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May 16,2008 - Tri City News


By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News - May 16, 2008


A proposed development on St. Johns Street, between the Sonrisa building and the Petro Canada station, will go to a public hearing later this month after the developers addressed a number of concerns.

The development proposed for 70-84 Electronic Ave. would feature 123 residences, 25 of them live-work units, in two buildings designed to reflect the more residential feel of the Sonrisa site to the east and a more urban aesthetic to complement the gas station directly north.

The land use committee earlier recommended council reject the proposal, citing the loss of industrial land and insufficient parking. Staff worked with the developers to revise the proposal and it now includes the 213 parking spaces required in the zoning bylaw.

In the latest report to council, city staff stood behind the live-work concept, which is fulfilling the commercial component of the proposed comprehensive development zoning that had been criticized at an earlier meeting.

Coun. Mike Clay said similar zoning at the Sonrisa site hasnít worked as only two of its units are used as live-work spaces.
(I DONT BELIEVE I SAID THIS ! I dont think ANY of the units at Sonrisa are Live/Work)

A variety of unit sizes and layouts are being proposed but the average size would be about 760 square feet.

At Tuesdayís meeting, several councillors also questioned whether it would be wise to approve a large residential development directly adjacent to the CP Rail tracks before there are further details on the Evergreen Line route. (The SkyTrain-style Evergreen Line is slated to run at ground level next to the CP tracks.)

Clay went a step further, suggesting the proponentís commitment to upgrade and widen Golden Spike Way to a proper road to allow access to the development may mean encroaching on the CP right-of-way.

Councillors Diana Dilworth and Karen Rockwell asked for more information about the proponentís commitment to contribute $400,000 to an affordable housing reserve fund.

ďIím still confused about the formula,Ē Rockwell said, noting a similar arrangement with a previous developer didnít work out as planned. Both council members said they would like to see a formal policy in place as soon as possible to standardize the process.

Council voted in favour of first two readings of the zoning bylaw and official community plan amendments, and residents can have their say at a public hearing May 27.

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