Monster homes cause friction in Abbotsford

The city has received complaints about new houses that are out of scale with existing homes. - John Van Putten
The city has received complaints about new houses that are out of scale with existing homes.
— image credit: John Van Putten

The issue of monster homes is creating a divide among Abbotsford residents.

Complaints have been filed with the city regarding new home developments in mature, single family neighbourhoods – areas where the majority of homes were built before 1990.

The concerns were outlined in a presentation by Carl Johannsen, director of community planning, during last week’s council meeting.

Many believe the new homes are “out of scale” and “out of character” with the existing homes, causing “friction between residents.”

It was also suggested that the height and size of the new houses create privacy concerns and cause shadowing of adjacent yards, resulting in loss of mature trees.

In addition, they create more traffic and areas needed for parking.

Three juxtaposed housing examples were provided in the presentation, with one located south of Mill Lake Park, another near Old Yale Road in Clearbrook and a third near Ten-Broeck Elementary in Clearbrook.

The report also highlighted Surrey’s response to the same issue, which resulted in modified zoning to ensure future developments are more consistent with the neighbourhood. The amendments were determined following public consultation.

Similar bylaw and zoning changes were recommended by Abbotsford city staff. Also highlighted were the disadvantages, including devalued property and negative reactions from landowners who benefit from the current conditions.

Mayor George Peary said it is a complex issue and requires more research.

He commissioned city staff to continue to look at what other jurisdictions are doing and develop more recommendations.

Peary added that before any decisions are made, whether something is implemented on a neighbourhood basis or city wide, a public consultation will take place.

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