White Rock considers coach house ban

WHITE ROCK — With density being top of mind for so many residents these days, White Rock council is looking at banning coach houses in an effort to keep single family lots just the way they are.

The idea was brought forth by Coun. Alan Campbell at the Sept. 8 council meeting, who felt the idea of coach houses in White Rock were "just another loophole" for people to densify and essentially subdivide their lots where they shouldn’t be.

"I feel there is no place for them in our city – single-family lots are single-family lots," he said. "It’s so important we uphold this. These coach houses are 25 feet high and suddenly plunked in… looking into people’s back gardens."

Referring to coach houses already existing in White Rock, Campbell said the city was initially told they would be a good idea, but after hearing from residents and seeing the results for himself, he would now like to see them banned entirely.

Campbell also recalled speaking with a resident who wanted to build a coach house for her son who couldn’t afford to live elsewhere, but after asking her to look at some of the others in the city, she ended up agreeing with him.

For those concerned about affordable housing, Cambpell said there already exists the ability to build additions onto existing homes.

Coun. Helen Fathers echoed Campbell’s statements, and said she went to look at a development pretending to be a buyer and was told by the agent that she would be able to put in a basement and coach house, even if it wasn’t on the original proposal.

"I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth," she said.

However, rather than outright banning the structures at the Sept. 8 meeting, council instead voted to put a moratorium on coach houses while staff looked into the issue.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said there may be some other properties in the city – such as the large ones on Marine Drive – that may end up being caught in a ban.

On such large properties, Baldwin suggested coach houses wouldn’t be an issue to anyone and wanted to make sure they weren’t limiting everyone’s options right off the bat.

As such, council voted unanimously to put any future coach houses on hold for the time being with an eye to possibly ban them at a later date.

cpoon@nownewspaper.com

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