IE10 and below are not supported.
Contact us for any help on browser support
You are here:
Please complete this feedback form by 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018.
You need to be signed in to take this survey.
Richmond City Council adopted a number of bylaw amendments in 2017 to better preserve land for agriculture. The bylaws provide new regulations for residential development on the City's agricultural land. As part of a 6-month review on those bylaw amendments, Council reviewed options to further limit house size (floor area), farm home plate, and to consider a maximum house footprint limit on agricultural properties of 0.2 ha (0.5 ac.) or larger. The City wants to hear from you before Council considers these options. The City also wants to hear from you on what other levels of government can do to encourage farming activity and reduce speculation of farmland.
The term 'farm home plate' means the portion of the lot including the principal dwelling unit, any residential accessory buildings or residential accessory structures, including the driveway, decorative lawns and landscaping, artificial ponds and sewerage septic tanks, in one contiguous area. Under the current City regulations, the septic field is not included in the farm home plate area. The figure below illustrates a typical farm home plate. Note: Images can be viewed in a larger format in the Document Library on this page.
The maximum area of a farm home plate depends upon the size of the lot. The City's farm home plate regulation is a made-in-Richmond approach that reflects the high number of small agricultural lots, and ensures that every agricultural lot has an area that can be farmed for years to come.
The City's regulation for farm home plate has four lot area categories as follows:
Under the City's current regulations, the septic field area does not have to be located within the farm home plate area (only the septic tanks).
City Council directed that staff review if it is technically possible to include the septic field area within a reduced farm home plate area, and review a series of house size options. In order to require the septic field within the reduced farm home plate, the footprint of the house would have to be regulated to ensure that all aspects of the residential improvements fit within the farm home plate (e.g., house, garage, septic field, driveway, recreational lawn). This regulation would be known as the 'house footprint' which would regulate the maximum amount of land that the ground floor of the house can occupy.
One way to accommodate the maximum floor area for a house is to restrict the house footprint but distribute the floor area in 2 or 3 stories. A sample elevation of a 2 1/2 storey house and a full 3-storey house is illustrated below for reference purposes.
2 1/2 Storey House Example
House Footprint = 320 m2 (3,440 ft2)
House Floor area = Approx. 790 m2 (8,500 m2)
3 Storey House Example
House Footprint = 264 m2 (2,840 ft2)
House Floor Area = Approx. 790 m2 (8,500 ft2)
Note: Currently the maximum height of a house in the AG1 (Agriculture) zone is 10.5 m (34 ft.) and can include a maximum of 2 1/2 storeys.
For AG1 (Agriculture) zoned properties, the maximum house size is regulated by a floor area ratio (FAR) similar to what is used in the City's single detached (RS) zones. However, the AG1 (Agriculture) zone establishes absolute maximum house size limits as shown below:
Protecting farmland and encouraging its viability to be farmed is considered a high priority by both Council and the Province. The protection and use of farmland is regulated by different levels of government (e.g., local, provincial and federal). The Provincial Agricultural Land Commission, in cooperation with local government, regulates and administers the use of land that is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Locally, the City of Richmond has the ability to control the siting and massing of residential and agricultural buildings and structures.
The City also collects property taxes based on the assessment value and classification provided by the BC Assessment Authority. Farm classifications are given to properties that are farmed and meet BC Assessment's farming requirements which are then regulated by the Province.
The Province also has the ability to set other taxes such as the Property Transfer Tax and the Foreign Buyers Tax (note: the Foreign Buyers Tax does not currently apply to agricultural land). These taxes can be used to discourage speculation of farmland for non-farming purposes.