Developers can build more houses in the Albion area, on smaller lots, but there will also be more money for parks, trails and other facilities in the neighbourhood.
Maple Ridge council has approved the Community Amenity Bylaw, which will allow developers to pay an amenities fee of $3,100 per lot in exchange for smaller lot sizes.
The funds will go into a new Albion Area Amenities Reserve Fund, and will be used for trails, parks and community gathering places.
This is a new policy in Maple Ridge, but is in use in every neighbouring community, noted Coun. Bob Masse.
“This is long overdue,” agreed Coun. Al Hogarth. “Other communities have been doing this for a long time.”
Frank Quinn noted it is a pilot project for the Albion area, which would be expanded to other areas of the community only as dictated by council.
Coun. Corisa Bell spoke against the new bylaw, saying she wanted a firm plan of what projects the funds would be spent on.
“My concern is we’ll end up with density, and the neighbourhood will get not much back in return,” said Bell.
Coun. Cheryl Ashlie answered that a lack of amenities in the Albion area has been an ongoing issue, and the bylaw would offer some solution to that. She said it is also a way for the district to gain a new source of revenue without going to the taxpayer.
The density bonus structure would apply 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 bylaw spells out that in zoning where the base density is a lot area of 2,000 square meters, the new density bonus would allow a minimum lot area of 557m.
To achieve this, the minimum lot width would be halved from 30m to 15m, and the lot depth from 40m to 27m.
In zones where the minimum lot size is 557 square metres, the density bonus would allow 371m square, with a minimum lot width of 12m and depth of 24m.
Other density bonuses for apartments and townhouses in the area are also spelled out.
Council requested that staff report on how the density bonus is being used after six months using the new policy.