Nineteen single-family houses might get built on a steeply sloping swath of land atop Burke Mountain, despite one councillor’s surprising request for more density.
Coquitlam council voted 7-1 on Monday to allow a subdivision that would create 19 single-family lots on Harper Road and Hickstead Avenue. The project still requires a public hearing and a further council vote before construction can begin.
Coun. Robert Mazzarolo cast the lone vote against the plan, contending the city shouldn’t be create another neighbourhood characterized by single-family houses.
Local news that matters to you
No one covers the Tri-Cities like we do. But we need your help to keep our community journalism sustainable.
“It’s rare you’re going to see me say, ‘We need to go for higher densities,’” Mazzarolo acknowledged.
However, the prospect of 19 new houses is out of step with the city’s needs, according to Mazzarolo.
“I’ve heard around this table that the era of single detached homes . . . has probably passed us by,” Mazzarolo said, encouraging the developer to return with a townhouse development.
While he supported the project, Mayor Richard Stewart agreed with Mazzarolo’s point about single-family homes.
“This region needs to wean itself off of the single-family home,” Stewart said. “We don’t have any land left.”
The site slopes steeply, making the construction of townhouses a challenge, Stewart said.
There is an approximately 37-metre difference between the site’s high and low sides with an average grade of 29 percent, according to city staff.
The site is also not particularly deep, noted Coun. Dennis Marsden.
There is still a market for some single-family homes, Marsden added.
The approximately 7.2-acre site is criss-crossed by four tributaries leading to two creeks and surrounded by single-family homes as well as park and forest. However, there are two development applications in the neighbourhood, including a 120-unit townhouse development which has yet to get first reading from city council.
If the 19-lot subdivision is approved, the developer would pay the city approximately $1.28 million in development cost charges and community amenity contributions. As part of the deal, the city would also get a 13,240 square foot parcel to be turned into a park.
The developer is also charged with building a new street on the western part of the site and extending water and sewer services to the new lots.
Coun. Brent Asmundson did not attend the meeting.