Is it providing an amenity or buying zoning?
That’s the question Mayor Lois Jackson posed once again during a recent Delta council discussion on a North Delta redevelopment application.
Council gave preliminary approval to a proposal to subdivide two lots containing older houses on 89A Avenue to build 16 townhouses. Among the questions raised was whether the project should provide some kind of community amenity.
Community planning director Marcy Sangret said staff members are still working on a report on a potential policy as requested by council earlier this year. She also noted the 89A Avenue proposal is consistent with North Delta’s area plan.
The amenity question was raised a few months ago during discussion on a four-storey condo building proposed for 51st Street in Ladner.
At that time, Coun. Jeannie Kanakos asked if the 51st Street application should perhaps provide some sort of community amenity given the applicant would enjoy a significant upzoning from what’s currently in place for the site.
Acting CAO Steven Lan said during that discussion it’s been his experience that community amenities have been negotiated for larger projects.
Council agreed not to require an amenity for either project.
During both discussions Jackson said the city had better be careful if it wanted to move ahead with a policy requiring something from most developments, warning it would appear the city is open to selling rezoning. She said she’s worried there could be legal implications as well.
“I do have some concern about the direction we may be going,” said Jackson.
Sangret noted the city has not been pursuing amenities since Delta has no formal policy and given most development proposals are consistent with the Official Community Plan.