VIDEO: Realtor of massive house for sale says new ALR rules would hurt wealthy farmers

A 14,500-square-foot King Road home is the fourth largest to ever hit the market in Abbotsford

Proposed new rules limiting the size of homes that can be built on agricultural are overly restrictive and will penalize wealthy farmers, says a realtor currently selling a 14,000-square-foot mansion.

Last month, the province announced that it intends to pass legislation that will ban the building of new mansions over 5,400 square feet on farmland unless the owners can show they will benefit agriculture. Most homes that have been built on agricultural land over the last three years would have been barred under the proposed new rules, which aim to discourage estate homes from gobbling up the region’s precious farmland.

This week, one such estate home – a 14,500-square-foot, six-bedroom, 10-bathroom house on King Road – went up for sale this week. The house is the fourth largest to ever be put up for sale in Abbotsford, according to realtor Jonathan Gelderman. The mansion was built by the owner of an adjacent farm. The home also functions as a bed-and-breakfast and has a ground floor with a commercial-style kitchen and rooms that can host conferences.

The cost of agricultural land in the Lower Mainland, Gelderman said, is that those who farm are either rich or have pooled their resources with extended family.

“To own a farm you have to be wealthy in the valley. You’re not going to get a five- or 10-acre farm, fully operational, without millions of dollars … so people here farming are wealthy and for you to tell a wealthy person they can’t have a nice home is insane,” he said.

Those who aren’t individually wealthy, but have bought land with extended family, are not allowed to build multiple non-modular homes on the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Construction of single, larger houses is the natural result of that policy, Gelderman said.

He said a more effective means to ensure the productive use of ALR land would be to increase the amount of farm income a property owner needs to show in order to qualify for significant tax breaks.

“I know a lot of people – quote, unquote – farming in Abbotsford and the reason they farm – in quotes – is because they want to pay less property tax,” Gelderman said.

That so-called farming, he said, isn’t actually productive.

“If you took that threshold and bumped it up to … something meaningful, then what’s going to happen is, if they’re not actually operating a farm and you have to tax them on the full value of their estate, they’re going to be paying gobs of money.”

The province has said that the proposed changes may not be the end of new rules, and a panel aimed at “revitalizing” the ALR has highlighted the issue. The City of Abbotsford did the same in a letter to the Minister of Agriculture earlier this year. Meanwhile, Gelderman says the value of mansions like that which he is selling on King Road will only increase.

“Homes like this are going to go up [in value] because you can’t build them anymore,” he said. “Right now, people who want a home of this magnitude want to build it themselves. But if the government takes that right away, houses like this are going to jump up.”

RELATED: Most homes being built on Abbotsford farmland exceed new size limits

RELATED: Abbotsford asks for help enforcing ALR rules

RELATED: Agricultural Land Reserve changes heading in right direction, say ag reps


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Maple Ridge councillor runs afoul of Coastal GasLink protester

Northern pipeline not a Maple Ridge issue, insists Coun. Gordy Robson

LETTER: New procedures to address council are a big concern

Donna Clay says asking public to wait until end of meetings to raise questions is inpractical

Ridge Meadows house leage softball sign-up this Thursday

Players have the option to register in-person or online

Ridge Meadows Hospice Society there for seniors dealing with grief and loss

Discussion on grief and loss to take place at the Maple Ridge Public Library

Cyclist hit Monday in Maple Ridge

Collision on Dewdney Trunk Road, minor injuries

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read