July 25,2009 Special Committee of the Whole
Committee of the Whole
3.1 Official Community Plan - Draft Review
For the information of the members of the public present, Mayor Trasolini noted that this is the first opportunity Council has had to see the draft Official Community Plan (OCP). He indicated that today’s proceedings would afford no opportunity for questions or input from the public. Additional public opportunities will be made available at the planned town hall meeting scheduled for September 9th, 2009, as well as such other opportunities as Council may schedule. He added that the objective of Council is to finish the OCP process for adoption of an OCP by the end of this year.
Mayor Trasolini raised for discussion the issue that, as Council undertakes to approve an OCP, one of the most important components is transportation infrastructure in the area. He suggested that with the uncertainty around the funding for the Evergreen Line and the Murray Clarke Connector, Council should decide whether their OCP review would be approached from either the perspective that transportation infrastructure is anticipated, or that the city will adopt a plan that does not anticipate the infrastructure. He added that the deadline for the Council of Mayors to approve the TransLink budget is October 31st, 2009.
In response to a request for clarification, the Director of Planning and Development Services reported that the policies in the OCP have to be clear and consistent with the land use map as to future land uses. The current OCP specifies land use and there is a clause in the OCP that if transportation isn’t approved, we have the opportunity to reconsider potential growth and amend the OCP.
There was then discussion about whether it would be an option that Council prepare two recommendations on the OCP before it is adopted. The first plan would reflect the assumption that transportation infrastructure will be approved while the second OCP would anticipate not getting the Evergreen Line and Murray Clarke Connector for the foreseeable future.
The Director of Planning and Development Services confirmed that an OCP can be amended and that land use designations per se do not obligate the city to proceed with any proposal for a zoning amendment. Unlike the zoning bylaw where the city cannot downzone property, the OCP can set a long term vision that anticipates a different zoning.
A question was raised as to whether Port Moody would need to redo the public input process because public input to date on this draft OCP has been based on the assumption that transportation infrastructure is coming.
In response to a question, The Director of Planning and Development Services advised that the current plan is consistent with the Livable Region Strategic Plan which contemplates a potential population capacity of 44,000. The changes on the map could result in an additional population capacity of up to 60,000 people in future.
While there is no legal requirement for further public input, if Council is making significant changes additional public input would be advisable. As requested, he reported that during the last OCP update where the population projections were not consistent with the Livable Region Strategic Plan, the regional district at the time rejected Port Moody’s OCP.
There was general consensus of Council to proceed on the basis that transportation infrastructure will be more certain within the timeframe of the OCP, i.e. within the next 5 years. If transportation infrastructure does not materialize within those 5 years, the plan could be amended.
The Planner then made a presentation on the nature and extent of public consultation from early 2007 to date. She noted that there have been 1,000 participants in workshops, surveys and feedback forms. Overall, the significant changes in the draft plan include a greater emphasis on sustainability and culture with new maps related to environmentally sensitive areas, and an expanded appendix related to environmental considerations. There are fourteen proposed land use changes, reduced from 16 since the 2009 feedback. She presented highlights of the various chapters.
The Director of Planning and Development Services added that the policies reflect new policies that are in other plans such as the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and Cultural Strategic Plan and other strategic plans and master plans that have been developed since the last OCP review.
Council worked chapter by chapter with staff providing an explanation of what has been updated based on such approaches as new directions in sustainability and incorporating plans such as goals set out in the Cultural Strategic Plan.
Mayor Trasolini suggested the process for changes be that Council members can request changes and if there is no disagreement with the suggestion, staff will incorporate the comments.
Council members made the following comments for changes to the draft OCP:
that fiscal responsibility concerning the management of the City’s funds and taxpayer dollars should be an important policy;
that cities must come to an understanding of peak oil and include plans to prepare for that, for example phrasing could be added to Section 3.2 to deal with peak oil and coping mechanisms;
that policies to provide for additional capacity should be added to the Transportation Section 3.2.6.;
that given that industrial land is at a premium in Metro Vancouver with industrial land being lost to housing and other uses, there are implications for Port Moody if the same should occur here; that is, a loss of jobs and tax base diversity, but also advantages to a port city like Port Moody;
that an industrial land inventory be developed within which Council could create policy to indicate priorities for lands to include in the inventory;
that the references to a cultural precinct in Inlet Centre including a library may be premature as it may not occur within the timeframe of the new OCP;
that Section 4.1.7 Waterfront Village should go back to a special study area to indicate this area requires further discussion rather than saying that this is the only option for a waterfront village;
that staff ensure that terminology relating to density descriptions are consistent between sections, such as references in Section 4.1 compared to Section 8.9.;
that a 4 storey limit for Heritage Mountain Shopping Centre is shortsighted given that the Centre is located within the Inlet Centre boundary but is being treated differently than the other lands within the boundary area which means tenants in the Heritage Mountain Shopping Centre have to pay the same taxes based on assessed values in Newport Village.
The Committee discussed whether the plan for the Heritage Mountain Shopping Centre should be more congruent with the entire Inlet Centre area given that the plan has always been that Inlet Centre is the high density area in Port Moody. Even though the timing may not be right for higher density now, the plan should look at the long term.
It was suggested that the wording of Item #17 for Inlet Centre be replaced with the wording in Item #16, page 31.
The issue of the difficulty setting plans for density without certainty about transportation infrastructure was again raised for discussion.
Moved, seconded and CARRIED
THAT Item 17, page 31, of the draft policies be removed and replaced with wording that reflects the principles in Section 16, page 31, that is, a range of building heights up to 26 stories or 260 feet, whichever is less, may be considered on the site at the corner of Ioco Road and Ungless Way (Heritage Mountain Shopping Centre), subject to a comprehensive development plan that exhibits exceptional architecture design, maintains view corridors, addresses community impacts, and provides an adequate transition in form and use with adjacent properties.
Voting against: Councillors Clay and Nuttall
The meeting recessed at 10:55 a.m. and reconvened at 11:15 a.m.
Given the difficulty making decisions on density in the absence of certainty of transportation infrastructure, Mayor Trasolini suggested more certainty should be known after the Council of Mayor’s meeting on October 31, 2009 regarding TransLink’s budget.
Moved, seconded and CARRIED
THAT the Committee of the Whole discussions of the Official Community Plan be adjourned until a date following the October 31, 2009 Council of Mayor’s meeting.
A question was raised regarding the Town Hall meeting scheduled for September 9th. Mayor Trasolini advised that the process would now be discussed further with Council and staff as to what process should be followed in the Fall.