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Lions Gate Village townhome strata proposal set for public hearing

Some at North Vancouver District council wanted to toss the application for not having any rental
A new application would see 23 strata townhomes built on three current single-family lots in the Lions Gate Village neighbourhood in the District of North Vancouver. | Matthew Cheng Architecture Inc.

Members of the public will get a chance to voice their opinions on a proposal to build strata townhomes on three existing single-family lots in the Lions Gate Village neighbourhood.

While most public hearings have been outlawed by the province, the application for 23 stacked units at 1900-1950 Sandown Place is an exception to that rule because it involves an amendment to the official community plan.

At a meeting on Monday (June 17), District of North Vancouver council passed first reading of the plan, with Couns. Jim Hanson and Betty Forbes opposed.

Staying consistent with his previous voting record for similar proposals, Hanson in particular criticized the application for not including any rental.

As it currently stands, the plan is to build three one-bedroom units, 15 two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom units. Three of the three-bedroom units would have two-bedroom lockoff suites.

The new homes would be spread out in two buildings, each containing three storeys. One level of underground parking would provide two stalls per housing unit.

In a presentation, staff said the proposal matched the character of other developments in the surrounding area. If approved, the applicant is expected to pay around $1.7 million in off-site works related to engineering and landscaping the adjacent land, as well as developer cost charges of around $450,000.

There will also be a $371,145 community amenity contribution, which can be allocated to affordable housing, or improvements to parks and trails.

Overall, staff recommended council to refer the proposal to a public hearing, as it aligns with the district’s objectives to build a diverse range of ground-oriented housing units within a village centre.

Working people get no relief from this type of housing, councillor says

But Hanson rejected the idea that council should even consider an all-strata project.

“I’m going to sit here and continue to speak out for more diverse housing, more affordable housing and more rental housing,” he said.

Most of the two-bedroom townhomes would cost upwards of $1 million, which would require savings of around $200,000 and annual income of $200,000 to buy, Hanson said.

“We’re building more of the same type of housing for the same type of demographic, when the demographic which is so desperately in need of housing, people who work in our community … they’re not given any relief,” he said.

Coun. Herman Mah noted that the proposal meshed with the district’s strategy of increasing housing stock in town centres.

“At the same time, I would like to see in some rental units,” he said, asking staff what happened to two market rental units that appeared in a previous version of the proposal.

Lockoff suites were pursued instead of rental, staff replied.

Coun. Jordan Back said he appreciated the comments made by Hanson, but that he would be supporting the proposal going to a public hearing.

“I think we all have to remember that housing is a continuum,” he said. “Right now, single-family homes continue to be the predominant form of housing in our community and the least affordable.

“Ground-oriented townhouses do represent a level of affordability for many people in our community, certainly more affordable than a single-family house,” Back said.

A public hearing for the project is tentatively set for September.

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