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Ridge looking at second density bonusing area
Silver Valley could be the next area where builders can boost housing density in return for some money to pay for trails, parks or a community hall in the area.
But they could pay more per lot – $5,100, instead of the $3,100 developers currently pay in the Albion area.
Two Silver Valley developers have requested that the density be increased beyond what is called for in the official community plan, so council is considering an overall plan for density bonusing in Silver Valley.
According to a consultant, Maple Ridge should be charging the higher figure. The lower $3,100 charge was approved because the Albion density bonusing was a pilot project.
Currently, Maple Ridge has only one area, in Albion along 240th Street from Hill Avenue in the south to 113A Avenue, where density can be increased to the next highest level as set out in the OCP. In return, a builder pays the district an extra $3,100 per lot, the proceeds of which go into a fund to provide parks, trails and possibly community centres in the area.
Staff are suggesting applying the same concept to Silver Valley to make it easier and to ensure consistency of future requests.
“It is important to note that site-specific negotiations are contrary to the position taken in the Albion area since they lack equity, transparency and certainty,” says a report.
Developers are willing to pay for higher density projects, but there’s no opportunity for that now, planning director Christine Carter told council.
So far, the district has granted one request to increase density in Silver Valley, at 236th Street and 133rd Avenue. Portrait Homes recently negotiated a density bonus in that location in return for building a sidewalk.
The latest proposal is by CIPE Homes Ltd. It wants to increase the number of housing units by 20 on three lots on Fern Crescent and 240th Street, known as Horse Hamlet in the Silver Valley area plan.
Council, though, was cautious about creating a density bonusing plan without following the same process as for Albion, which involved several public input sessions.
“It kind of throws me off doing it this way,” said Coun. Cheryl Ashlie.
“How do we justice to a Silver Valley conversation, the same as Albion has?”
However, the initial application for density bonusing came from a developer in the Albion area, Carter said. That led to the pilot density bonusing plan for the area.
Staff gave council options, of developing a density bonusing plan simultaneously to approving the current request or simply deny the request or approve the higher zoning without any extra financial contribution.
Council looks at the issue at a future regular council meeting.
Coun. Judy Dueck said the density bonusing program was supposed to be for Albion only and worried about the effect of higher densities than set out in the Silver Valley area plan.
“That was pretty extensive work. It was very key about what the densities would be up there,” Dueck said. “I’m concerned we’re putting the cart before the horse.”
Increased density could change the road patterns in the area, added Coun. Al Hogarth.
He wondered if the area has reached its population density targets.
Last October, Maple Ridge council approved the Community Amenity Bylaw for Albion, which will allow developers to pay an amenities fee of $3,100 per lot in exchange for smaller lot sizes.
The density bonus structure applies only to lands within the Albion area plan. Existing base density would remain in place and continue to be an option for developers, without extra cost. The area in question stretches from 240th Street as a western boundary, east to past 249th Street, and from Hill Avenue in the south, north to 113A Avenue.
The funds will go into a new Albion Area Amenities Reserve Fund, and will be used for trails, parks and community gathering places.
The bylaw spells out that where the base density is a lot area of 2,000 square metres, the new density bonus would allow a minimum lot area of 557m.
In zones where the minimum lot size is 557 square metres, the density bonus would allow lots of 371 sq m, with a minimum lot width of 12 m and depth of 24 m.