District of North Vancouver council voted 4-3 to defer a townhome project in Edgemont until a targeted review of the community’s Official Community Plan (OCP).
The eight-unit townhome project would have required an OCP amendment and rezoning to proceed.
The motion to defer was supported by Councillors Jim Hanson, Lisa Muri, Betty Forbes, and Mayor Mike Little. The motion to defer was opposed by Councillors Matthew Bond, Jordan Back, and Megan Curren.
Hanson said his vote to defer isn’t a reflection on the developer or the merits of the project.
“The issue for me is community planning and are we building a balanced and complete community. During the election campaign last December, I made commitment that I won’t be supporting further market housing development. I said I would be supporting rental, affordable and social housing,” Hanson said.
Hanson said there is enough market housing being built and the approach of last council created an imbalance of market housing over rental, social, and affordable housing.
Councillor Betty Forbes said there is development fatigue in Edgemont and the council owes it to the community to listen to those concerns. She also reiterated Hanson’s view that more social and affordable housing was the need of the hour.
Councillor Jordan Back was supportive of the development moving forward and commended the developer for his outreach efforts.
“The form and character is consistent with the Edgemont plan and it does provide some diversity of housing. While it is not subsidised or social housing, I have heard from a number of people that this is type of housing people are looking for and which we haven’t delivered,” he said.
Councillor Lisa Muri said she campaigned on the management of the projects in the community, and added that there were at least 22 developments being built in the community along with several public infrastructure projects.
“We have a lot of projects and we have a lot on the go, and we need to see buildouts and we have to see how our community absorbs these projects,” she said.
Muri also said that once the council gives up rezoning, the council can’t refuse a development permit. “We issued one for Crescent View in 2017, and nothing has happened yet. There has to be understanding that we should have the ability to manage things as we go about redevelopment,” she said.
Councillor Mathew Bond said the proposal is one of the few examples where the applicant has reached out and got so much feedback from the community. He said the site is currently market housing and would accommodate two homes with two suites, but those would be two large single-detached homes.
“The proposals for affordable, social homes are not going to fall into the lap of council unless it is our land or we provide density bonus. This site can’t operate as a rental, social housing unless the government purchases the land and proceeds with the project. I don’t see that option and my preference would be to proceed,” he said.
Mayor Mike Little said he had heard from the community loud and clear of wanting relief from construction, and the present proposal before council wouldn’t be affordable because of the costs and the pressures on the development. Little said he ran on the campaign of slowing down growth and that message was supported by the community.
“It is very difficult to support this, even if this is a reasonable way to step down from the town centre space,” he said.
Councillor Megan Curren voiced her concerns regarding parking and climate change but said it was a relatively small proposal and presented an interesting opportunity to serve as a pilot project for zero carbon.
The motion to defer the proposal was passed.