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District of North Van approves live-work units in Maplewood Plaza

Council passes 193-home project under proviso that live-work units are included

North Vancouver District moved forward with the Maplewood Plaza development after an amendment to ensure live-work units would be part of the project.

The plan passed second and third reading at the July 16 regular meeting of council after Coun. Roger Bassam introduced an amendment directing staff to prepare a covenant to “specify a portion of the live-work units as commercial.”

The application for 229 Seymour River Place, which is currently largely vacant, is for eight retail commercial spaces totalling 10,500 square feet, and 193 residential units – 101 strata apartment and 21 strata townhouses in one building and 33 strata units, 28 market rental units and 10 units with affordable rents. There will be 286 vehicle parking spots and 259 bicycle spots.

Areas of the development had been identified for ”live-work use,” for example, for doctors, dentists and other professional services as start-up companies as they grow. These would allow more activity than home-based businesses.

Initially, some councillors spoke against the plan because of the uncertainty of space for economic activity.

Bassam said that, in the “hierarchy of real estate,” residential has the highest and best value, ahead of commercial and industrial. He added he didn’t want to support the plan, even though it was close to what he wanted to see.

“Get the job part right and then we’ll deal with the commercial part after,” he said.

Coun. Jim Hanson echoed these concerns, saying while the area will be the “epicentre” of commercial activity in Maplewood, the project didn’t focus enough on the economic activity needed.

“There’s too much housing, not enough development space that would give rise to jobs and services and economic activity,” Hanson said.

Coun. Lisa Muri said she opposed the application because of the number of projects that are ongoing in the district and she’s concerned about liveability, traffic and construction.

“Is there no time when we should just take a pause, step back and say ‘I think we’re good right now, let’s review’?” Muri said.

After Dan Milburn, director of planning, properties and permits, told council the developer was open to having a covenant on the project to ensure the live-work space, Bassam introduced his amendment, which council passed. With the amendment ensuring the live-work units, council passed the second and third reading for the Maplewood Plaza development. The vote for the project was 5-2 with Couns. Muri and Hanson voting against it.

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