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Lower Capilano townhouse project moves forward

Proposed 150-unit development to go to public hearing

District of North Vancouver council has voted 4-3 in favour of sending a proposed 150-unit townhouse development in Lower Capilano to public hearing.

Citimark and Woodbridge Properties is proposing converting 16 single-family lots located at 1944 and 1976 Fullerton Ave., 1963-1985 Sandown Place, and 2028-2067 Glenaire Dr. into 150 townhomes with 242 stalls of underground parking.

The 150 townhouses would be situated in 12 adjacent three-storey buildings along Fullerton Avenue, Sandown Place, and Glenaire Drive.

The developer’s application was originally submitted to the district in September 2016. Changes were made before council’s first reading March 12 after a series of public information sessions yielded concerns from local residents regarding building height, land setbacks, and overall density.

“This process has gone on for a considerable period of time over the years and I’m glad we’ve managed to make some modifications,” said Coun. Robin Hicks, who voted in favour of moving the proposal to public hearing. “I feel like it’s got to the stage now where you really need to have a public meeting and discuss the issues.”

The development application requires the district to amend the official community plan to allow higher density in the area, in addition to a rezoning bylaw that would establish such rules as a setback distance of 45 feet from the neighbouring single-family residences along nearby McLallen Court, and limit the floor space ratio – which measures the proposed project’s total floor space against its lot size – at 1.15.

Coun. Roger Bassam supported the project moving to public hearing but asked staff for clarification regarding some features being proposed along with the development.

“The walkways and trail connections that we’re building, ultimately who would own those properties after the completion of this project?” asked Bassam. He also asked if the municipality or the strata would be responsible for landscaping and maintenance.

Coun. Mathew Bond acknowledged neighbours’ concerns but said the public hearing is the appropriate time to have more feedback on the project.

Two local residents addressed council during Monday’s meeting with concerns about the proposal, with one speaker in particular voicing concern over how the development would negatively affect livability in the neighbourhood.

Coun. Lisa Muri sympathized with residents who felt their needs were being overlooked.

“These buildings will rise in their rear yards and block much of the light that they’ve become accustomed to,” Muri said. “I would hope that the development of this would be worked out so everybody can live in this community respectfully and have a quality of life that they all enjoy.”

Coun. Doug MacKay-Dunn added that reading the report to council and listening to presentations from community members about insufficient details in the proposal caused him concern.

“I don’t think this is complete enough to go to public hearing,” he said. “I think there’s more work that has to be done.”

Coun. Jim Hanson said there was no public will for the addition of 150 market townhomes in the area and added traffic congestion was already too big of an issue there.

“This area in particular is already experiencing very significant development. … It’s too much too fast. We need to take a break. We must address transportation and other public services and if we are to develop, we focus that development on the missing middle,” he said, citing the district’s official community plan.

Mayor Richard Walton, who said he supported sending the project on to public hearing, countered that the town site, which is part of the district’s Lions Gate Village concept, was chosen during the OCP process in large part because it was close to amenities and services, cycling routes, trails and good public transit.

“In fact, I’m taking transit tomorrow morning down that corridor for an 8 a.m. meeting in Richmond, which I can get to leaving my home at seven,” he quipped.

The date for a public hearing has not been set yet.