Highest and best use of public land — ??

Highest and best use of public land — ??
2015-06-29-highest and best use

Update, August 1, 2015
Map of City-owned property, Port Moody

Update, July 18, 2015
At public input on July 14, 2015, eight people expressed concerns with the wording of the motion, and four people approved of the motion as written. Despite it being summertime, and a beautiful evening, the meeting was well-attended.

When discussion of Item 9.2 began, Councillor Meghan Lahti offered an amended version of the original motion as follows (strike-out means removed; underlined means added):

“That all vacant or underdeveloped publicly owned property in the City of Port Moody be designated for highest and best use, and that only if this is deemed not possible a lower use be considered on a case by case basis, and that the city defines the term highest and best use as the reasonably probable possible and legal use of property that is physically possible, properly funded, and financially feasible and that provides the opportunity to address community needs for infrastructure and services and results in the highest value for taxpayers, and that staff be directed to draft a corporate policy on designating highest and best use for all city-owned property for council consideration.

Councillor Meghan Lahti said it wasn’t her intention that “highest and best use” would always mean financial gain; and that the definition could mean other things of value to the community.

Councillor Rick Glumac expressed concern with the wording and questioned why the motion was necessary if council’s overall mandate was to always consider best value whether financial or otherwise.

Councillor Rob Vagramov suggested some amendments to the wording, and with the amendments the motion was passed.

Councillor Vagramov’s amendments (worked into the earlier amendments shown above):

“That all any vacant or underdeveloped publicly owned property in the City of Port Moody be designated for highest and best use, and that only if this is deemed not possible a lower use be considered on a case by case basis, and that the city defines the term highest and best use as the reasonably probable possible and legal use of property that is physically possible, properly funded, and financially feasible and that provides the opportunity to address community needs for infrastructure and services and results in the highest value (including but not limited to social, financial, environmental, cultural, historical, and/or quality-of-life value) for taxpayers residents, and that staff be directed to draft a corporate policy on designating highest and best use for all city-owned property for council consideration.”

The archived video of the July 14th meeting can be accessed from the city webpage here.

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Update, July 12, 2015
At its upcoming meeting on Tues., July 14, council will consider the following item which could mean very significant changes to city policy and the urban landscape of Port Moody:

Excerpt from agenda:

“… Council must consider all opportunities for maximizing financial contributions through the development, sale, or lease of appropriate City-owned lands wherever possible. It is generally understood that the higher the use assigned to a parcel of property, the higher the financial return will be for the municipality. This policy provides the opportunity to look at strategically-placed and valuable property with an eye for redevelopment, sale, or lease for highest and best use.”

MCCA encourages you to review the complete agenda item (about 2 pages) and if you have questions, comments, or concerns, options are to: attend the meeting and speak at public input, email council (council@portmoody.ca), and/or email MCCA (mcca.pm@gmail.com).

You can review the complete agenda by clicking on a link from the city webpage here.
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From council meeting June 23, 2015
The following Notice of Motion was not listed in the recent agenda, but brought forward during councillor verbal reports at the end of the council meeting by Councillor Meghan Lahti.

The Notice of Motion is expected to appear on the next agenda, scheduled for July 14, 2015. (The final meeting before summer break is July 28, 2015.)

Verbatim:
“That all vacant or underdeveloped publicly owned property in the City of Port Moody be designated for highest and best use, and that only if this is deemed not possible a lower use be considered on a case by case basis, and that the city defines highest and best use as the reasonably probable and legal use of property that is physically possible, properly funded,  financially feasible and that results in the highest value for taxpayers.”

***********************************
So …

—What is highest and best use?

—What is “underdeveloped publicly owned property”?

—How is “highest value for taxpayers” defined?

—What is the process?

—What input does the public have?

—Are public hearings required?

—What could this mean for Port Moody’s future?

—Where can the public see a map of all city-owned land, clearly marked?

What discussions, if any, have occurred that are not in the public realm? For example, expressions of interest from external individuals or organizations.

Related:
PoMo Coun. Lahti wants top dollar for city lands
Sarah Payne / Tri City News, June 25, 2015

Easier to sell city land than to spend less $
Tri-City News, June 30, 2015

The Editor,

Re. “Get the most out of city land, says Lahti” (The Tri-City News, June 26) plus “PoCo staffing costs are down” and “$1M more in salaries for Port Moody” (June 24).

So, Port Moody Coun. Meghan Lahti would like to sell public land to save taxes? It is always easier to sell off public land than to make staff and budget cuts or paint one less garbage truck with art.

How is it possible Port Moody staff wages went up one million dollars in 2014 while Port Coquitlam cut $400,000 in wages the same fiscal year?

Coun. Lahti claims 35-year-old Kyle Centre, which only requires a new roof, siding and paint job, is at the end of its lifespan yet it was deemed more important by the previous council for the city to move a 105-year-old house not once but twice while spending almost $1.5 million to restore it right across the street.

It is time for politicians like Coun. Lahti to re-prioritize spending and cut the fat before they come after our precious public land and park space to pay for necessary repairs on public infrastructure.

Rick Evon, Port Moody

See also:
Evolution of an Official Community Plan (OCP) — what’s next?
Future of Kyle Centre
Truthiness and public records

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One Response to Highest and best use of public land — ??

  1. . says:

    Question to Ms. Lahti. How come when the necessity for repairs to the leaks in the new city hall and the library were brought up 6 or 7 years ago, were they not look after. I assume it would of cost far less then 4 million dollars.

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