Letter: Richmond bylaws need to be fair to all

Dear Editor,

Re: “Megahome bylaw needs work: Residents,” News, April 23.

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Residents of Westwind subdivision should be commended for their analysis of the building bylaw and over-inflated houses. This was a significant project that has the potential to have positive impact on all of Richmond’s single-family neighbourhoods, something that we’ve needed for a long time.

There should be an immediate moratorium on new permits so that the bylaw can be repaired. Mayor Brodie is quoted as saying that a moratorium would impede homeowner rights, but he forgets that his first duty is to protect the rights of current homeowners/taxpayers, not someone who wants to build a new home according to a flawed bylaw.

Changes to the bylaw should include an honest, simple method of calculating total building height. In Richmond, you measure from the eaves to the top roof point and divide by two, then add this to the measurement from the eaves to ground level.

Another major change should be the alignment of Richmond’s allowable room height to conform to that used by Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey which all limit room height to 12 feet while Richmond’s nominal limit is 16 feet.

These high-ceiling rooms should always be counted as double floor space, but apparently this isn’t being done. This rule should be followed scrupulously — with every application.

If Richmond wants to be respected as a well-run municipality, it needs to ensure that its bylaws are transparent, fair, and equitably managed.

Marion Smith

Richmond

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