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Maple Ridge councillor wants condos with more bedrooms

Not enough apartments being built to accomodate families: Tan
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A new development is proposed on Edge Street, at the corner of 121st Avenue. (Neil Corbett/The News)

There’s some appetite on Maple Ridge city council to require developers building apartment complexes to provide more family condos, rather than one-bedrooms and bachelor suites.

That was part of the discussion council had on Feb. 7 while reviewing two new developments. One is a new six-storey, 128-unit building that is planned for the corner of Edge Street and 121st Avenue.

Coun. Korleen Carreras expressed her appreciation that there were some three-bedroom units in the building,

Coun. Jenny Tan noted two-thirds of the units are proposed to be one-bedroom condos. There will be five three-bedroom units, 36 with two bedrooms, 19 with a bedroom and den, and 68 one-bedroom units.

“There’s no way our community is made up of 67 per cent of people or households who only need one bedroom,” said Tan. “I look at what other municipalities do in terms of their unit mix requirements, and I don’t think this is good enough.”

She asked staff what regulatory power council has to compel developers to provide more family units.

City director of planning Chuck Goddard said Tan raised good points, and he agrees with many of them.

“These are really good questions, and they are really a function of a new council coming in with older policies being in place from previous councils,” said Goddard.

He added staff hopes council will offer more guidance on what its priorities are for housing in business planning.

“But it’s not a good idea to change policy and direction on the back of an individual application,” he said, noting the application has been in process.

Tan said she did not think it was too late in the process to ask the developer for more two and three-bedroom units, and Goddard agreed staff could approach them.

The application was at committee of the whole, and was forwarded to the Feb. 14 meeting of council for the first of three readings.

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Tan next asked a similar question about a development at 22347 117th Ave. and 22349 North Ave., which is at the final stage, with council scheduled to approve the development permit.

It will be a six-storey building with 8,000 square feet of commercial space at ground level, and 67 apartment units above. It will feature four two-bedrooms, 40 one bedroom plus den, 15 one-bedrooms, and eight bachelor suites.

“I’m respectful of where we are in the stage of the development process – I understand we are very close to the end here,” said Tan. “And I’m also very concerned about the unit mix. Because right now we have 96 per cent of the units being for households that would be fine with one bedroom, which is not representative of where our community is at, and I think where we need our downtown real estate to be.”

She asked whether staff or the developer could speak to any shift in the unit mix.

Fred Formosa of Falcon Homes was in attendance, and he explained that they build three-bedroom units in other developments, such as The Brickwater. However, with the 117th Avenue building their goal was affordability, in an area where three bedrooms would not be sought after, he said.

He noted that generally three-bedroom units are among the last to sell, because they are more expensive.

That development was also moved to the Feb. 14 council meeting.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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