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New Westminster explores ways of fast-tracking simple project applications

What's happening at city hall
New Westminster city hall
The City of New Westminster is considering ways of expediting smaller projects that fit with current city policies and regulations.

The City of New Westminster is trying to find ways to fast-track applications that don’t need city council’s stamp of approval.

Coun. Mary Trentadue raised the issue when council recently considered an application to allow the owners of two heritage duplexes on Third Avenue to convert four unoccupied attic spaces (one in each unit) into loft bedrooms with adjacent half bathrooms, in exchange for restoration and heritage protection of both buildings. Because the request in this application is “so benign,” Trentadue said this type of application could be fast-tracked.

“I think this is the perfect type that we may want to consider going forward,” she said. “There is no, in my mind, impact to the community. These people are adding a fourth bedroom and a washroom.  No one is going to know that on the outside of these buildings. To have this go through so many steps – it’s been at LUPC (land use and planning committee) twice, at council twice, we still have a public hearing – seems really a bit too much for me.”

Emilie Adin, the city’s director of development services, said staff is working on developing a policy about fast-tracking applications not requiring formal direction from council.

“We are working hard on bringing forward some recommendations on how to expedite smaller projects that closely fit with current city policies and regulations,” she told council. “The next step that we envisioned was a memo to the land use and planning committee and then, as needed, a report to council with any bylaw changes that might be required as well.”