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Future PoCo Place high-rises may impact nearby townhouses

PORT COQUITLAM — Committee of council warns of shadows from future PoCo Place towers on the proposed townhouse development at 3390 Lancaster St.

Three vacant lots directly north of the Port Coquitlam Animal Hospital on Lougheed Highway may soon have five townhomes.

But city councillors are raising red flags about future towers on a nearby commercial lot that may block views and sun for the units.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the city's committee of council unanimously advanced the bid to council to rezone 3390 Lancaster St.

If the first bylaw reading is OK'd, a public hearing would be held this fall.

According to a report from Bruce Irvine, Port Coquitlam's director of planning and development, Bouthouse Design Group is proposing a three-storey, five-unit townhouse development at the intersection with Gail Avenue.

The 12,900 sq. ft. site previously had a older single-storey home that straddled the three lots.

The property also has 31 trees, of which seven along Gail Avenue will stay; three trees to the south will also be retained while the rest will be cut due to poor health or location, staff said.

And while Coun. Paige Petriw criticized the design of the development, saying it looks like a "hospital or prison," others cited the impact of future high-rises to the west at PoCo Place mall.

"Are we jumping the gun here?" asked Coun. Steve Darling, adding, "That whole area will look vastly different in a few years."

But Irvine said the Bouthouse Design Group is aware of the upcoming mall re-do, and its application is compliant with the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP).

As well, it also meets the city’s need to create "missing middle housing" — that is, a range of affordable multi-family homes.

The site is also close to public transit, he said.

Coun. Glenn Pollock said PoCo aims to build 550 more units a year as per its 2022 Housing Needs Report.

As for the proposed PoCo Place update, the future Lancaster owners "should have their eyes wide open on that," Pollock stressed.