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Coquitlam asking developers for a sneak peek on big projects

Developers wanting to get comments from Coquitlam city council before they see their bids go to first bylaw reading may soon get a chance for some early feedback.
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Coquitlam city staff want to see major development applications at the council-in-committee stage, in advance to first reading at city council.

Developers wanting to get comments from Coquitlam city council before they see their bids go to first bylaw reading may soon get a chance for some early feedback.

Tonight (Monday), city council will consider new policy and procedures that would allow for developer delegations before an active application is publicly scrutinized.

But the council-in-committee preview is only an option for developers and the request to speak early goes beyond the recently adopted Master Development Plan (MDP).

According to a city staff report, the aim is to raise awareness of the development proposal as well as to set the vision, intent, benefits and impacts of the project.

In addition, the advance notice would give city staff time to prepare for council’s questions about the early submission and get developers’ presentation materials.

Only one developer-led delegation would come before the committee per meeting, wrote Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development.

Among the types of applications that would get a preliminary scan are: 

• major rezoning applications other than MDP rezoning applications

• rezoning applications within designated transit-oriented development (TOD) areas

• multi-phase mixed-use developments outside of designated TOD

• major development permit applications that don’t include a rezoning application

• applications with a significant request for money from the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund

• major applications for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement

• applications proposing significant community or public benefit

At the April 19 meeting, when council discussed the topic extensively and asked staff for more clarification, Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development, said his department is trying to improve on the development bid process.

And the move for developer-led delegations comes after council and committee requests in the past for earlier reviews on major development bids and public input.

“I think this is something that is needed,” Coun. Dennis Marsden said last month. “I think it’s hopefully trying to give the direction that staff and/or the developer need.” 

He added, “I can think of one example where the developers work on a project and, two years later after having some discussions informally, they present it to us and they’ve missed the mark entirely and they had to run back and spend more months tweaking some stuff.”

“If they had that earlier check-in with us, that might have saved six or eight months of staff grief of trying to press the developer to do what council ultimately asked for.”

 

 

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