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LETTER: Large Central Saanich home didn’t need council approval

Central Saanich Council does not support mega houses on residential lots.

Since at least the 1970s the size of a house on a residential lot in Central Saanich has been determined by a percentage of lot size (e.g., 45 per cent in the R-1 zone). A small R-1 residential lot (780 square metres) could have a house with a maximum floor area of about 350 sq. m. A big 1,400-square-metre lot could have had a house with a floor area of more than 600 sq. m. I say “could have had” because this is no longer the case.

Council considered variance requests from the property owner of the large house referenced in a recent letter to the Review that would have permitted subdivision of this large lot allowing for two single-family homes. Council turned down these requests (a complex story itself); I recall the neighbours did not support the variances.

The consequence was that the property owner chose to exert his legal right to build a really big house. We live in a country governed by the rule of law. He could have built a big house on his large lot (1,419 sq. m.) at any time without ever coming to council for approval under the zoning bylaw in effect.

That does not mean council agreed with this choice. Council is not supportive of mega houses, reflected by its recent action in adopting bylaw amendments to limit the maximum size of houses on urban lots.

In order to protect rural and agricultural lands, the District of Central Saanich does not support new housing projects outside our urban containment boundary. The outcome is the difficult task of accommodating limited growth by approving new housing in already-developed areas through infill and densification.

Coun. Robert Thompson

District of Central Saanich