Petition stops homes

A petition opposing a subdivision in a mature, single-family home neighbourhood in Coquitlam proved to be effective against a developer last week.

City council unanimously tossed the bid to rezone a lot on Haversley Avenue after 32 surrounding homeowners put their names forward to stop the application.

Thang Van Dinh of 1714 Haversley Ave. and Stephanie Cam Van Dinh of 527 Poirier St. had sought to demolish their Haversley house, subdivide and build two narrower homes on the land as well as on a small strip of their Poirier property; the Poirier home was to remain intact.

According to a city staff report, infill is not only allowed but encouraged in the neighbourhood under the Southwest Coquitlam Area Plan and the city-wide official community plan. Also, the bid had previously been green-lighted by the city's subdivision advisory committee.

But during a public hearing earlier Monday night, petitioner Tammy Bryant told council many homeowners bought on Haversley because of its large lots and privacy despite being a block away from Austin Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Central Coquitlam. The subdivision was also planned for just north of an Esso gas station.

"We want low density so kids can still play hockey on the street," Bryant said.

Another neighbour said the Poirier property was once home to a master gardener and any loss of its trees and plants would upset her.

Coun. Doug Macdonell said the homeowners were united in their stance.

"We didn't hear from the proponents. None of the neighbours want to see this happen," said Coun. Neal Nicholson, who moved to defeat the bid.

"We have heard from the residents and I don't see how we can move forward at this time," added Coun. Barrie Lynch, who seconded Nicholson's motion.

Still, Coun. Selina Robinson and Mayor Richard Stewart cautioned that city council has to find a way to make infill doable in established neighbourhoods in order to create more affordable housing; otherwise, "our next generation will end up living in Abbotsford if we don't make the right decisions," Stewart said.


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