©2018 by BC Farmland Owners Association.

TIMELINE OF HOUSE SIZE ISSUE

  • In May of 2017, after extensive and thorough consultation, the City of Richmond adopted a policy to reduce the size of homes that can be built on farmland.

  • The policy sets out of the following:

    • On properties of up to 0.5 acres in size, homes of up to 5,382 sqft may be built

    • On properties sized greater than 0.5 acres, the maximum home size cannot exceed 10,763 sqft

  • As part of the City of Richmond conducted a 6-month review of bylaws adopted in May 2017 that established limits to residential development on land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, Council directed Staff on December 20, 2017 to conduct a public consultation regarding options to limit house size, farm home plate and house footprint on the City's agriculturally zoned land (AG 1 zone).

  • The public consultation process took place between February 1 and February 18, 2018 online and mail forms, and three public open houses.

    • 525 online and hard copy feedback forms were received.

    • 504 of those indicated that they were Richmond residents

    • 408 of those self-declared that they are a non-farmers

  • The results of the consultation were as follows:

    • 73% of Non-Farmers stated that they wished to have the farm home plate area reduce.

    • 68% of Non-Farmers indicated that they wished to have the entire septic system within the farm home plate.

    • 90% of Farmers stated that they DID NOT want the farm home plate area to be reduced.

    • 93% of Farmers stated that they DID NOT want to have the septic systems within the farm home plate.

  • After the consultation concluded, on March 20, 2018, the Planning Committee of the City of Richmond sent a recommendation to Council to reduce the maximum house size on farmland to 5,382 sq. ft.

  • On March 26, 2018 after hearing numerous delegations from farmers and people in the farming industry, Council voted to maintain the House Size laid out in the May 2017 bylaw and allow more time for the true effects of the current policy to be seen before making any decision on further restrictions.

  • In early 2018, the Honourable Lana Popham, British Columbia Minister of Agriculture, established an independent advisory committee for “Revitalizing the Agricultural Land Reserve and the Agricultural Land Commission”

  • From February through April of 2018, the Committee conducted a public engagement campaign

    • During this period, the committee only heard from 2271 people on House Sizes

    • Out of which only 392 responses stated that large homes should not be permitted on ALR land (7% of 61 written responses and 29% of 1340 online responses)

    • Out of over 2200 responses, only 12% respondents believed that the Provincial Government should regulate house sizes

    • Out of over 2200 responses, only 10% respondents believed that Local Governments should regulate house sizes

  • Despite such a small number of respondents that were not verified as being farmers or residents of British Columbia, On November 5th, 2018, the Provincial Government tabled Bill 52, known as the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, which will make three key changes if passed:

    • The BC government will reinstate one zone for all ALR land in British Columbia. This would ensure that all land in the ALR receives the same amount of protection.

    • The sizes of new houses will be limited to less than 500 square metres (5,400 square feet). This rule can only be bypassed with an application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) with direct proof that it would support farming.

    • Introducing increased fines and penalties to crack down on the dumping of construction debris and toxic waste.

  • Bill 52 received 1st reading on November 5, 2018. Timeline for 2nd reading, committee and report stage has not been determined yet.

  • On November 15, 2018, farmers from across British Columbia came together to form the BC Farmland Owners Association. This organization has been formed to ensure that BC’s farmers have a seat at the table when decisions about their livelihoods and the future of their families are being made.

  • On November 19, 2018, the BCFOA sent letters to the Premier, Minister of Agriculture, Parliamentary Committee Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the Green Party outlining our concerns of reducing house sizes by an arbitrary number and the negative impact it will have on countless families from across BC. We will be asking that amendments be made to Bill 52 to allow more time for thorough consultation that includes farmers before any further restrictions are made.​

  • The BCFOA will also request the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food to allow the BCFOA to appear as a delegation and make a formal presentation when Bill 52 is brought to the committee.