Coquitlam heritage house hangs in balance as council mulls development

The project would allow for a 93-unit development home while protecting one of Coquitlam’s oldest houses – but there’s a hitch.

Arrayed over five lots at Rochester and Madore avenues south of the Vancouver Golf Club, the project could impact the privacy of neighbouring properties at 572 and 600 Madore Avenue.

To reduce that impact, applicant the Circadian Group renewed negotiations to buy both properties.

development graphic supplied

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“The parties were unable to reach an agreement,” according to a city staff report.

In response, the Circadian Group essentially rejigged the development, using the grade of the site to make the project look less imposing, “and to mitigate shadow and privacy impacts,” according to a city staff report.

‘Don’t feel comfortable’

Council unanimously voted to send the project to public hearing on Monday, but not without a few misgivings.

“I just don’t feel comfortable with it at the moment,” Coun. Chris Wilson said. “I’m very hopeful that the three parties can come to an agreement because this is a very, very unusual situation.”

Piece of the past

As part of the proposal, the applicant would renovate and preserve the Pollard residence. Originally built as a farmhouse in 1909, the Craftsman-influenced home at 609 Rochester is one of the oldest surviving structures in the neighbourhood.

“The original farmhouse has been expanded and altered over time, but is characterized by its early wooden building materials, as well as its wrap-around verandah,” according to a staff report.

The heritage revitalization agreement typically gives a developer extra height or density in exchange for preserving an asset that might otherwise be lost to redevelopment.

Negotiations continue

While the neighbouring properties will still be viable as single-family homes, development potential could be limited after this project, Mayor Richard Stewart told his colleagues Monday.

Stewart said he hoped the parties could come together but emphasized that the city can’t get involved in private negotiations between buyer and seller.

While Coun. Brent Asmundson agreed, he added that he understood negotiations were continuing.

“I think there was some movement – not enough, I think – between the two. But once again, I don’t think that’s our role,” Asmundson said.

‘Satisfactory’

The applicant has put forward a plan to develop the properties without picking up the neighbouring parcels, according to a city staff report.

“While it would be preferable to include 572 and 600 Madore Avenue in the subject development, the applicant has provided a satisfactory concept showing how these lots could feasibly develop,” the report stated.

Money on the table

If approved, the application is expected to generate approximately $1.547 million in development cost charges and community amenity contributions.

Development status

Before shovels can sink into the ground, the development requires another vote from council following a public hearing and a final vote of formal adoption.

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