A group of Port Moody, B.C. residents are pressing for changes to local bylaws to stem what they see as a growing problem of so-called "monster" homes being built in their community, dwarfing other houses and obstructing views.
The advocates for change have started a Facebook group — The Good Neighbour Bylaw Port Moody — to document their concerns and bring pressure on the city to update its zoning requirements in their neighbourhood of Pleasantside.
Group member Tara McIntosh launched the page last month asking for people to join them in "protecting our city from the monster homes that are going up and blocking our views and reasonable land space".
McIntosh cited the Californian cities of Santa Barbara, Palos Verdes, and Sausalito as places where protection laws have been instituted to prevent residents' views from being obstructed by new construction.
Though current bylaws state a home can't exceed three storeys or 35 feet above grade, sloping lots give builders the option of constructing the homes at the highest point.
Square footage can also be increased if builders choose to not include a driveway, but rather maximize the home's footprint.
City council voted last week to take a look at the bylaw, which Mayor Mike Clay says is flawed.
"Trying to figure out how to define where grade is... being that we're right on the water and you know very close to the mountains, we have a lot of very steep lots in Port Moody," Clay says.
"It can make a lot of difference where you situate a 35-foot tall building on a lot. If you put it at the back and, you know, you've got a sloped lot, potentially you're 75 feet from the lot below you."
But, Clay says, nothing will be changed without public consultation to make sure everyone is clear on the issues, both long-term residents and those building to move into the community.
A council meeting has been scheduled for July 15.