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'Heart of Lynn Creek' development one step closer to realization

420-unit mixed-use development that includes a child-care centre and grocery store approved Monday by District of North Vancouver council, pending final adoption

The District of North Vancouver voted in favour of moving forward with the mixed-use development at Crown Street and Mountain Highway Monday night (Jan. 24).

The development, which includes 420 units (45 of which are non-market rentals) passed the second and third readings with only Couns. Betty Forbes and Lisa Muri in opposition.

The proposal includes 205 strata units, 170 market rental units, 45 non-market rental units, and commercial space, all in a mix of buildings ranging from seven to 24 storeys at 1510-1530 Crown St. and 420-460 Mountain Hwy. The project would be built on a 2.4-acre (0.97 ha) site on the east side of Mountain Highway, which includes the former Dykhof Nurseries commercial operation land and five single-family lots.

The passing of the proposal comes after years of city discussion, staff involvement, development changes, and most recently, a public hearing that was held in December of last year, where the North Vancouver community was squarely in favour.

Couns. Jordan Back and Mathew Bond moved the motion, both highlighting the diversity of amenities the development will bring to the area.

“We've got the grocery store component there, which has been asked for by many residents in that area -- to have access to a grocery store that's walkable, in close proximity to their home,” Back said. “There's the much-needed child care, particularly in this area of the community, that's included in this development. And … the location of this particular development is in a neighbourhood that's well served by transit.”

Back suggested that the development also reinforces the official community plan of the area, delivers on diverse housing options, and “really helps us achieve many of those priority actions as highlighted in the report.”

In a change of course, Coun. Jim Hanson ended up supporting the motion, after previously voting against the development during the first reading. Hanson noted the needs of the community, with the display of public support during the hearing at the end of last year, contributed to a change of heart.

“I [would] be much happier if the proposal [included] more rental added. … It would be much more preferable to me if there was much less parking, no parking would be preferable, to be giving them ready access to transit. And if the building was smaller,” he said. “However, I've had to consider this proposal and view it with my policy commitments, namely to support rental and the needs of our community.”

Couns. Forbes and Muri voted against the proposal, saying the changes to the development don’t go far enough in addressing housing affordability or the impact to the area due to traffic.

Muri said that when she was initially envisioning the building, never in her “wildest dreams” did she expect that “land speculation and highest and best use would impact our communities the way it has.”

“There was a discussion, Coun. Curren, before you were elected to council, of having no parking in this area. It’s on a flat [area], it's easily accessible. It's close to the bridgehead. It has transit. And so there were so many things in favour of really thinking outside the box,” Muri said. “And none of those things were considered. They weren't supported by the previous council. And we haven't looked at it in regards to this council just taking out the parking and truly making it sustainable. Has this developer come to the table more than previous applications? Absolutely. Could we have gotten more? I think we could have. We could have looked at this area very differently.”

The proposal includes 464 parking stalls, including 396 residential stalls, 29 visitor stalls, and 39 stalls for commercial purposes. However, two bicycle spaces for every home is also included in the plans, along with new bike and bus bay infrastructure, electric charging infrastructure and a car-share program to further support alternative transportation options to reduce private vehicle reliance.

The development will also have fossil-fuel-free mechanical systems that will help achieve a reduction of 80 per cent greenhouse gas intensity to further support sustainability, and the developer has also committed to installing green roofs on the buildings.

Forbes said the small amount of non-market rental will mean the development is geared towards those who can afford to move to the North Shore, rather than people who already live in the district and are looking for somewhere more affordable.

“I just think we owe it to try and protect areas where there's really good transportation for people who have lower incomes, or middle-income people, or singles that are trying to get their rental somewhere. Single-parent families who are trying to find a place that they can afford, and this being so close to transportation is the ideal spot to put in more affordable housing,” she said.

The development proposal will come back to council at a yet to be determined date for adoption.

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