The City of White Rock will be taking a close look at how building heights are measured in response to concerns that manipulation of sites could enable construction of taller buildings in single-family zones. Contributed photo

The City of White Rock will be taking a close look at how building heights are measured in response to concerns that manipulation of sites could enable construction of taller buildings in single-family zones. Contributed photo

Building height calculations up for review in White Rock

City looks to forestall site manipulation in single-family zones

The City of White Rock will be considering different approaches to measuring building heights as a way to forestall manipulation of the ‘average natural grade’ of properties to enable construction of higher buildings in single-family zones.

At its Feb. 8 meeting council endorsed a staff recommendation to include this in a review of single-family home zones included in the city’s zoning bylaw, expected in the fall of this year.

In a corporate report, planning and development services director Carl Isaak told council the move came in response to a hillside resident’s concerns that site alteration activities on a neighbouring property could “artificially enable, through the stock-piling of soil, a taller building.”

The situation, Isaak said, “reportedly involved the stockpiling of enough quantities of soil that the concerned resident believes could impact slope stability and stormwater runoff.”

Unless the city goes through the lengthy process of creating a soil management bylaw, he added, it does not have a legal mechanism to prohibit site alteration that is not otherwise subject to a city approval process.

READ ALSO: Building heights on White Rock’s Marine Drive to be reviewed

READ ALSO: White Rock council to renew focus on limiting building heights

An alternative, he suggested, would be to investigate other ways of measuring building heights instead of starting at the average natural grade, White Rock’s traditional approach.

Average natural grade has been drawn from a B.C. Land Surveyor measurement of the grade at the midpoint of all four walls of a building footprint – prior to any construction or alteration of the site – from which an average measurement has been calculated.

“As most lots in the city have an existing building located on them, it is likely that some modification (or) landscaping of the yard in the setback area has occurred since the property was built on,” Isaak noted.

Isaak said practices in other Lower Mainland municipalities suggest other methods of measurement, however.

“If, alternative to this approach of using points inside the property lines, the measurement were tied to the corners or another point (or points) around the perimeter, or legal boundaries, of the property, the potential to manipulate grades to enable a taller building would be alleviated,” he said.

“Any such manipulation could affect the grading of a neighbouring property, resulting in a matter that could be resolved through civil proceedings.”

A motion to adopt the recommendation was passed unanimously.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White Rockdevelopment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A barrel racer is seen at the Cloverdale Rodeo. (Photo courtesy Cloverdale Rodeo)
Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair postponed until later in 2021

Rodeo president say both public safety related to the pandemic and the removal of border restrictions will determine new date

A proposed multi-family, multi-building development in east White Rock was the subject of a public hearing Monday evening. (City of White Rock image)
Pros and cons of White Rock housing development debated at virtual public hearing

Affordable housing need, traffic concerns among reasons cited for and against Beachway project

The new Phoenix Flame BBQ truck serves as a “Mobile Community Kitchen” in the Surrey area. (Photo:
New ‘Phoenix Flame BBQ’ truck now mobile with food for Surrey’s ‘hard-to-reach populations’

Also launched: Another Surrey Honda Raffle to help the Surrey-based agency and others

Teachers at Maple Green Elementary in Surrey stage a walk-in before school on Wednesday (March 3, 2021), as Fraser Health continues to announce variant exposure cases at Surrey schools throughout the district. (Submitted photo: Julia MacRae)
Surrey Teachers’ Association calls for district-specific COVID-19 safety measures

STA holds third and fourth walk-ins after multiple COVID-19 variant exposures

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

Most Read