PoMo station development brings up privacy concerns
The developer behind The Station, Port Moody’s latest mixed-use condo project planned for St. Johns Street, is asking the city for an expansion on the project, a matter that will be debated at a public hearing June 14.
Aragon Properties’ formal request to city council is to amend the zoning at the 2718-2732 St. Johns St. site to allow for a new floor-space ratio of 3.0 instead of the previously approved 2.98. This would increase the overall size of The Station by 690 sq. ft.
But the real issue for debate is the movement of an amenities room from the Moody Street side of the building to the rear, overlooking Spring Street. Aragon is also asking for a communal balcony to be built off the amenities room.
The Vancouver-based developer is seeking this change in order to convert two two-bedroom units on the Moody Street side into three-bedroom units and expand the amenities room, which will include exercise equipment and a meeting area, from 660 sq. ft. to 915 sq. ft. As innocuous as that change may sound, city council saw potential conflict arising with residents across Spring Street whose windows the new amenity room and patio would look onto.
Mayor Joe Trasolini and councillors Mike Clay, Gerry Nuttall and Diana Dilworth all raised concerns about the possibility of noisy parties and diminished privacy for neighbours across narrow Spring Street but voted in favour of the matter going to a public hearing.
“I do share the concerns that if I lived there on the second or third floor, suddenly an active gymnasium with all glass windows and somebody on a treadmill is staring in my window up until potentially 11 or 12 o’clock at night,” Coun. Clay said.
“What it’s really about in my mind is [Aragon] looking for more space against the Moody Street suites so they can increase the size of them and make more money,” said Coun. Nuttall. “And I have no objection to that at all. But what I do have objection to is the fact that they are taking a room that was facing Moody Street and not bothering anybody and they put it across the lane from residents and we don’t know what they are going to use it for.”
Nuttall was the only councillor to vote against the issue going to a public hearing.
Aragon’s director of planning and development, David Roppel, told The Tri-City News one reason for the amenities room move was to bring life to that part of the building above the loading bay and underground parking entrances.
“It helps animate Spring Street,” Roppel said. “By putting this amenities room over top of that parking entrance, it puts more eyes on the street and gives additional vibrancy to Spring Street.”
City council and staff discussed the possibility of asking Aragon to erect sight-line barriers such as landscaping on the balcony or tinting on the windows of the amenities room pending approval of its relocation.