A 10-unit townhouse project is being proposed in the Glenbrooke North neighbourhood.
The city has received a preliminary report about an official community plan (OCP) amendment and rezoning applications for an infill townhouse project at 102/104 Eighth Ave. And 728 First St. The development would include 10 side-by-side, ground-oriented residential units built in two buildings, with all of the buildings being stratified and containing three bedrooms.
At its Aug. 29 meeting, council directed staff to proceed with processing the application and to consult with the school district and 20 First Nations. Council also directed staff to place a notice on the City Page about the application and to require the applicant to post signage on the site about the proposed OCP amendment.
A staff report states the site is currently designated as RD (Residential-Detached and Semi-Detached Housing) in the official community plan, but was considered for RT (Infill Townhouse and Rowhouse Residential District) when the city was developing the official community plan.
“As directed by council, the ongoing infill housing policy work will explore potential changes to the OCP land-use designation map, with the objective of designating more properties RT and RGO,” said the report. “Given the current timeline of the city-led process, the applicant has determined that they wish to proceed in advance by applying for a site-specific OCP amendment.”
The application is still early in the consultation and review process, with consultation with outside agencies and organizations, applicant-led public consultation, a presentation to the New Westminster Design Panel, and a review by the Advisory Planning Commission yet to come. That would be followed by consideration of first and second readings of the required bylaws, a public hearing, and third reading and adoption of the bylaws.
In 2017, the City of New Westminster completed an update to the official community plan. During that process, council approved a staff recommendation to designate Glenbrooke North properties on Eighth Avenue, First Street and Colborne Street as residential-detached and semi-detached housing – rather than the RD designation that would allow townhouses and infill housing in the area.
Formed in 2016, the Yes In New West coalition advocated for the creation of more row houses, townhouses, and carriage and laneway houses, saying single-family homes are out of reach for many and alternatives to condominiums are needed by residents. In response to the idea of designating the area for infill townhouses and rowhouses, the city received a petition signed by 55 people, or 71 per cent of the affected properties in the area, who opposed designating the area as townhouses or infill housing.
Council was divided on the topic, with three councillors supporting the idea of allowing a greater range of housing options in this area. Others felt the official community plan allowed for the creation of a variety of housing options and increases in density in some neighbourhoods, including the area around the 22nd Street SkyTrain station.
Mayor Jonathan Cote said that he supported the creation of more housing options, but preferred that the area remain as detached and semi-detached housing in the OCP because of the strong opposition to infill housing from area residents.
"To me, this is not the hill to die on for an official community plan," he said. "In many respects, I am still happy with the areas we have been able to achieve."
Some community members expressed disappointment with the decision and suggested the city had missed an opportunity to create more family-friendly housing in New West.