British Columbia

Port Moody monster home owners must get neighbours' feedback, rules council

Port Moody city council has decided new homes and residences undergoing substantial renovations must get feedback from their neighbours before moving forward.

New homes and major renovations will be subject to three-week public commenting period

While the new public commenting process is not binding, Mayor Mike Clay hopes it will open a line of communication between neighbours. (Chris Staddon/Facebook)

Port Moody city council decided Tuesday new homes of any size and residences undergoing substantial renovations must get feedback from their neighbours before moving forward with any construction.

Mayor Mike Clay says it is a way to open up communication between residents and help ensure neighbourhoods remain consistent.

"I hate to use the word monster homes, but new bigger homes coming into older established neighbourhoods, where maybe the houses were built smaller and it's just changing the character of the neighbourhood... 

"[It's] just a way to start that conversation before a bulldozer is there and all of a sudden everybody says it's too late to change it now," said Clay.

The new process is part of the city's new Good Neighbour Guidelines and it allows a three-week commenting period for building permit applications for new houses, increases in height of an existing building or any expansion bigger than 50 square metres.

"The primary thing here is to let people know that there is some change coming...and let you get more information about it," said Clay.

"If there is something you see that concerns you, maybe you can start a dialogue with a person who is doing the project and say, 'Hey I've seen your plans and I am a little concerned about this.'"

How it works

Port Moody Mike Clay thinks residents are willing to work together to find a solution.
Property owners within 100 metres of the proposed construction site will receive a notification advising them a new building permit application is under review and the planned changes will be available for viewing at City Hall.

Additionally, a sign will be posted on the subject property so that neighbours outside of the 100 metre radius will also be informed of the proposed construction.

"No matter what you are building, we think it is right that the neighbours are made aware of it and given a chance to express their concerns, because I think most people are not out to make enemies of their neighbours," said Clay.

At the end of a three-week commenting period, officials will present the feedback to the permit applicant and discuss whether they have addressed any concerns.

Process not binding

However, there is no obligation for the applicant to comply with any of the suggestions or requests made by concerned neighbours.

"The part of the process that causes us concern is that if they are within zoning and within bylaws, we can't stop them from building their house," said Clay.

Despite the limitations, Clay thinks most people are willing to work with their neighbours.

"This doesn't need to be a neighbour-neighbour conflict and that's what we are trying to avoid...

"This is a process that gives them some communication, but it doesn't mean you can say, 'I don't like Larry so I'm not going to vote in favour of his house.'"

To hear the full interview with Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay, listen to the audio labelled Monster home mediation


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