Stacked townhouses approved for Burquitlam
Development gets green light despite complaints from street's residents about traffic and parking
A stacked townhouse project in Burquitlam got the green light despite opposition from several area residents at a public hearing Monday.
Council approved second and third reading of the rezoning request by Adera Development to build three three-storey buildings containing 60 units on four lots in the 400 block of Lea Avenue because the proposal matched the type of housing council approved for the street in the Burquitlam neighbourhood plan adopted a couple of years ago.
The project, called Duet Two, will have ground-floor units ranging from 450 sq. ft. studios to two-bedrooms. Stacked on top of them will be townhouses on the second and third floors.
Adera vice-president of development Rocky Sethi told council it’s a concept it has done elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. He said it offers an alternative for families to living in cramped condos or buying more expensive detached homes or large townhouses. Although the concept is common in Burnaby, New Westminster and Vancouver, there are very few in Coquitlam.
Since the location is within walking distance — about 600 metres — of a SkyTrain station, the neighbourhood plan calls for medium and low-rise density.
Five people came forward at the public hearing to support the proposal because they said it was the type of housing they were looking for.
But after they had their say, several Lea Avenue residents attacked the project because it will create more traffic than a side street can handle and exacerbate parking problems on a street that’s already difficult to navigate. They also said cramming 60 units onto four lots goes against the character of the neighbourhood suggesting row houses and duplexes would be more appropriate.
Coun. Chris Wilson said the city went through an extended process that involved community consultation before adopting the neighbourhood plan and the concerns being expressed Monday were not raised back then.
“We spent two years so it would eventually fit in with the neighbourhood,” Wilson told the residents. “We created a plan, we asked the neighbourhood to get engaged, and the developer has followed that plan.”
Mayor Richard Stewart said during the consultation 33 speakers came forward to address the neighbourhood plan and 31 said the zoning wasn’t high enough.
“Nobody showed up to tell us they wanted their neighbourhood to be single-family density,” said Stewart.
He also didn’t know why the residents of the complex would park on the street when there are 80 spots plus visitor parking being made available underground for the residents.
Darryl Stickler, an unsuccessful council candidate in the Oct. 20 civic election, said he was alarmed the developer went against the city’s advice and did not include any three-bedroom units, while also proposing eight studio units.
“I’m not opposing density, I’m saying 450 sq. ft. is too small, and where are the three-bedroom units?” said Stickler. “Where is that range of housing options?”
Sehti pointed out the company’s nearby Duet One project on Como Lake Avenue had more than 10% three-bedroom units, but Duet Two provides “a different housing typology.”
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