THOSE hoping for a definitive vote on Onni's Safeway site proposal will have to wait one day more.
City of North Vancouver council wrapped another five hours of public input Monday night but failed to go any further after one council member walked out just after 11:10 p.m.
After listening to questions, comments and concerns from more than 50 residents, council was about to begin putting questions to the developer when Coun. Pam Bookham made a motion to adjourn the meeting until Tuesday evening. When Bookham's motion failed to pass, she stood up and walked out of the meeting.
A frustrated Mayor Darrell Mussatto tried to beckon Bookham back. When that didn't work, he uttered that he wanted a council to be whole before putting questions to city and Onni staff and put forward another motion to adjourn the meeting, which passed.
Mussatto had pledged to cut off public input at 11 p.m. Monday and resume it again on Tuesday if attendees still waiting to speak Monday did not get a chance.
Of the 50-plus people who offered input Monday night, slightly more than 30 spoke favour of the project, most of them on the grounds that the proposed affordable housing in project was badly needed for adults with development disabilities. Other supporters were keen to see the offices, childcare space and high density housing options, which are favoured by young families. The developer offered the perks along with a contribution to the city's amenity fund, green building standards, a connection to the Lonsdale Energy Corporation in exchange for more building space and height.
For detractors, it was the lingering issue of how the height and density of the project, which would include the tallest residential tower in the area at 240 feet and density almost twice the guideline in official community plan, would affect quality of life for the city’s existing residents. Several opponents said they feared Lonsdale would start to take on the look of a “concrete tunnel” like Vancouver’s Georgia Street as highrises begin to spring up on every block.
At the first public hearing, Onni faced heavy criticism for its plan to send about 45 per cent of resident and customer traffic and 100 per cent of commercial delivery trucks into the site via the lane on 14th Street. Under the new plan, 13th will take 100 per cent of the traffic ingress and egress via a controlled intersection on 13th.
“The revised traffic access/egress plan represents a significant improvement from the previous proposal. It is both consistent with the OCP designation for 14th Street and addresses the traffic and pedestrian access concerns raised by our group,” said 14th Street resident Teresa Watt in a letter read by a fellow member of the Save 14th group. “Our group strongly supports this revised scheme and feels that these changes address the most significant and the majority of all our concerns.”
The developer also increased setbacks from Stella Jo Dean Plaza and the Grande condo building next door to improve natural light conditions in the plaza and included a living or green wall in the design for the walls that border the plaza.
While some of the public comment received Monday night centred around the revisions Onni had made to its proposal in hopes of winning more support on council and in the community, much of the night was a repeat of the first public hearing held in November.
Virtually everyone who came to the mic agreed that the site is in dire need of redevelopment, and the surrounding area could use the economic revitalization that would follow.
Council made the rare move of asking for a second public hearing in December after the first one drew complaints that the developer signed up a host of supporters to dominate the first part of the meeting.
When council resumes the meeting Tuesday, it will go straight to questioning the developer before starting, potentially, its last formal debate about the project, which has bounced around city hall in various forms for more than two years.