Big farmhouse

This drawing shows the plan for a new 653 square metre home on Kelowna farmland. City council has endorsed the project even though provincial regulations specify a maximum of 500 square metres for new homes.

A large house should be permitted on farmland because it'll be occupied by several generations of the same family, Kelowna councillors say.

Council endorsed plans by the Baring family to build a 653 square metre home at 298 Cornish Rd. New provincial rules aim to limit the size of new homes on farmland to 500 square metres.

But the NDP government has signalled its intention to provide a size exemption for homes that are occupied by farming families with different generations living under one roof. That was the proviso under which Kelowna council agreed unanimously to support the Baring's building plan.

"I think it's good for farming," Coun. Luke Stack said. "I'm very pleased to see this family working hard together to use the land productively."

"This is a multi-generational family that wants to live and work together," said Coun. Mohini Singh.

Based on the number of Baring family members who will live in the house, it's per-person square footage is in line with Canadian building standards, planner Dean Strachan told council. "It's not an excessive amount of space," he said.

In response to a question from Coun. Charlie Hodge, Strachan said there would be nothing to prevent the Strachan's from selling the large home after it was built, should they choose to do so.

"New owners wouldn't have to remove part of the building. But it couldn't be converted to a multi-family building," Strachan said.

The 500 square metre limit on new farmland houses was introduced by the provincial government as an attempt to discourage the proliferation of mega-mansions on agriculture land, often constructed by people who have little or no interest in farming.

The four owners of the Cornish Road property are Balwinder Baring, Harpreet Baring, Sukhwinder Baring, and Gurpreet Baring.