This Week in History: City council slams oversized houses


Photo City of Vancouver circa 1985 – 1036 Salsbury Drive

Vancouver city council is slamming the door on the recent trend towards oversized houses in single-family neighbourhoods.

No further building permits will be issued for single-family houses in the city until a number of changes to the zoning regulations becomes law on April 29.

The changes will reduce the maximum size of new houses, enforce stiffer rules on the size of yards and distances between adjoining houses and reduce the heights of new buildings.

The proposed changes resulted from a series of public meetings last month at which the majority of concerned residents asked for council’s help in preventing neighbourhoods from being swallowed up by “Vancouver specials.”

One East Vancouver resident said the houses were ruining the character of older neighbourhoods, as contractors were tearing down smaller but well-maintained older homes for new brick and stucco monstrosities that overshadowed the homes that remained.

“These things are ugly,” said B.M. Murphy. “They’re ruining the neighbourhood. Why should a nice old home be lost just to be replaced by one of these huge things that look identical to hundreds of others around the city?”

Alderman Marguerite Ford told council Tuesday that she had seen a recent real estate advertisement that offered two new houses on the same block — each containing seven bedrooms and five bathrooms. “With two of these on the block everyone else’s is just worth the land value,” she said.

Alderman George Puil also complained that the trend towards oversized houses was ruining single-family neighbourhoods. “We’re trying to retain the quality of Vancouver’s single-family residences,” he said. “People are disturbed by the destruction of the single-family neighbourhood.”

Planning staff reported to council that new home building permit applications were up 50 percent in the first quarter of this year — 310 compared with 202 during the January to March period of last year.

At the crossroads… If you’re a Mount Pleasant resident concerned about the future of your neighbourhood, don’t miss tonight’s (April 10) meeting at city hall council chambers to review and comment on the area’s draft over-all policy plan. Council is asking for public input at the public meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. For information phone 875-6261 Photo Jim Hutson

This story was taken from the EastEnder newspaper archives from 1986 Vol. 3, No. 30 April 10, 1986.