Richmond mega-mansion on designated farmland was illegally operating as high-end hotel

Richmond ALR mega mansion listed as guesthouse on travel websites
WATCH: A Richmond mega-mansion built on a former farm on the Agricultural Land Reserve has been listed on travel websites as a fancy guesthouse but as Grace Ke reports, the owners say they're not behind the illegal short-term rental listing.

A mega-mansion on designated farmland in Richmond was being advertised online as a high-end guesthouse.

The house, located on Steveston Highway, was available for rent on a nightly basis, according to online posts. The house included amenities such as a spa tub, fitness centre and housekeeping.

The owners told Global News a tenant had posted the ad as a short-term rental without a licence. Both received a fine and the tenant was evicted.

WATCH: Richmond looks to address mega-homes built on farmland

Richmond looks to address megahomes built on farmland
Richmond looks to address megahomes built on farmland

“They have received a number of tickets for infractions,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said. “I am told that they have now applied for a licensed B&B.

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“They are in compliance now and they will be analyzed accordingly.”

Concerned citizens brought the house to the attention of city council, along with 5,500 signatures on a petition asking for a 5,300-square-foot cap on homes built on agricultural land, about half of what’s currently allowed.

“Whey you have speculation, houses built not for farming, you’re removing land from the ALR [ Agricultural Land Reserve],” Kelly Greene of the Richmond Citizens’ Association said.

“The story in Richmond is speculation. These are not farmhouses.”

Last spring, the city reduced the maximum size of a house on agricultural land to 10,700 square feet.

READ MORE: Richmond city council to review solutions to so-called ‘megahomes’ on farmland

A six-month review of last spring’s change is underway.

“There was some real positive effect in limiting the house size through those regulations,” Brodie said. “The question is, ‘Do we want to go farther?'”

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