A shortage of land is forcing cities and developers to come up with unique strategies for building new homes during what has arguably become a housing crisis in the Lower Mainland.
In Port Coquitlam, city council recently approved five row houses on a single lot and 23 townhomes on four lots.
But one request has come up from a developer that the city doesn't see every day.
Pollyco Group of Companies wants to add two townhouses to a development that is already 20 years old in the city's north east Riverwood neighbourhood.
If approved, these two 2,000 sq-ft. townhouses would be built on a portion of land used for a play area and remove three parking spaces, leaving five.
It was the loss of visitor parking that raised concerns for the project at Northview Place, a 38-unit townhouse development located at 1260 Riverside Dr.
Neighbourhood already short of street parking
"It is so busy, especially where this particular unit is," said Coun. Steve Darling, who expressed concerns that the loss of visitors' parking would impact the neighbourhood because visitors would have to park on the street.
"On that stretch of turn, it’s a lot of cars," Darling said.
Located across from Terry Fox Secondary, the property is in a busy area, with parking in heavy demand, according to the city.
In fact, a parking study revealed that:
- Existing visitor parking supply onsite was fully utilized;
- Parking supply on Yangtze Gate and Yangtze Place was near or at capacity; and
- A majority of available on-street capacity is along Riverside Drive.
But council was also sympathetic to the developer, given the need for housing, and the fact that Northview Place was built at a lower density than what would be allowed today.
"Housing is something we desire in the city," said Coun. Glenn Pollock.
Owners signed contracts allowing town houses
Northview Place owners are well aware of the developer's plans because they were required to sign a contract acknowledging the potential for the construction of two new townhouses when they purchased their homes in recent years.
However, losing three visitors' parking spaces is an issue and the city is concerned about adding to the tight parking situation in the neighbourhood.
"The city generally receives a higher volume of complaints for availability of on-street parking around townhouse developments, and has received a number of parking complaints for this area," states the staff report.
Council agreed to holding a public input opportunity before taking a vote on the developer's request.
If approved, Pollyco would pay the city $40,000 for each de-commissioned parking space.
As for the new town homes, side-by-side parking for two cars would be provided in an attached garage, council was told.
The playground would also be upgraded, outdoor furniture installed, and trees planted on the property.