Barber Lane and Bedingfield Street are all different.
James Stiver, PoMo's general manager of development services, said staff had cautioned against creating multiple zones and the changes presented offered "the greatest impact on the issues" council wanted addressed, adding that going back to creating multiple zones would set the process back by at least two months.
After a lengthy discussion, council voted to have staff investigate creating multiple zones as well as continuing with the zoning amendment process. The land use committee will discuss the draft amendments at its April 7 meeting.