City Snapshots: Planning & Development

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Did you know the City has many policies and regulations to guide the use of land and buildings in the City? Learn about this and more:

  • click the image below for a snapshot
  • click the links provided on this page for more in-depth details


Did you know the City has many policies and regulations to guide the use of land and buildings in the City? Learn about this and more:

  • click the image below for a snapshot
  • click the links provided on this page for more in-depth details


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    Can/has the city suggested/required new multi story buildings be built with ‘enhanced’ BC lumber where possible?

    KenS asked 4 days ago

    The City is working with the Province of BC (Office of Housing and Construction Standards) in early adoption of new BC Building Code provisions that would allow construction of buildings up to 12 storeys, using encapsulated mass timber construction. These Code provisions permit the use of innovative engineered wood construction systems in ‘tall wood’ residential and commercial buildings. In June 2019, City Council approved participation with the Province in this program.  You can see the complete Staff Report here:  https://www.richmond.ca/__shared/assets/7_Early_Adoption_BC_Building_Code_PLN_07031954032.pdf   -NC

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    Just wondering... - could the Mighty Fraser River be economically used as a ‘run of the river’ electricity generator with appropriate safety provisions for people, fish, boats, etc.?

    KenS asked 4 days ago

    Thanks for this question Ken. At this stage, the City of Richmond has not investigated opportunities for run-of-river power. In terms of distributed clean energy generation, other forms of renewables such as wind power and hydro generation, as well as solar photovoltaic systems, may represent a better business case. Note that a technical study was conducted by the City of Campbell River a few years back, to determine if a tidal power project would be feasible in Discovery Passage. I’ve included a link here:  https://www.campbellriver.ca/planning-building-development/green-city/renewable-energy/tidal-power. -CT

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    I’ve recently read about a new type of concrete manufacturing process that is actually carbon neutral...I believe it is referred to as LC3...is/can it be made available/required for any/all concrete building of any/all types in Richmond?

    KenS asked 4 days ago

    Great question. There is no carbon-neutral cement available in BC yet. However, the concrete industry locally and globally is looking at ways to lower the carbon footprint of cement and concrete. We understand that Lafarge Holcim has several projects underway to move toward zero-emissions. 

    The Cement Association of Canada is developing a roadmap to achieve deeper emissions reductions in carbon emissions, broadly covered on their website: https://www.cement.ca/sustainability/#  - NC

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    Is there an optimal roof angle/exposure for solar panels in Richmond and, if so, can that be required/advised for new buildings to assist with new or future retro fitting for solar installation?

    KenS asked 4 days ago

    Hi Ken, In the northern hemisphere and at this latitude (just north of the 49th Parallel for metro Vancouver) the optimum southern-facing aspect generally ranges from 10-15 degrees of slope on a flat roof. It should be mentioned that current solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are quite efficient at generating power, and panels do not necessarily need to be mounted at an optimum angle to the sun. In other words, they are still efficient at generating kilowatts when the sun is low in the sky (early morning, late afternoon and winter) in comparison to older models. What this means is that new solar panels, rack-mounted on a steep roof slope of 30-45 degrees can generate just as efficiently as panels on a low slope (ballast-mounted) system on a flat roof. Solar photovoltaic suppliers and installers will advise on specific technical considerations of their products, including proper slope aspect and solar generation potential.

    Additionally, the City of Richmond has installed a solar hot water heating system at Thompson Community Centre, and is investigating solar thermal technology as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in City facilities that have high hot water use. Solar thermal is of interest to the City, as these systems will directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using the sun as a heating source, instead of natural gas.

    We have also installed a ‘Solar Wall’ at the South Arm Community Centre. This technology uses the sun’s energy on a south-facing wall to preheat intake air, which is routed and situated close to the air handling unit (part of the HVAC system in the building). By pre-hearing the air, the natural gas consumption (and carbon emissions) of the building is reduced. -NC

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    Is the current state of development in solar panels and battery storage advance enough to consider retro fitting municipal buildings to use it as a cost saving measure with a realistic payback time frame?

    KenS asked 4 days ago

    The City of Richmond has considered rooftop solar photovoltaics (often shortened to PV) arrays for some City buildings where there is an opportunity to generate power, as well as become familiar with solar PV technology, grid interconnection and maintenance requirements. Notably, the City has implemented a 136-panel rooftop solar PV array at the new Brighouse Fire Hal No. 1, which will generate up to 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Here's a ling to the news release: https://www.richmond-news.com/news/richmond-fire-hall-fitted-with-over-100-solar-panels-1.24175258

    For combined solar PV and battery applications, this technology is generally at an early stage of development, but there may be feasible application in specialized projects. For example, we are currently undertaking a pilot project at our Civic Works Yard that utilizes power from an onsite solar PV array, combined with battery storage, that will provide backup power to a nearby sanitary pump station. The City is interested in exploring this as a resiliency measure, to ensure continued operation of civic infrastructure (such as pump stations) during power outages. -NC

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    Why is the city allowing farm land to be used to residential mansions?

    Rey asked 7 days ago

    Thank you for your question. The City permits a single-family dwelling to be constructed within a defined farm home plate, which preserves the remaining area for agriculture/farming. In the recent past the City of Richmond went through an extensive review of residential policies and regulations on properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) that permit residential uses. This process included community consultation. This, along with legislative changes to the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) Act and associated regulations, has resulted in a revised set of policies and regulations that establish limits on the size of residential development on farmland. For more information, please visit the City’s Farmland Housing Regulations webpage (this link will take you away from this project page.)  -SS

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    Thanks for having these information sessions online. I have found them very interesting and appreciate being included in Richmond planning for the future.

    gdn asked 7 days ago

    Thanks for letting us know you are finding this interesting, and you’re very welcome, it’s our pleasure. If you have any suggestions on how we can build on City Snapshots, please let us know. -SS

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    The process is far too slow. I see development proposal signs that sit on a property for years while the owner is paying interest and carrying costs trying to get approved.

    wattis asked 7 days ago

    Thanks for your comment. The timeline of development applications can be lengthy because it’s impacted by numerous factors. The applicant must provide thorough information, and often that takes time. Then the applicant often submits change requests. We understand this and are prepared for it. As the process flows, different departments (e.g.: planning, transportation, engineering and fire) must review aspects of the application before it can be forwarded to Council for review and the public for input. Once the change in use and the form and character of the building have been approved, the project must be reviewed in detail for compliance with the BC Building Code to ensure it meets life and safety requirements.  -SS