Richmond is fast running out of space to grow and that's why the maximum building height has to increase.
City council's planning committee agreed this week to carry out a study in conjunction with a developer who wants to build above the 47-metre ceiling currently imposed by Transport Canada for buildings near an airport.
The study will focus on the pros and cons of a proposed Townline Homes city centre rezoning at No. 3 Road between Park and Cook roads.
No matter the outcome of the joint study, a lengthy investigation has to be carried out of Transport Canada - and has to be requested by YVR - before any height limit can be increased.
"We don't have any more space and the only way to go is up," said planning chair Coun. Bill McNulty.
"In some cases, I actually think we sold ourselves short with some height restrictions.
"There are areas I think we could have gone four or five stories higher. Instead of building more, we should be building up."
The city has a duty, McNulty said, to stop the influx of development in residential areas of Richmond.
"We want the growth to be in the downtown core and we can surely get a storey or two more on top down there," he added.
City staff said in its report this week that they've asked YVR several times since 2004 to request Transport Canada kick off the study.
Anne Murray, vice president of Community and Environmental Affairs at the airport, said the Transport Canada regulations limit building height to "ensure the safety of the public both in the air and on the ground."
"Vancouver Airport Authority has participated in preliminary discussions with the City of Richmond and Transport Canada to understand what process would be required to review these safety standards including consideration of potential timelines, resource requirements and implementation challenges," said Murray.
"We recognize that building height is important to the City of Richmond and it is one of the topics that we will continue to work with them on."