Another 45 one- and two-bedroom rental suites could be coming to Maple Ridge if a way can be found to allow the building to go two storeys higher, satisfy parking issues, and ensure the project fits in with the neighbourhood.
The proposal includes, in exchange for the additional height of the building, seven suites will be accessible to those with disabilities, while another five suites will see their rents frozen at $1,000 a month for 30 years to help with housing affordability in the area.
A Dec. 5 staff report notes that under the current Town Centre Area Plan, buildings are not supposed to be higher than four storeys in order to preserve the heritage of the Port Haney area.
In order to go six storeys, council would have to approve rezoning.
Before that happens, the developer will have to do a viewscape study and a shadow study to show how the new project would affect the surrounding area.
One feature of the building includes a concrete wall that forms the underground parking lot. That will be visible from the east and combined with the height of six storeys, the building “could have an imposing effect on the property to the east,” said a staff report. That will require an “acceptable interface” between both buildings.
The city will also have to decide if it wants to allow a reduction from the required number of parking spaces from 62 to 49. But the developer will have to make a case for that reduction. However, another new rental apartment building on 122nd Avenue was previously given a relaxation in the number of parking spaces, the report points out.
Councillors were excited about the project and approved first reading, though they had reservations.
“I hope this is something that blends in with the historic nature of the community,” said Coun. Gordy Robson.
Coun. Craig Speirs said the building is exactly what the city has been asking for, but it has to fit within the area and he had some concerns about the height of the building.
Coun. Corisa Bell appreciated the applicant’s efforts, but wanted to see it go forward.
“I think for the first time I don’t have an issue with a reduction in parking,” Bell said.