Residential Design Guidelines

for Single Family and Duplex Lots


The building design guidelines outline criteria which must be considered by the Lot Owner in the design and construction of improvements on the Lots. This comprehensive approach to building in the Olympic View residential neighbourhood will ensure that each individual Single Family Home, duplex or multifamily development fits in with and complements both previous and subsequent projects so that development proceeds harmoniously and predictably.

In the spirit of site adaptive planning and design and the nature of the site, these guidelines are conceived to guide development with a strong bond to the natural landscape. Significant trees and other site features should be saved wherever practical and excavation, blasting in particular, should be minimized.

The image above is of a landmark Mid-century modern home in Seattle, Washington. A strong bond to the landscape is a hallmark of mid-century modern design. Many of the other principles of the mid-century modern idiom in contemporary style are incorporated into these guidelines.



A certain degree of varied massing and facade articulation is encouraged in the building design to create interesting streetscapes. Buildings with no variation in massing are discouraged as are extremely free form structures with no sense of unity. (See Section 12, “Building Siting”)


The relationship of the various building elements, (roofs, walls, wall openings) which make up the building form should be carefully considered. The proportion and scale of these elements should be appropriate to the site.


  • Walls should be planar and should be designed to reinforce the simplicity and formal geometry of contemporary style.

  • Aluminum or vinyl siding that mimic other materials are not acceptable finish materials.

  • Standing seam or other similar profile steel or aluminum cladding is acceptable.

  • Natural wood, concrete, stone and stucco are recommended wall materials. Stucco shall be sand float, light pebble dash, or similarly subtle finish. Troweled pattern finishes are not acceptable.

  • Cementitious panels (e.g. Hardie Panel) or boards (e.g. Hardie board) may be considered provided no joints or corners are battened. For panels, when reglets are used for joints their colour must match the colour of the panel. Consideration should be given to higher quality composite panel products such as “Hardie Reveal” or “Swiss Pearl”.

  • Cultured stone is prohibited.

  • Wall finishes and/or colour must not terminate at an outside corner.

  • Walls that are heavily articulated with recesses, balconies, bay windows etc. are not acceptable.


Windows, doors, porches, decks and balconies form an important part of a building’s character and appearance. They should be well placed individual units. When used in combination, care should be taken to unify the composition and fit the scale of the building facade.


  • Large expanses of glass to reinforce the bond with nature are strongly encouraged.

  • Etched glass is prohibited.

  • Reflective or mirrored glass is prohibited.

  • Window and door frames may be wood, steel, aluminum, high quality vinyl, or fiberglass. A palette of neutral or muted earth tones is preferred. Finish colour to be noted on drawings and samples included on the colour and material boards.


  • To reinforce the bond with nature, multiple access points to outdoor spaces are encouraged.

  • All “man-doors” are to be weather-protected.

  • Doors should be solid core wood (painted or stained), insulated metal with a painted or approved prefinished colour or glass in wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass or high quality vinyl frames.

  • Overhead sectional garage doors should be wood or high quality steel (colour to be approved). Designs, which incorporate panels, especially glazed panels, are encouraged to break up the large expanses of the door and present visual variety to the street.


  • Balcony soffits should be of material and finishes appropriate to the rest of the building.

  • Porches should be an integral part of the building design. The proportion and scale of columns, posts and guardrails should be appropriate to the building massing and should complement other features and details.

  • Reflective or mirrored glass is prohibited.


Roof form is a key element in establishing building character as well as an important factor in unifying and protecting the building envelope.

  • Roof forms should be geometrically simple and composed of flat planes.
  • Flat and low pitched roofs are preferred, but steeper pitches may be considered.
  • Post and beam construction is encouraged.
  • Roof overhangs should be maximized to assist in creating the desired architectural character and to protect wall planes, doors, windows and the building envelope in general from precipitation.
  • For lots located downhill from others, in particular for lots 22 through 31, particular consideration shall be given to the impact of roof form and material on the view corridors of lots located.
Living room


  • For sloped roofs, colours shall be selected from a palette of neutral or muted earth tones. Samples must be provided for approval on the colour and material board.

  • All sloped roofs shall be clad with standing seam metal roofing unless otherwise approved by the approving architect.

Roof Details

  • Solar collectors must lie flat on the roof and may not be angled off the roof surface with supports.

  • Rooftop mechanical equipment or access stairway must be installed within the roof and not protrude above it.Antennae and satellite dishes are not permitted on the roof.

  • All flashing, roof stacks and vents must be in a pre-finished colour or painted to match or complement the roof colour. Brightly coloured or highly reflective flashing is not permitted.


  • A consistent use of a small number of finish materials chosen for their durability and natural quality is an important aspect of development at Olympic View. A variety of materials can add interest to a building, but too many can draw attention away from the surrounding natural environment.

  • A maximum of three types of wall materials and one roofing material is permitted, unless otherwise approved by the Approving Architect.

  • Materials should be complimentary to those of adjoining properties.


  • All colour schemes must be approved by the Approving Architect. A colour and materials board and samples must be submitted for review before a colour scheme can be approved.

  • No more than three colour shades should be used on a building (not including the colour of the roofing material).

  • Proposed colour schemes should harmonize with the natural setting at Olympic View and complement surrounding buildings.

  • Rich colours may be used judiciously to highlight building features such as doors,exterior window casings and trim, fascia boards, soffits, shutters and railings. Neighbouring properties should be considered when using strong, deep colours as accents.


These are transitional elements which connect the building to its surrounding landscape. Care should be taken to make this connection as strong as possible.Terraces and stairs should be constructed of stone, concrete or pressure treated wood ties (alone or in combination). Composite material decking may be used subject to approval by the Approving Architect. Surfaces may be stone, brick pavers, fine crushed gravel or concrete (alone or in combination).Exterior stairs over two feet high should be integrated into the overall form of the building.


  • Houses or garages must provide ground level storage areas for recreational equipment.

  • No accessory storage buildings or structures other than garages, screened carports and screened storage areas approved by the Approving Architect are permitted and unscreened outdoor storage is not acceptable.

  • Garbage and recycling containers must be stored within the building.


  • Lighting on the building should be installed only when necessary to provide safety or convenience and not for display. It must be kept to the minimum number fixtures required and may not be high intensity lighting. Floodlights are not permitted. The use of muted architectural lighting (e.g. soffit lighting) is acceptable.

  • Exterior lighting should be diffused, shielded, directional and concealed from neighbouring development and the street. Fixtures should be “Dark Sky friendly” by minimizing glare, uplighting and light trespass outside the target area.

  • Light fixtures on the building must be appropriate to the overall theme of the community.


Energy conservation shall comply with Provincial standards or as adopted by the City via bylaw or policy. Notwithstanding, as of January 2020 lot Owners are encouraged to comply with at least Step 3 of the British Columbia Step Code. Passive house principles and standards are encouraged.


This section outlines criteria, which must be considered by the Lot Owner in the development of each Lot. This comprehensive approach to siting at Olympic View will ensure that each individual Lot development fits with and compliments both previous and subsequent Lot developments so that development proceeds harmoniously and predictably. The natural environment and appeal of Olympic View must be maintained and neighbours respected.


  • The Lot Owner shall review the relevant unique Lot Siting Plan found in the “Lot Siting Plans” attached as Appendix A to these Guidelines. The Owner shall further inspect the site to assess its specific opportunities and constraints (natural features and man made conditions) It is the Lot Owner’s responsibility to verify the location of easements and rights-of-ways and to comply with the requirements established by the City1 in its Zoning and Parking Bylaws.

  • Each single family and duplex Lot Plan shows, in diagrammatic plan and in section , a suggested, general strategy for siting and massing of houses. These are diagrammatic representations meant to illustrate a set of strategic siting principles; they are not meant to represent built form. These strategies embody the following fundamental site planning principles:

    • excavation is minimized
    • maximum site coverage is 40%
    • separation between buildings is maximized
    • environmentally sensitive areas are protected
    • trees indicated for retention are managed accordingly
    • environmental covenant areas are respected

  • While it is recognized that final designs may adopt strategies that differ from those illustrated on the Lot Siting Plan, the above principles must be adhered to in any case.

  • In addition to demonstrating fundamental site planning principles, the following information is provided on each sheet:

    • location of services and utilities
    • covenanted non-disturbance areas
    • as single family houses may incorporate optional secondary suites, driveways are shown configured to provide additional independent surface parking for these suites
    • two categories of significant trees with requirements for retention being o mandatory (M), or

  • discretionary (D), i.e., retention being subject to determination by a professional arborist based on a demonstration of a suitable rationale. The Lot Owner shall also take into consideration,

    • views into and out of the Lot
    • solar exposure
    • relationships to neighbouring properties, including minimizing overviews; shading, view blockage, noise and fumes and landscape degradations on neighbouring properties


  • Any existing natural vegetation represents a valued amenity to the development. Lot Owners may be permitted to clear beyond the immediate building construction site where appropriate; however such areas must be indicated on the site plan submitted to the Approving Architect.

  • No clearing or tree cutting will be permitted on a Lot prior to receipt of a Building Permit from the Municipality. The site plan must define the extent of clearing and provide an indication of re-landscaping and re-vegetation. Lot Owners are required to inspect the Lot to determine if there are features or vegetation that should be preserved.

  • After Lot clearing and construction has been completed, the Approving Architect shall inspect the Lot for conformance to the approved zone of clearing.

  • Any vegetation removed or destroyed beyond the approved zone of clearing shall be replaced by the Lot Owner with vegetation of like kind, size and quality to the satisfaction of the Approving Architect.

  • While a healthy mix of native and non-native plants is permissible, each Lot must be landscaped so that new vegetation appears to be integral with the existing landscape. The removal of invasive species is encouraged.


  • Re-grading within the Lot must be shown on the site plan for the proposed development.

  • Re-grading must create minimal cut and fill situations. All cut and fill must be blended into the existing site conditions and must, unless agreed with the affected adjacent owner, be within the Lot boundary.

  • Slope of cut and fill banks should be determined by soil characteristics for the specific Lot and must avoid erosion and promote re-vegetation opportunities, but in any case must be limited to a 2H:1V. If the maintenance of this slope requires a retaining wall at the toe of the slope, this wall must be a maximum of 4 ft. in height.

  • New construction and re-grading within a Lot must not interrupt the subdivision drainage patterns or cause discharge of water onto adjacent Lots.

  • Run-off from roofs and/or ground must be collected and directed to natural or improved drainage systems within the Lot.

  • Minimizing disturbance of existing topsoil is encouraged.

  • Rain gardens are encouraged., Absorbent landscaping and drought resistant indigenous plantings are required.


  • Retaining wall materials shall be vegetated rock stack walls or architectural concrete, concrete with textured finish or minimum 4 inch thick stone veneer. Lock block retaining walls are not permitted.

  • Retaining walls shall conform to the City’s bylaws as regards height and separation except that should the design of the site, in particular with regard to the support of building and off-street parking access, demonstrate that retaining walls greater than 1.2 m. are necessary, a Development Variance Permit Application may be sought to seek City of Colwood Council. Such approval shall be based on the Approving Architect’s determination that the architectural treatment of the retaining wall is aesthetically acceptable.

  • Plantings at the top and toes of retaining walls selected to camouflage the wall itself is encouraged.

  • The integration of retaining wall design with the principal building is encouraged.


  • The design and siting for a proposed building must respond to the existing and/or future planned development on neighbouring Lots. Proposed buildings must take into consideration its effect on privacy, view corridors and overshadowing of the neighbouring properties.

  • Proposed buildings shall be designed to create a harmonious yet interesting streetscape. Varying front yard setbacks and garage locations are encouraged.

  • For single family homes or duplexes exterior building design cannot be repeated within five Lots on the same street frontage.


  • Each development must provide for off street parking in accordance with the City Zoning and Parking Bylaws.

  • Acceptable driveway, walkway surfaces and on-street parking areas are concrete, pavers and asphalt. Walkway and driveway design that employs strategies to maximize permeability is encouraged. Gravel or river rock may be incorporated for this purpose. Only two materials are allowed per driveway/parking area.

  • Garage doors that are angled to face the side yard rather than the street are encouraged to prevent the garage from dominating the streetscape.

  • Garages may be attached or detached, provided their design is integrated with the design of the Single Family Home or duplex. The long term storage (exceeding 14 days) of unlicensed vehicles, recreational vehicles or commercial or similar vehicles or pieces of equipment shall only be permitted on a Lot within a permanent enclosed building or completely screened from the street. The intent is to ensure that uncovered parking on a Lot is provided exclusively for personal use or non-commercial vehicles and that all uncovered parking maintains an acceptable visual quality and residential scale of all open spaces on all Lots.


  • Fences are not permitted unless clearly required from a safety perspective. If required they shall be the minimum height to provide the necessary level of safety.

  • Chain link fencing will not be permitted unless explicitly approved by the Approving Architect.

  • Fences or screens shall be natural cedar or colours and materials shall compliment the principal building.


  • Except as indicated in b), signage shall be limited to the property address, development permit signage, and building permit signage.

  • At the entry to the development from Latoria Road, at lots 3 and/or 35, signage identifying the Olympic View residential development, Golf Course, Golf Clubhouse, and any associated facilities shall be permitted.