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Reviewing Big House Plans


The bylaw authorizes consideration of "the adequacy of the site, in terms of size and location, for the proposed size and siting within the parcel of the structure and the likely impact of the increased intensity of use including potential detriment to  the surrounding area, community amenities and natural or historic characteristic of a site and neighborhood in which it is located."
Some specifics from the bylaw:

1.  The development site shall be preserved in its natural state to the maximum extent, so 
as to minimize removal or alteration of native vegetation, soil and other natural features 
such as existing or natural slopes, flood plains, hilltops, dunes and coastal banks and to 
preserve the integrity and scenic qualities of natural features. The applicant shall 
demonstrate that any grading or earth-moving resulting from construction in excess of 
that amount allowed by right shall be designed and executed so as to maintain final site 
contours consistent with existing terrain both on and adjacent to the site. 
2.  Proposed structures shall minimize obstruction of water views and other scenic views 
from publicly accessible locations.  

3.  Proposed structures shall preserve and protect unusual or rare natural features of the 
parcel and historical features of existing structures. 

4.  Construction and siting of proposed structures shall be designed to protect unusual or 
significant environmental resources, including groundwater quality and recharge volume 
and the water quality of potentially affected coastal and surface water bodies and, for that 
purpose, storm water infiltration systems shall be designed so that natural runoff 
characteristics shall not be increased, groundwater recharge is maximized, pollution 
impacts are minimized and neighboring properties will not be adversely affected. 

5.  Exterior lighting shall be designed and maintained so as to protect adjacent properties 
and the night sky from intrusive lighting; electric, telephone, cable and other utility lines 
shall be installed underground unless specifically waived. 

6. Proposed structures shall  be integrated into the existing terrain and surrounding 
landscape, and, while  variation in detail, form, siting and setting shall be encouraged, 
construction shall maintain compatibility of height, scale and bulk in relation to existing 
development within the neighborhood by avoiding substantial differences in scale and 

7. On sites with significant slope or other grade changes, structures shall be sited and 
designed so as to minimize extreme variation in mass and scale when viewed from 
various perspectives and variation in scale and mass of segments of a structure shall be 
encouraged as a means to avoid excessive downhill exterior wall faces.