Council has given first reading to a proposal to build 16 one-acre lots in east Maple Ridge, outside the urban area boundary.
A staff report states that the property is also near the Agricultural Land Reserve, Kanaka Creek Regional Park and the Whonnock Aquifer, all of which could impact the development.
Coun. Kiersten Duncan opposed the proposal.
“This development is well outside the urban area boundary,” she said at council’s April 9 meeting.
City engineer Dave Pollock said the properties would use septic sewage systems and wouldn’t be connected to the Metro Vancouver sewage system. However, there is a water main nearby that could be extended to serve the area.
Coun. Gordy Robson said that the official community plan allows such developments.
“So there is the argument to be made that the person has the legal right to develop it.”
Coun. Judy Dueck said that the issue of one-acre lots outside the urban area boundary has been reviewed regularly since the OCP was passed in 2006.
“We’ve revisited it and revisited it and revisited it, so quite frankly, I’m done revisiting it.”
Dueck said one-acre lots are a permitted use outside the urban area boundary.
Such developments are one reason why people locate here, she added.
The staff report notes that, according to the official community plan, any new development near the aquifer requires study of groundwater flows.
“Development proposals that cannot ensure adequate groundwater flows, sufficient water quality, or mitigate potential impacts to existing and surrounding water well systems will not be supported,” the OCP notes.
The report also said that allowing residential development outside the urban area boundary, where suburbs are usually built, has been discussed by previous councils and has resulted in the rejection of other applications.
However, the suburban residential development is currently allowed in the official community plan, the report says.
In 2017, the previous council reviewed the issue and said no changes should be made to the existing estate suburban and suburban residential designations in the OCP.
Council, in 2016, rejected a previous proposal for the property calling for 12 lots.