CITY of North Vancouver council has shot down a developer's plan to build 18 units of townhouses in central Lonsdale.
Council unanimously voted down the project proposed for 2340-2360 Western Ave. after hearing a steady stream of neighbourhood angst during a public hearing on the project Monday night.
After listening to neighbours' concerns about high-density housing in a neighbourhood of single-family homes, a lack of surface parking, traffic egress problems on the dead-end Western Avenue and the already difficult task of turning left onto 23rd Street because of heavy traffic, council agreed the project was too flawed to proceed.
But it was perhaps as much about the baggage the development brought as it was about the merits of the project for council.
Several members of the public emotionally reported that during construction of the neighbouring multi-family home recently completed on the same street, contractors regularly broke construction and noise bylaws, blocked traffic for residents and made the area nearly unlivable for months.
The city has no policy to guard against "construction fatigue" for residents, but many on council sympathized with the surrounding community.
Other neighbours noted that the developer, HRA Developments, has left an industrial sized garbage bin on the lawn of one of the existing properties since last summer, which has been an eyesore in the neighbourhood and the home was previously rented out by the developer to tenants who held raucous parties.
The ordeal the Western Avenue residents have been put through was a violation of the city's good neighbour policy, Mayor Darrell Mussatto noted.
Despite turning down the developer's request for a rezoning, council did have some praise for the project, including its design and its use of lock-off suites - self contained units that are adjoined to the larger homes by a door. Lock-off suites can be rented out as studio apartments as long as the owner lives in the main unit. One member of the public came to speak in favour of the project at Monday's meeting, arguing that the city needs more affordable units of housing that the lock-off suites could provide.
For all its faults, the proposal did meet the official community plan's requirements for density on the site, Coun. Rod Clark noted, which was set too high by council during a planning study for the area five years ago.
The developer cannot bring the townhouse proposal back for at least one year unless there have been significant changes to the design.
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