Council has given its first thumbs up to a plan put in homes on 13 acres in the northeast corner of Albion flats.
After earlier being delayed because of the evolving future of the area along Lougheed Highway and 105th Avenue, Maple Ridge politicians OK’d first reading of an application that will allow more homes at the corner of 104th Avenue and Slatford Place.
According to a staff report, owners John and Steve Wynnyk have wanted to put homes on the property “for many years.”
But first reading of rezoning was delayed from earlier this year because of the uncertainty in how all of Albion flats would develop.
Smart Centres, which owns property on the west side of 105th Avenue, has proposed a land swap with the District of Maple on the south side of 105th Avenue.
The Agricultural Land Commission has said it would consider excluding property from the land reserve on the east side of 105th for development, but wants to preserve agricultural use on the west side.
Council approved first reading despite a staff recommendation against it.
“Residential use for the site may not be the highest and best use,” says the report.
It notes the land, about 12 per cent of the privately owned east of 105th, could be needed for other commercial or employment uses.
Council approved first reading in a 4-3 vote, with Coun. Bob Masse opposing. Couns. Mike Morden and Corisa Bell also opposed it.
Masse wanted to wait until an Albion concept plan was in place before allowing the proposal.
But he acknowledged the owners had wanted to develop the land for a long time and the property was separated from the rest of Albion flats by sports fields.
Staff also note that if the project goes ahead, the developer won’t have to participate in improving drainage for the area. Allowing homes to be built there could “a source of conflict,” for business parks, civic use or future stores, it adds.
Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion app sent on
Maple Ridge council has forwarded another application to remove farmland from Albion flats, this time at 23623 – 105th Ave.
GSS Holdings wants to remove the 20 acres that lie adjacent to about 40 acres that council also forwarded.
However, a staff report notes the land on the west side of 105th Avenue, is in an area that the Agricultural Land Commission has “consistently stated should be retained in the ALR.”
District of Maple Ridge staff and Smart Centres, which also owns several acres on the west side of 105th Avenue, are currently talking about a land swap, in which Maple Ridge would give some of its land to Smart Centres in return for their property on the north side.
Smart Centres wants to exchange the 20 acres it owns west of 105th Avenue along the Lougheed Highway – and which lie in the Agricultural Land Reserve – with the district’s 17 acres on the east side of 105th Avenue, currently the site of the Albion Fairgrounds.