This article has been amended to reflect that Coun. Steve Milani’s comments were not made in response to Coun. Meghan Lahti’s comments.

They might not support it later but they supported it Tuesday.

Despite a lack of enthusiasm from much of Port Moody council, a six-storey, 88-unit James Road project is headed to a public hearing following a unanimous vote Tuesday.

A previous version of the project that included 57 microsuites was rejected in April. The new incarnation, which would replace two single-family homes at 148-154 James Street, has increased the size of the smallest units from 300 to 400 square feet.

“I’m probably not going to be supporting this,” Coun. Meghan Lahti told her colleagues.

Of the 88 units, 64 are studios or one-bedroom suites. Given the fact that the development is closer to a school than a SkyTrain station, Lahti suggested the development would be a better fit in a dense urban setting.

However, Lahti said she was interested enough in hearing from the public to advance the project past second reading.

“We don’t have anything like this in Port Moody so it would be nice to get a feel for what the public has to say about it,” Coun. Steve Milani said.

Both Couns. Amy Lubik and Diana Dilworth expressed doubts about approving the project. Dilworth noted there are no jobs in the development and, except for the project’s rooftop, no park space.

image supplied

Affordability

The project initially included 13 affordable units offered at 15 percent below market rental rates guaranteed for 10 years.

“The term is shorter than we’d like to see,” Andre Boel said. Port Moody’s current policy suggests affordable rental rates be secured for at least 60 years.

The tenure is “absolutely unacceptable,” according to Dilworth, who noted that many young people save for more than 20 years to put a down payment on a house.

Following a motion from Coun. Hunter Madsen, council voted to increase the tenure to 20 years.

Just speculating here

The project will be “a speculator’s dream,” according to Dilworth.

Referring to concerns about investors scooping up multiple units, Coun. Zoe Royer asked: “Will you allow for unlimited, multiple purchases?”

In addition to giving first crack to people who work and live in Port Moody, applicant Sasha Rasovic of Dulex Laidler assured Royer the development would be for “occupiers, not investors.”

Breakdown

  • Floor area ratio: 3.13 (FAR measures a project’s total floor space against its lot size)
  • Studio units: 35
  • One-bedroom units: 29
  • Two-bedroom units: 19

The project includes 88 parking stalls – 80 assigned to residents and 8 to visitors.