Port Moody council rejects 'over the top' townhouse proposal

A proposal to build 45 townhomes on six properties along St. George Street in Port Moody is “far too dense,” with not enough green space, said city councillors who rejected the project at their meeting last Tuesday.

The project, by Marcon Properties, would also have included the restoration and preservation of the Johnston Residence, at the corner of Moody and St. George streets., that was constructed in 1911 by former alderman William Thomas Johnston and his wife, Lulie.

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But Coun. Hunter Madsen said the revitalization of that house, and adding it to the city’s heritage register, isn’t enough return to the city for a project that would be comprised of six additional three-storey buildings clustered around an internal walkway.

“This project crosses a line,” he said. “There’s too much crowding, too little green space and that causes liveability problems.”

But Coun. Diana Dilworth said the development, with a mix of three- and four-bedroom units, including one with a lock-off secondary suite, is exactly what the city should be striving to get built, especially in close proximity to its SkyTrain stations.

“This is a very unique situation, building around a heritage home,” she said, adding previous proposals to build townhomes in the city offered less green space.

Still, Mayor Rob Vagramov criticized the proposal for being too dense even though it’s located in Port Moody’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zone, which encourages higher density living.

“We’re being asked here is to cram so many people into that site,” he said. “Having such an over-the-top dense development, there’s no way I could support something like that.”

Coun. Meghan Lahti said while she had “some reservations, I also see a lot of real positive about (the proposal.”

She said she would have liked to at least have the chance to gauge public opinion by seeing it go forward to a public hearing.

Couns. Madsen, Steven Milani, and Mayor Vagramov voted against first reading of the proposal, preventing it from proceeding any further towards a public hearing. Couns. Amy Lubik, Dilworth and Lahti supported it, while Coun. Zoe Royer was absent.

3/06: Story has been updated to clarify the nature of the vote.

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