Squamish proposes size limit to homes 

Buildable area would be limited to 33 per cent of lot size

With analysts and realtors tapping Squamish as the next boomtown for the Lower Mainland, local government is taking steps to ensure that new money and investment doesn’t result in the construction of more overly large houses, sometimes called monster homes by some opponents.

Under the Squamish District’s current RS-1 zoning, the maximum size house allowed on a 6,000 square foot lot is 5,950 sq. ft. – 33 per cent of the 6,000 sq ft. footprint, times three stories.

The district is now proposing amendments to the bylaw that would include a floor area ratio. The footprint would remain the same for a 6,000 sq. ft. lot at 33 per cent, but a 0.45 floor area ratio would limit the home size to 3,300 sq. ft., including a 600 sq. ft. garage.

For lots over 6,000 sq. ft. the ratio would be 0.50. For a 7,500 sq. ft. lot that means a maximum square footage of 4,350, including a 600 sq. ft. garage.

The proposal, including the exact floor area ratio, will be presented by the Squamish District to council on April 4. It was presented to the public for input on Monday, March 27.

"The community has identified this need in our residential neighbourhoods," said Mayor Ian Sutherland. "We encourage everyone to become familiar with the proposed changes and share comments and suggestions with the district."

A public hearing will occur before the bylaw is adopted.

Squamish’s proposed floor area ratio is larger than other communities. Whistler’s FAR is 0.35 (to a maximum of 5,005 sq. ft.), North Vancouver’s is 0.35 (plus 350 sq. ft.), and Canmore’s is 0.40 (dwelling plus detached suite).

The maximum lot coverage or footprint, is somewhat more confining. Whistler and North Vancouver allow for 35 per cent coverage, and Canmore allows 40 per cent.

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