Letter: City must resist dazzle of developers’ gold

Dear Editor,

Re: “Council tackles mega homes management,” News, June 18.

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No Richmond resident could fail to observe the rampant demolition of older Richmond homes (464 in 2014; on track for over 500 in 2015) and their subsequent replacement by much larger houses that dwarf their neighbours.

Many new houses are egregiously oversized, questionably legal and are clearly impacting negatively the privacy and natural light of adjacent homes.

Changing streetscapes are irrevocably altering the character and livability of Richmond neighbourhoods.

This is not about new house styles or who is buying them. It is about houses that are too tall, too wide, and too deep for their lot size.

Richmond councillors and the mayor currently are considering changes to the zoning bylaw. Purportedly, these changes will reduce the massive height and imposing front, back and side wall faces of new houses.

I hope that the mayor and councillors are up to the task of analyzing critically the proposals presented to them.

City planners have consulted extensively with the builders’ lobby.

Concessions to builders are eroding reasonable, common sense solutions, such as regulating just how far back a house can extend into its backyard, how close to the neighbours it can be, fixing a maximum height and reducing the area on second floors.

I urge the mayor and councillors to listen to the voices of Richmond residents and homeowners in a public forum.

As tempting as all that additional revenue generated for the city from permit fees and taxes on high value properties might be, and despite generous campaign contributions to politicians from the developer community, current homeowners deserve to be heard above the clamouring and complaints of builders crying foul.

Strengthen the bylaw to reduce massive houses, do not water down common sense proposals and, above all, enforce the regulations!

Elizabeth Hardacre

Richmond

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