Paul Liberatore

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West Van meeting


It will be a question of character in West Vancouver council chambers Monday evening — neighbourhood character.

Council is scheduled to debate new regulations that touch on the hot button issue of "monster homes."

Proposed bylaws would limit the size of new homes by tethering their allowable floor space to neighbouring lots. Any new home could be a maximum of 50 per cent bigger than the largest home on the smallest lot in the same neighbourhood, if the motion passes.

Since the 1980s, West Vancouverites have raised concerns about large mansions replacing historic housing stock, according to a staff report.

“There is a general feeling of loss of what West Vancouver represents,” wrote Chris Bishop, the district’s manager of development planning.

Council is also scheduled to discuss related issues such as grade manipulation, which can be used to exclude a basement from a home’s total floor area.

A crowd of builders and developers packed council chambers last October, arguing that new regulations over house size would strip freedoms from homeowners and cause the district's real estate market to plummet.

“West Vancouver's no longer a fishing village," said real estate agent Marc Burrows at the October meeting. "Longtime residents are so desperate to preserve the social and domestic setting of 30 years ago, but those goals are deterring the next generation from investing here."

While the majority of builders do fine work, there is a need for new rules, according to Mayor Michael Smith.

"We do have some builders that really don't give a fig about the neighbourhood and act as if this was Newton instead of West Vancouver," he said in October

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