The City of White Rock will be taking a close look at how building heights are measured in response to concerns that manipulation of sites could enable construction of taller buildings in single-family zones. Contributed photo

The City of White Rock will be taking a close look at how building heights are measured in response to concerns that manipulation of sites could enable construction of taller buildings in single-family zones. Contributed photo

Building height calculations up for review in White Rock

City looks to forestall site manipulation in single-family zones

The City of White Rock will be considering different approaches to measuring building heights as a way to forestall manipulation of the ‘average natural grade’ of properties to enable construction of higher buildings in single-family zones.

At its Feb. 8 meeting council endorsed a staff recommendation to include this in a review of single-family home zones included in the city’s zoning bylaw, expected in the fall of this year.

In a corporate report, planning and development services director Carl Isaak told council the move came in response to a hillside resident’s concerns that site alteration activities on a neighbouring property could “artificially enable, through the stock-piling of soil, a taller building.”

The situation, Isaak said, “reportedly involved the stockpiling of enough quantities of soil that the concerned resident believes could impact slope stability and stormwater runoff.”

Unless the city goes through the lengthy process of creating a soil management bylaw, he added, it does not have a legal mechanism to prohibit site alteration that is not otherwise subject to a city approval process.

READ ALSO: Building heights on White Rock’s Marine Drive to be reviewed

READ ALSO: White Rock council to renew focus on limiting building heights

An alternative, he suggested, would be to investigate other ways of measuring building heights instead of starting at the average natural grade, White Rock’s traditional approach.

Average natural grade has been drawn from a B.C. Land Surveyor measurement of the grade at the midpoint of all four walls of a building footprint – prior to any construction or alteration of the site – from which an average measurement has been calculated.

“As most lots in the city have an existing building located on them, it is likely that some modification (or) landscaping of the yard in the setback area has occurred since the property was built on,” Isaak noted.

Isaak said practices in other Lower Mainland municipalities suggest other methods of measurement, however.

“If, alternative to this approach of using points inside the property lines, the measurement were tied to the corners or another point (or points) around the perimeter, or legal boundaries, of the property, the potential to manipulate grades to enable a taller building would be alleviated,” he said.

“Any such manipulation could affect the grading of a neighbouring property, resulting in a matter that could be resolved through civil proceedings.”

A motion to adopt the recommendation was passed unanimously.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White Rockdevelopment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

High winds Friday made perfect conditions for kite-surfers near the White Rock Pier. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Kite-surfers take flight near White Rock Pier

Aerial performance put on near iconic waterfront attraction

White Rock City Hall (Peace Arch News photo)
City of White Rock seeking input on draft financial plan

Plan includes tax rate increase of 4.28 per cent

B.C. researchers are asking for the public’s help in monitoring the bat population. (Cathy Koot photo)
Semiahmoo Peninsula residents asked to monitor bat activity

Researchers keeping eye on spread of white-nose syndrome

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Feb. 28

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

The Alzheimer Society of BC is hosting a number of webinars next month to help people prepare for financial and healthcare needs. (Contributed photo)
Alzheimer Society invites White Rock residents to series of educational webinars

Planning Ahead: Do it Now! webinar to be held March 10

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Lorne Ginther

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for missing Chilliwack woman sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother Shaelene Bell

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read