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Mixed reaction after Richmond approves new home size limits

Last Updated May 15, 2018 at 7:00 am PDT

Richmond home (Source: Google Maps)

Vote ends days of heated public hearings

Some don't believe the changes go far enough

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – Richmond has banned the future construction of so-called mega homes on its farmland, but some locals don’t think council has gone far enough to protect them.

Farmers like Miles Smart believe limiting the sizes of homes on agricultural land is a start, but council needs to do more. “We wanted to see was further restrictions on house sizes so that people who had the idea of building a mansion and not paying any property taxes would be less liable to be buying up the farms that I hope to buy,” says Smart.

City council approved new house size limits after more than 20 hours of debate and days of heated public hearings.

Mayor Malcom Brodie isn’t surprised the topic attracted so much attention. “We knew at all times this would be a very hot and controversial topic,” says Brodie. “It’s in the DNA of people in Richmond that they care about their farmland.” He adds preservation of farms, farming and farmers is one of the highest values in Richmond.

New restrictions essentially state you can’t build anything that’s larger than one-thousand square metres (10,764-square-feet) on properties a half-acre or larger.

For properties under half an acre, new homes can’t be more than 500 square metres (5,382 square feet), but Smart says that’s still too large. “Currently I live in a very modest house, of under 1,000 square feet, and the thought that somebody would need a house 11 times that for a farming operation is ludicrous.”

The debate on home sizes comes after claims that there are too many mega homes being built on agricultural properties, by people who have no intention of every farming on that land.

Some farmers do however argue they need larger properties for family.

Brodie claims the issue is resolved for now, but council will be reviewing the situation in the next six months.

He admits there’s always room for improvement, but one thing is for sure. “The logical conclusion, the more land you have for farming means more farming and all of council, no matter which way people voted, are concerned about the idea that too much is being taken with the house and the farm home plate.”