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City of North Van nixes plans for six-storey project on East Third Street

Council quashes 57-unit strata complex over height concerns
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A proposed East Third Street project turned out to be too big to succeed.

That was the City of North Vancouver’s edict Monday as they voted to scuttle plans for a 57-unit, 79-foot strata complex at 236-254 East Third St.

While Coun. Don Bell praised the developer for offering more than 5,000 square feet earmarked for non-market housing in perpetuity he ultimately decided it would look too big for the area.

“If it looks too big I guess it is too big,” he said.

In voting to move the project to public hearing, Mayor Darrell Mussatto reminded his colleagues that the project’s size was subject to negotiation.

“We can always reduce height, reduce density . . . but you can’t add to them between now and the
public hearing.”

As it stood, the project would have more than quadrupled the site’s current floor space ratio – which measures a project’s total floor area against its lot size – and more than doubled site coverage, jumping from 35 to 76 per cent.

At least 30 per cent of the increase in density would have been set aside for non-market housing overseen by Habitat for Humanity. The arrangement was designed to “move families out of the perpetual rental cycle” and allow them to build enough equity to enter the housing market, according to the society.

While she praised that element of the project, Coun. Linda Buchanan still found the building too obtrusive to support.

“I love the Habitat for Humanity and the non-market housing components, but I do think that the proponent needs to spend some more time with the community.”

The six-storey project would have left nearby south-facing decks in the shade, according to neighbour Catherine Douglas, who expressed concern at the project’s impact on neighbouring three-storey-townhomes and low-rise apartments.

Douglas also reminded council that the four duplexes currently occupying the site are part of an interconnected, kid-friendly community.

“This is exactly what I fear is going to change,” she wrote in a letter to the city.

Given community outcry, a public hearing would have been a lost cause, according to Coun. Rod Clark, who voted against the proposal.

“The public hearing will be contentious and not achieve anything,” he predicted.

The project was defeated 5-2 with Mussatto and Coun. Craig Keating casting the dissenting votes.

The development was also slated to include 15 units for people with disabilities.

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