The application for building a house surprisingly faced opposition from neighbors

The application for building a detached house surprisingly faced opposition from more than 20 neighbors. Dealing with this department, if the neighbors oppose, the approval cannot be obtained — How to avoid it — Revealing the internal review process of the government during the construction.

An elderly Chinese grandmother in her 80s, building a house in Canada, faced rejection when applying to raise the ground level of her main floor and front yard to avoid steps, with no recourse for her pleas. What’s going on? Could buying a house on a slope have such pitfalls?

In this video, I will explain the ins and outs of this story to you, to see how heartless these government officials are.

The time was January 2019. The homeowner decided to rebuild the house. The plot is located on a south-facing slope, with the front higher than the back, with a significant slope. The homeowner’s mother, in her 80s, spent her whole life as a teacher and has a leg disability, requiring a cane when going out.

Due to the city’s height restrictions, the height of the roof is calculated by adding 9 meters to the height of the lower side (backyard), resulting in the highest point of the roof. This caused the main floor of the house to be lower than the street level. As the elderly grandmother had difficulty walking and the Greater Vancouver area experiences much rain and snow, uneven ground increases the risk of falling. Therefore, out of filial piety, the female homeowner asked if it was possible to keep the main floor at least as high as the front yard without changing the main floor’s height of 10 feet (3 meters) and the upper floor’s height of 8.5 feet (2.6 meters). Additionally, the highest point of the sloped roof exceeded the prescribed height limit (9 meters) by 70 centimeters (2/3 of a meter). The homeowner decided to apply for a change to allow an increase in height of approximately 70 centimeters, less than 1 meter.

This required an appeal to the Board of Variance (BOV).

We attached some photos proving the grandmother’s disability to the government’s appeal letter. The application was made in winter, and these photos were clearly taken in different seasons.

After receiving the application, the government sent letters to the surrounding neighbors. Some neighbors across the street complained that it obstructed their view and affected the value of their houses. However, the city planning department’s report refuted this, stating that it did not affect the surrounding neighbors.

Another neighbor’s complaint letter bluntly stated that the new house destroyed the neighborhood’s style and made the old house look shabby. (Shouldn’t new houses be built just because the old neighbors’ houses look shabby?) Although the government would not adopt such foolish reasons, opposition from neighbors would have a very adverse effect on our application.

At that time, our side, including the homeowner, spoke out. The main emphasis was on the actual difficulties of the elderly grandmother and the fact that raising the roof by 70 centimeters would not have any impact on the surrounding environment and neighbors.

The city planner also issued a report.

Although most members of the Variance Committee are not professionals, they largely rely on reports issued by the city planning department. If the city’s report says it’s okay, they are likely to approve it; if the report says it’s not okay, approval becomes difficult.

The planning department’s report: The report acknowledges that the height of the front facade is far below the government’s height limit; the height excess is caused by the terrain [according to the elevation drawing, any part of the design house compared to the floor below is not higher, only the lowest point in the backyard is higher]. The report acknowledges that the increase in height does not have any impact on the surrounding neighboring houses and the environment.

Here it seems that the planning department should not object.

However, the following opinions suddenly changed the tone, proposing a bunch of unreasonable arguments, leading directly to the conclusion of opposition.

If we can prove that these arguments are all wrong, then it proves that his opposition is not valid.

The city government’s report probably has the following key points:

The main floor of the new house has been 10 feet (3 meters) high for many years [10 feet is definitely more comfortable than 9 feet, windows can be larger, lighting can be better, air circulation can be smoother, which is conducive to mental health. In order to make the front yard level, other residents in the house would have to give up the comfort and enjoyment brought by the ceiling height.] The city planner suggests that the main floor should be 9 feet, the basement 8 feet, and the upper floor 8 feet (in fact, according to the municipal bylaw, the basement does not affect the total height, and increasing the basement height only requires a little more digging down). The city’s report on the height of the basement clearly violates design common sense. Suggesting that the main floor should be lowered to the ground [lower than the front yard, contrary to our original intention]. Suggesting a downward sloping driveway in the front yard towards the house’s main entrance [in winter, once it freezes, it often becomes invisible black ice. Isn’t it easier for the elderly grandmother to stay in bed?] Outdoor stairs between the garage and the main floor [actually irrelevant to the application, the grandmother does not need to walk from the back, a woman or grandson can drive her in front] The report mentions a difference in height between the living quarters and the garage, requiring steps [calculated to need 7 steps; the design drawing shows 5 steps, considering that the flat land between the steps is not completely level, there is a slope uphill between steps. The actual building may only need 6 steps if the finished house deviates slightly. The planning department’s height and step count calculations are seriously flawed.] As a government planner, the roof height cannot be accurately calculated [actually, this calculation is very simple, it can be calculated even mentally] The reason for rejection is design preference [there are no other reasons] [It should be noted that design is always diverse and considers many factors. It cannot completely ignore the actual difficulties of the homeowner just because of design preferences – you can’t say: you have a design preference, so we don’t acknowledge your hardship. Logically, this doesn’t hold water.] There is no mention from start to finish of the grandmother’s health issues; there is no mention of whether the grandmother’s health issues constitute hardship or not [an insurmountable difficulty]. In other words, the grandmother’s health issues were never denied as constituting hardship. [Ultimately, the planning department’s provision of an erroneous report led to an incorrect decision by the committee.] The faults pointed out are all details, not the overall design and architectural style (such as shape, style, whether it is abrupt).

Research shows that many people with discriminatory biases first have a conclusion and then find reasons to validate their conclusion. It feels like this planner had already rejected you in his heart long ago, and the reasons were just found afterward, hence the myriad of errors.

You will find that this intelligent “urban planner” may have precisely quantified everything but overlooked the most critical thing in urban planning — human nature.

Nixon once said: Demand is diverse and cannot be defined. The right to choose without being confined is precisely the greatest need of humans.

As an urban planner: especially high-ranking officials in the government with the power of life and death, I believe compassion and benevolence are essential, especially towards vulnerable groups, who should be given more care. In the minutes of the BOV meeting, there are many precedents for approving an increase in building height, and there is no issue of setting a precedent here.

At the meeting, one of the members of the Appeals Committee, a white man, actually said that the main floor does not need to be 10 feet high and can be 8 feet high. Who would spend so much money building a house with an 8-foot ceiling? Were you transported back from 70 years ago? I am also a real estate broker, and I have shown many old houses in Shaughnessy and Point Grey in the west end of Vancouver to clients. Even houses built a century ago in the west end are often higher than 10 feet. In various cities, not just Vancouver, many old houses appear much higher than new houses. Next to a construction site I am working on, the old house is indeed much higher than the new house.

Freud once said that every word a person says reflects the subconscious. This committee member’s statement may represent his subconscious, “Although you have the ability to build a new house, you are only worthy of an 8-foot ceiling.” The same subconscious will also control his own life. Some people may only live in an 8-foot house all their lives. Western culture also emphasizes karma, trying to be kind to others as much as possible, and ultimately living a better life. So why not do it?

One of the committee members, a woman in her 60s, actually said at the meeting that her own mother was also in her 80s and could not live forever. There was no need to change the design for the elderly. This level of intelligence and emotional intelligence is worrying. Saying such things is really worse than saying nothing at all. Now it’s over; she doesn’t even have sympathy for her own mother, let alone an elderly grandmother of a different ethnicity who she doesn’t even know?

Who doesn’t have elderly parents or grandparents? Who doesn’t have old age? Everyone over 80 should just die? When she said this, she was speaking in front of city government officials, homeowners, builders, and other members of the committee. I think even if these people didn’t hear it, God definitely did. How can they be so heartless to an 80-year-old grandmother? This can’t simply be described as human nature; he is simply unworthy of the term human nature.

If the Appeals Committee is to provide an opportunity to break the zoning bylaw’s restrictions

The City Council has given them the power to override the planning department’s decisions, they should carefully judge and not just do what the planning department says, repeating the enforcement like a tape recorder. These judgments are random for the government, but for each person, they are the mountains of life.

These people lack confidence, hence the lack of diversity of opinions brought about by independent thinking. In the previous BOV, there was even a bearded Indian old man who dared to vote in favor when everyone else opposed. This committee is overwhelmingly opposed. In fact, requests to increase building height are often approved by the BOV.

When Harvard Medical School recruits students, it not only looks at academic performance but also looks at whether applicants have compassion and how much volunteer work they have done; the admissions test for medical schools in Australia includes an emotional intelligence test. Similarly, for positions in the government responsible for life and death decisions, which affect people’s quality of life, it’s really necessary to consider finding people who are willing to let compassion overflow rather than being cold-blooded or jealous.

Because: Indifferent power can kill.

This is a roof of a house that has already been built, photographed by a drone, with a flat area in the middle. But from the street, you can’t see the flat part of the roof at all. The lifespan of a flat roof is shorter than that of a sloped roof. I don’t understand why the city government doesn’t give a little leeway for this small increase in height. In recent years, many newly built houses have faced this situation. All we can do is smile. If you don’t buy a house on a slope when buying a house, and buy one on relatively flat ground, you can avoid this situation.

This meeting took place in early 2019, and the BOV committee has since been reconstituted. The house has already been built during the pandemic, but the grandmother is still stuck in China due to the pandemic and has not been able to come. I estimate that in a few more years, the grandmother will no longer be able to walk, and she will not be able to enjoy the new house, the Canadian air, and the scenery. [Here you can see that for the actual project, in order to make the front yard flat, steps were still left.] Even if the grandmother comes, as she ages, it will probably become increasingly difficult for her to go out for a walk.

The government’s decisions usually have no oversight mechanism, but people are doing it, and heaven is watching. Thanks to social media, there is an opportunity to supervise the government with public opinion. If you have made it this far, please give me a like. If you have any opinions on this matter, please leave a comment in the comments section below. If you have any questions about buying land to build a house or real estate transactions, please contact me. My website is and

Well, that’s it for today’s video, thank you everyone. See you in the next video!

独立屋建房申请居然有20多家邻居反对 还要跟这个部门打交道,邻居反对就不能获批


大家好,我是温哥华本那比建商和房地产经纪Gary Gao。

在这个视频里我会把这个故事的来龙去脉给您讲清楚 看看政府的这些老爷太太们有多冷血。






房子主层比街道低,老奶奶腿脚不好,出去散步的时候,上下台阶比较困难,再加上大温雨雪多,地不平容易摔倒,所以作为女人的屋主孝心一片,问我能否在不改变主层10尺(3米),楼上8尺半(2.6米)的情况下,房子主层地板至少不要低于前院,再加上楼板、坡屋顶等占去的高度,斜屋顶最高处的尖顶部分超出了规定高度(9米)之中的70公分(1米的2/3)。屋主决定申请变更争取让区划变更委员会批准, 允许屋主把房屋增高大约70公分,不到1米。

这就需要到 Board of Variance (BOV) 区划变更申诉委员会申诉。








  • 报告承认前立面的高度远远低于政府高度限制;超高是地形造成【根据立面图该设计房屋任何部分与下面的地坪相比,并没有超高,只是针对后院的最低点超高了】
  • 报告承认提高这么点高度的增加对周围的邻里房子和环境没有任何影响;


但是底下的这些意见画风一转,提出了一堆不合理的论证 ,直接导致他反对的结论



  •  新房主层10尺(3米)很多年前就是标配了【10尺肯定比9尺舒服,窗户可以更大,采光可以更好,空气循环可以更流畅,有助于心理健康,为了前院平,家里其他人就得放弃层高带来的舒适和享受】
  • 市府规划师建议主层9尺,地下室8尺,楼上8尺(实际上在按照该市附例规定来计算地下室不影响总高度,地下室增加层高只要多往下挖一点就好了)市府的报告关于地下室高度这点明显违背设计常识
  • 建议主层往地面压低【比前院更低了,跟我们申请的初衷适得其反】
  • 建议前院朝房子主入口的方向改向下的坡道 【冬天一结冰,经常是看不见的黑冰,老太太钻被窝是不是更容易了?】
  • 车库和主层之间的室外楼梯台阶【其实跟申请不相干,老奶奶不需要从后面走,女人或外孙开车带她出入的时候可以在前面上下车】
  • 报告说住房和车库高差  尺, 【经计算需要  节台阶】;设计图上是  节台阶,如果考虑台阶之间的平地不是完全平,有一个上坡的坡度。出入不大,实际建好的房子稍有出入只需要 节台阶。规划部门的高度和台阶数计算严重错误;
  • 作为政府规划师,屋顶高度算不清楚【其实这个计算很简单,心算都能算出来】
  • 拒绝的理由就是design preference 【(设计偏好)- 没有其它的理由】
  • 【要知道设计从来就是多元的,会考虑很多因素,不能因为设计偏好如何就完全忽略屋主的实际困难 – 不能说:你有design preference,所以我们不承认你有hardship。逻辑上行不通。】
  • 自始至终完全没有提到老奶奶的健康问题;没有提到说老奶奶的健康问题属于hardship or not 是否是【无法克服的困难】。也就是说并没有否定老奶奶的健康问题属于hardship
  • 【最终规划部门提供错误的报告导致委员会错误的决定】
  • 挑的毛病都是细节,不是总体设计和建筑风格(比如形状、风格是不是突兀的问题)






花了这么多钱建房子谁会做8‘高啊。您老是70年前穿越过来的吗?我也是地产经纪,我带着客人看过很多温西Shaughnessy,point grey的老房子,即便一个世纪以前建的,温西也有很多房子层高都不止10尺高了呢。各个城市,不只是温哥华,很多老房子看起来都比新房高不少。我正在建的一个工地旁边的老房子,确实不新房子还高不少。




如果说申诉委员会就是给了机会,打破zoning bylaw的限制

  • 市议会给了他们权力否决规划部门的决定,他们就应该认认真真地去判断,而不是规划部门说什么,他们就干什么,复读机式执法。这些判决对政府来说是随机的,而落在每个人的身上,都是生活的大山。


哈佛大学医学医学院招生 的时候,不仅看学习成绩,更重要的是看申请者有没有同情心,做了多少义工;澳洲医学院的招生考试里包括有情商测试。同样的,政府里面操持生杀大权的职位,关系到人们的生活品质,真的也要考虑找些宁可同情心泛滥也不要冷血的人或者嫉妒心泛滥的人了。




政府的决定通常没有什么监督机制,但是人在做,天在看。感谢社交媒体,提供了一个舆论监督政府的机会。如果您已经看到了这里,麻烦给我点个赞。如果您对这件事有什么看法,请在下方评论区留言。大家如果在买地建房和房地产买卖当中有什么问题,请跟我联系。我的网站是 和。


Gary Gao, licensed Realtor® with Grand Central Realty, a licensed real estate brokerage in BC. Gary is also the principal of CitiDesign Build Inc., which is not affiliated with Grand Central Realty. CitiDesign and Gary are licensed builders in BC. Contact Gary.

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