Proposal is for condos along Lougheed Highway. (Contributed)

Proposal is for condos along Lougheed Highway. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council wants second look at townhouse complex

Doesn’t like tandem parking setup

Maple Ridge’s new council has put the brakes on a proposal to build 32 townhomes in the 23000-block of Lougheed Highway, just west of Kanaka Way.

Council deferred a bylaw reading at its Tuesday meeting, asking staff and the developer to come up with a design that removes or reduces the number of 22 tandem parking spots in the complex and possibly provide another access point to the three-acre property.

Mayor Mike Morden wanted to move the application forward, but didn’t like the parking layout of the six-building complex because “I don’t think it really provides a livable product.”

The triangular piece of property is wedged between Lougheed Highway and the larger Polygon development that’s taking place on both sides of Lougheed in what used to be Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure land. It had been bought decades ago for the possible northern landing of what’s now the Golden Ears Bridge.

The development will have some of its front yards facing Lougheed Highway and will have a right-turn lane in and out as the only access point for vehicles.

Chuck Goddard, Maple Ridge’s manager of development and environmental services, said that redesigning the townhomes to create double-car garages will reduce the number of units on the property. He said he’d review that with the developer, who will then decide what to do.

The northern portion of the property also includes Morley Creek and a conservation-park area, which comprises half of the property and further limits building space and the creation of another access point.

However, it’s possible that a second access to the development could be just for emergency vehicles, although the fire department is not requesting that.

Staff told council that it has been discouraging developers from designing complexes with tandem parking where vehicles park behind each other in garages below.

“On the campaign trail, I walked through so many complexes and all those concerns are legitimate concerns,” said Coun. Judy Dueck.

Tandem parking spots are so narrow, particularly for big trucks, that people end up parking on the street, she added.

Coun. Chelsa Meadus said she lives in a townhouse with tandem parking, part of which is used for living space.

“I’d certainly like to see the whole tandem garages scrapped. I think they are underutilized or not utilized properly,” Morden said.

Staff will have a later discussion about tandem parking throughout the city.

Maple Ridge’s outgoing council had tabled the proposal in October because of concerns about parking, access and density. However, if approved, the developer will contribute $159,000 as part of the city’s affordable housing fund in return for the additional density.