Report proposes more homes for north Albion suburbs

Staff report shows that 61 per cent of written responses opposed the slight increase in zoning.

Maple Ridge is taking its cues from a public meeting in May and adding more density to future neighbourhoods in north Albion.

And even though most written responses opposed packing more people into the area north of 108th Avenue and east of 240th Street, the consensus from the conversations at the May 26 open house at Samuel Robertson Technical school was that people wouldn’t mind having a slightly higher population density, that also would create a larger tax base.

“We are fairly confident that there is general support for the proposed amendments,” community planning manager Jim Charlebois told council Monday.

Even though a staff report shows that 61 per cent of written responses opposed the slight increase in zoning, “that’s not necessarily representative of the feedback we got.”

He added many residents were concerned about extension of sewer and water services and wanted sufficient roads and parks for the new neighbourhoods.

A staff report recommends adding two new densities to the area, one that would see 48 lots measuring about 4,200 sq. feet, instead of 30 lots that are about 6,000 sq. feet, on a seven-acre parcel.

And instead of another area of the same size having only 12 half-acre lots, there would be 30 lots a third of that size at about 7,000 sq. feet each.

“It’s not like we’re doubling or tripling the density,” Mayor Ernie Daykin said later.

There’s no proposal to go to small-lot suburbs as is found in south Albion.

Overall, the changes would mean about 1,250 new homes instead of the 1,000 or so currently set out in the official community plan.

“That all has to be ground truthed,” and the development has to be built around natural features such as slopes and streams, said Daykin.

“We’re not going to change our 30-metre setbacks,” he added.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie though was concerned about the discrepancy between those who opposed in writing the density increase and the verbal feedback at the meeting that seemed to support it.

“There’s a lot of concern here around services.”

But public works manager Frank Quinn said staff wouldn’t make the recommendations if they thought the feeling at the open house, which drew about 160 people, was negative. “It wasn’t,” he said.

As well, councillors were told that residents can also make their views known at later public hearings.

Council votes next Tuesday on whether to direct staff to write a bylaw to amend the official community plan.