OCP – Still a Pandora’s Box of unknown outcomes

Council reviewed the draft Official Community Plan (OCP) last Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  Some significant changes were made, including removing height references to the Moody Centre transit-oriented development area (rendering below) to allow for “greater flexibility.”

Artists rendering.  Not shown in the sketch is traffic, or the 6 storey buildings proposed for the buffer areas, including St. John’s Street and Murray Street.  The buildings shown would not be nearly enough to house the increased population projected in the plan for these areas.

Moody Centre TOD artists rendering

Next steps:  staff adjustments to OCP, then back to council.  Council may then direct preparation of an OCP bylaw.  If so, the document will go to the Land Use Committee and then back to council for 1st and 2nd readings.  A public hearing would follow.  Also required will be a review from outside groups including Metro Vancouver.  The OCP timeline on the city website has not been updated, and the schedule is not yet known.

The meeting can be viewed online at:
http://portmoodybc.swagit.com/play/01072014-875

The evening began with a PowerPoint presentation by Tim Savoie, General Manager of Development Services.

Mr. Savoie explained the Local Government Act specifies that:

  • The OCP sets long-term policy direction for growth and development, but doesn’t grant development approvals or commit the city to proceed with projects.
  • However, it does require that once an OCP is adopted, every bylaw and land use decision made has to be consistent with the plan.

Main discussion points at meeting

  • Population goals and how to measure success
  • Special study areas (SSAs), industrial lands, and zoning changes
  • Mill site (Oceanfront)
  • Coronation Park (Inlet Centre)
  • West end of Moody Centre (Westport)
  • Moody Centre station (TOD) area
  • Spring Street Promenade
  • Cultural District (Kyle Centre/Arts Centre)
  • Parks and environment
  • Land use balance – residential, commercial, etc.

Both local community papers (Tri-City News, and Tri-City Now) carried articles on the meeting.  You can view them at:
https://portmoodycommunity.wordpress.com/in-the-news-2/ocp-council-meeting-jan-7-2014-media-reports/

Main discussion points at meeting – summaries

Population
Slide 6 from the opening PowerPoint presentation shows the influence of transit-oriented development goals in shaping the draft.
Jan 7 2014 PPT slide - TOD principles

Councillor Glumac commented that he had never seen so many people come out for a town hall meeting (Nov. 27, 2013), and there were major concerns about loss of character, the Oceanfront district, and more green space.  The plan needs balance and moderation.

He observed that this is the first time Skytrain is coming through a small town like Port Moody and we shouldn’t be using the same principles as larger cities such as Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby to determine density around stations “because we are different … we’re unique.”

Councillor Glumac made a motion to lower the population target from 59,000 to 50,000.  After some discussion, the motion was passed.

Councillor Glumac also noted that since the draft plan’s growth is predicated on Skytrain, the route should be included on the overall development map and should show the sections of elevated and ground level guideway to give better context for all areas.

The motion passed.

There was also discussion on how the city would measure growth and stay on track with its goals.  Base density maps were proposed but the motion did not pass.

Most council members appear to have confidence in the ability of current and future councils to monitor growth – without the need for measurement tools such as base density maps.  [Note:  unlike previous OCPs, this plan has also removed planning tools such as how many units per acre are allowed, ground site coverage, and more.]

Special study areas (SSAs), industrial lands, and zoning changes
Mr. Savoie noted that there are several special study areas and industrial re-zoning proposals that will require approval by Metro Vancouver.  Metro Vancouver is not yet aware of some of the areas such as Murray Street which is not identified as an SSA but is proposed for rezoning from its current industrial status.

He indicated there is no guarantee the Metro Vancouver board would approve all the proposed changes since industrial lands (and a balance of land use) are considered important for the overall region.  He said council could prioritize certain areas if they wished.  After discussion, it was decided to not prioritize one area over another.

Throughout the meeting, there was discussion about the OCP timeframe – a 30 year vision, but needing review every five years (approx.).  It created confusion throughout the evening.

It was noted that if changes were required in five years, the city could adjust the OCP.  [Ed note:  it could be very difficult to “down-zone” after people and companies have made investments based on current proposed growth and development.]

Mill site (Oceanfront)
There was general agreement that the waterfront mill site (Mill and Timber/Flavelle) was a problematic area, and this was expressed clearly at the November town hall meeting.

Mayor Clay made a motion to remove the 1st paragraph from the Oceanfront area description (p.88 in draft plan) and noted that the reference to 28 storeys scares people.

Councillor Glumac argued that this might create too much flexibility for development proposals.

After some debate, the motion passed.

Councillor Glumac made a motion to include a statement expressing the city’s desire for a minimum of 30% of the land to be incorporated into an extension of Rocky Point Park.  The motion did not pass.

It was confirmed that as the mill site is a special study area, any development proposal would require an OCP amendment and zoning change.  A developer would also be required to consult with the community.

Coronation Park (Inlet Centre)
Councillor Dilworth identified Coronation Park as one of the areas receiving major feedback.  Height and up-zoning was added, and then removed.  In a previous OCP draft there was a sentence about the development of neighbourhood plan, and the sentence should be put back into the draft.  The community is divided in opinion.

Mayor Clay made a motion to put the neighbourhood plan/consultation back into the document.  Additional consultation would be required before any changes.  The motion passed.

West end of Moody Centre (Westport)
Councillor Glumac made a motion to reduce heights on the Barnet Hotel site (and adjacent properties) from 26 to 6 storeys, because the property is too close to single-family homes.  Traffic issues were also noted.

The motion passed with Mayor Clay, and Councillors Elliott and Nuttall opposed.

There was no motion with regard to any changes for the 26 storeys proposed close by at the former Andres site (Clarke/Barnet).

Moody Centre station (TOD) area
Mayor Clay introduced the idea of encouraging (or requiring) lot consolidation of one acre minimum for density development.  Include density bonusing for green space and community open space.

He made a motion to remove building storey height limits so buildings can be higher – “turn on end thing.”  Provide additional height allowance for additional open space.

Councillor Glumac objected to the change citing the community desire to have lower density in that area, and also traffic and other potentially negative outcomes.

Mayor Clay suggested it was “colossal bad planning” to not have density where the Skytrain stations will be, and Councillor Glumac suggested Mayor Clay’s motion would be “colossal bad planning” and not what the community wants.

Councillor Glumac said the area can be revitalized without towers, and that Port Moody is a small town, and “we don’t have to build towers around every Skytrain station.”

Mayor Clay and Councillor Glumac were the only people that spoke on this issue.

The motion carried, with Councillors Small, Royer, and Glumac opposed.

Spring Street Promenade
Councillor Dilworth noted her concern with the restricted vehicle access proposed for Spring Street Promenade.  She said many businesses rely on Spring Street for access and parking, and more than 50 businesses and organizations could be affected.

There was a lively debate on the merits and problems with the proposal, and quite a bit of discussion on the long-term vision of the plan.

Mr. Savoie discussed how clarifying the wording might help in terms of how this plan would be carried out; e.g., as redevelopment occurs and proposals come forward.

A motion was made to remove the three bullets on page 85, paragraph 3 containing the words about restricting access.  The motion was supported by Councillors Dilworth and Small, but defeated.

Cultural Plaza (Kyle Centre/Arts Centre)
Councillor Glumac introduced a motion to remove reference to residential and retail up to 6 storeys on this parcel, based on community feedback.  (He acknowledged that he had introduced the original motion to allow the proposed development.)

The motion passed, with Mayor Clay opposed.

Parks and environment
In addition to the motion noted previously about the mill site potentially turning over a percentage of land for Rocky Point Park and the shoreline trail system if redeveloped, there was a brief discussion on whether density bonusing or development cost charges (DCCs) could help to fund additional parkland.  It was unclear as to how or if that might work.

Mr. Savoie noted that the parks and recreation plan update is currently underway and will make recommendations.  (The updated parks plan is unlikely to be ready in the very near future.)

Councillor Glumac noted the intent for creek daylighting in conjunction with redevelopment, and asked for confirmation that creek names were to be included on the development map, or to the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Map 13.  He felt it would be helpful with regard to future redevelopment applications.

The motion passed.

Councillor Glumac made another motion to give priority to Dallas/Slaughterhouse Creek, as it has been identified by stewardship groups as having the best potential for daylighting.

The motion passed, with Mayor Clay opposed.

Councillor Glumac also referenced a submission from the Burke Mountain Naturalists identifying several environmental issues.  A motion was made to bring this item back for further review.  The motion passed.

Property by Electronic Ave. (north end of pedestrian overpass across rail tracks)
Councillor Nuttall proposed an increase to 12 storeys from the current 6 for the area adjacent to the Klahanie development, for reasons of being within walking distance to a future Skytrain station, while spreading out the density from the TOD area and moving it further northeast.  He said the parcel was owned by one property owner which would make it easier to work with as it is already consolidated.

The motion was defeated, with Councillors Small, Glumac, Elliot, and Royer opposed.

Land use balance – residential, commercial, etc.
Towards the end of the meeting, Mayor Clay asked about the plan’s mix of residential and other uses; e.g., residential vs. employment and commerce.  What percentages are we using?

Mr. Savoie said that a higher proportion of commercial development could drive down the residential numbers.

Mayor Clay gave an example of the former Barnet Hotel site, with the question of whether the OCP could say 6 storeys is okay for residential development, but maybe 26 if the development was a hotel or some type of commercial building.  He added that economic development might have more positive impacts than increased residential (e.g., creating jobs).

Planning staff suggested there could be a general policy statement regarding the types of development desired, and added that some specifics would also be helpful; … “additional density considered if commercial or office.”

Councillor Royer commented that there hasn’t been much discussion on the desired mix of land use; i.e., employment opportunities and economic development as opposed to residential, and that a mix is more sustainable.

The idea of a high-tech park was mentioned.  [This has been discussed in the past by council.]

Whether or not there a general consensus to explore this is not entirely clear at this time.

The meeting wrapped up with a brief discussion on next steps, as outlined above.

As always, we welcome your comments and input to MCCA.

Hazel Mason, President
Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA)
Respond:  mcca.pm@gmail.com
https://portmoodycommunity.wordpress.com/
MCCA logo

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3 Responses to OCP – Still a Pandora’s Box of unknown outcomes

  1. Peter Moody says:

    So great to see the lies of this group exposed at Port Moody City Council tonight. More to follow!

    • R.Burr says:

      Well Peter Moody, I too attended the council meeting Tuesday night and heard the claims against Moody Center Association and feel they were untrue and not called for. It seems to me that Mr.Grasty and Ms. Daniels have something to lose if the city does not approve what they want and I assume it is money. Their motives to malign a group that has done nothing but put facts that are valid in front of the citizens of Port Moody should be applauded not maligned. Without groups like this our cities would be decimated by developers and speculators whose only interest is in how much profit they can pocket.

    • I think you need to look up what “lie” means in a dictionary. You seem to have it confused with the word truth. It’s OK, I know english is a hard language.

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