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

Agricultural Land Commission approves cannabis facility in Beaver Creek

Proposed facility outside Port Alberni had been caught up in ALR red tape

Alberni writer and poet to read at Words on Fire

Chelsea Comeau has her own freelance writing and editing business

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Alberni Valley Community Foundation opens grant application process for 2020

Nearly $30K available for Port Alberni-based charities

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Most Read