Evolution of an Official Community Plan (OCP) — what’s next?

Confused-whack-a-moleConfusion, whack-a-mole, lawsuit, …

From March 2014: OCP — Quick facts, and a question

Public hearing — Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Materials posted on city website for March 24th include:
Public hearing material — pages 9-20 — 11 pages in total
Regular agenda material — pages 69-76 — 7 pages in total

Materials are incomplete, since they don’t include some of the new edits to the plan.

Stated purpose for public hearing
“To amend the Official Community Plan to change the Official Community Plan and Regional Growth Strategy land use designations for the Andres Wines and Mill and Timber sites and include related housekeeping amendments.”

Why the need for a public hearing?
Previous council approved the OCP on October 14, 2014 shortly before the municipal election, knowing a lawsuit was a likely outcome. Regional authority Metro Vancouver/GVRD voted 10 days later (in a meeting closed to the public) to proceed with a lawsuit because the OCP did not align with regional plans Port Moody had committed to along with other member municipalities.

The public hearing is intended to appease Metro Vancouver and make the lawsuit go away. (Another option would be to rescind the invalid OCP and take the time necessary to get it right.)

The process has been fraught with problems. Many questions remain.

The stated purpose (see above) for the upcoming public hearing includes the phrase “related housekeeping amendments.”

Housekeeping sounds inconsequential. Is it really?

Response letter from Metro Vancouver/GVRD
Dated March 10, 2015, stamped received March 17, 2015

Comments, in part [emphasis added]:

“There are three outstanding issues that were noted by Metro Vancouver staff in earlier drafts of the RCS [ed. note — still unresolved].

First, Metro 2040 projects employment for Port Moody to increase from 8,000 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2041, while the proposed RCS notes that employment will increase to 8,373 in 2021 and 9,573 in 2041. The RCS projections must be deemed ‘generally consistent’ with the regional projections, and this difference is quite significant.

Second, the percentage of growth within Urban Centres and FTDAs (Metro 2040 policy 1.2.6 a) should identify the dwelling unit (rather than population) and employment projections for Urban Centres and FTDAs separately, rather than combined. Further, these projections should be in general alignment with the target growth percentages found in Metro 2040 Table 2: Metro Vancouver Dwelling Unit and Employment Growth Targets for Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas. The projections in the proposed RCS are much lower than those found in Metro 2040, and should reflect the anticipated significant development in Port Moody’s Inlet Municipal Town Centre and the Moody Frequent Transit Development Area. [ed. note — it was council’s decision to apply the designation of Frequent Transit Development Area (FTDA); this was not a requirement and not necessary.]

Finally, with regards to the industrial land policies, Metro 2040 asks that municipalities include in their RCS commitments to protect industrial lands and exclude uses that are inconsistent with the intent of Industrial areas (Metro 2040 policy 2.2.4 b iii). The RCS response instead references the Port Moody OCP policy which states: “In general, the City will discourage the conversion of existing industrial lands for residential or other uses.” Metro Vancouver/GVRD says:  “A stronger statement to protect industrial lands by clearly not permitting nonindustrial uses would help to retain these lands for long-term industrial activities.”

****************

More questions and considerations (not a complete list)
Many inconsistencies remain; for example, the Oceanfront District (Mill and Timber industrial site) designation has been deleted, but the OCP’s Chapter 9, Economic Development refers to potential redevelopment and residential uses in the Oceanfront District. Is this a problem? Other inconsistencies?

There are still no measurement tools identified to ensure changes occur in a sustainable way, and without unintended consequences. For example, measurement tools for density, types of residential and commercial units, green space and parks, community amenities, employment, industry, and more.

How are developer contributions defined?

Moody Centre Station Transit Oriented Development area: designated 4-12 storeys, unless density bonusing is applied — how high, how many storeys, and what would be the minimum bonus for residents?

The plan talks about “stepping down” — meaning gradual changes so that new developments don’t have an undue impact on neighbours. How can a 6-storey development right behind current single-family residential be reasonable “stepping down”? Is it not comparable to a very giant “monster home” infringing on its neighbours?

What about public space?

What about publicly owned (for now) Kyle Centre?

How about the former fire hall site at Murray St. and Ioco?

Are there defined policies for the sale of public land? Including public consultation?

Why is the Boathouse restaurant section of Rocky Point Park now labelled General Urban, not conservation and recreation? (This is just one example from the table ‘Summary of Changes to Regional Land Use Designations Map in OCP’.) What implications, if any, does this have?

Why didn’t Moody Centre merit a neighbourhood consultation?

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