Update: Aragon development — Land Use Committee (LUC) — Nov. 3, 2015
The application as presented was NOT supported. The vote was unanimous.
The Land Use Committee (LUC) is comprised of six volunteer members + all seven members of council.
The purpose of the LUC is to provide advice and recommendations to council on proposed land use changes and related matters. (Therefore, it seems a bit odd that council members outnumber volunteer members.)
The development application sought variances on height and density (more), and parking (less).
Minutes of the meeting are not yet available, and there is no video available, so the following is based on general observations and notes.
The meeting was well attended (estimate 50+ in audience). Many residents provided written feedback prior to the meeting, some of which was included in the agenda package, and some provided “on-table” at the meeting if it was received after the package was produced. The on-table material is not (yet) available on the city website.
All of the written feedback indicated opposition to the application.
All of the speakers from the audience at the meeting indicated opposition, except for one person who indicated he was “neutral.”
Reasons for opposition (summary)
- impact on views
- impact on property values, especially for people who paid a premium to buy on the upper floors of the Station development and believed any new development to the north would be limited to 4-5 storeys as specified in the zoning bylaw (some reported they were assured of this before purchase)
- negative precedent-setting if approved (non-conformance with zoning bylaws)
- massing and shadowing, including the effect on Spring Street which runs between the Station development and proposed development, and effect on Lighthouse residents immediately to the west
- neighbourhood parking and traffic impacts
- insufficient outdoor and green space
- impact on character of Moody Centre neighbourhood
- the requested variances to the OCP and zoning bylaw were too much; applications should stick to the rules
A question was asked about whether a geotechnical assessment was available, since the building location in development permit area two (DPA2) is overlaid by DPA5 (Hazardous Lands; map) which requires a detailed analysis of the site (Chapter 16, page 95, Official Community Plan). Answer: this assessment would be undertaken.
Committee comments (summary)
As noted above, the final consensus was to reject the application as currently written.
Some committee members noted many positives about the application, but that more work was necessary.
There were comments as to the net benefits of the proposal to the community, including an observation that “next door to transit” wasn’t really a direct benefit from the developer to the city or residents.
Some members expressed concern that people may have been misled when purchasing units next to the site.
Mayor Clay noted that the current Station development received a variance from the original restriction of three storeys. (In fact, up to 5 storeys was permitted: LUC, September 7, 2010. But the many land use changes in Port Moody do tend to get confusing after awhile.)
In the end, the most compelling reason for denial of the application appears to be that the proposal did not conform to the very recently adopted Official Community Plan, nor to the zoning bylaw (1890).
Update: LUC meeting minutes, Nov. 3, 2015
2015-11-03-LUC minutes-Aragon application