New Westminster city council isn't prepared to sign off on parking plans for the Victoria Hill site just yet.
Council recently received a report about the parking provisions being proposed as part of a proposed rezoning of 296 Francis Way, a site known as Parcel O in the Victoria Hill development.
Because of concerns about parking, council tabled a rezoning amendment being sought for the site, where a woodframe building with 100 non-market and 85 market rental units is being proposed.
According to a staff report, the city's parking requirements indicate that 266 spaces would be required with the proposed development, but 166 spaces are being proposed.
In response to council's concern about parking at the site, Onni, the developer, proposed to address the parking situation by providing a cooperative parking space, making surplus parking spaces on the adjacent site (Parcel J) available for residents of Parcel O and providing electric outlets for electric vehicles in the underground parking.
With these measures in place, staff states that the difference between the parking that's required and the parking proposed is reduced from 100 to 87 fewer spaces than what's required.
According to city staff, three parking studies indicate there is a significantly lower parking demand for rental apartment sites and some adjustments can be made in the parking supply differences, but there is still a "significant" difference between the parking that's required and the parking being provided as part of this project.
The concept of creating additional on-street parking at the Victoria Hill site was also discussed, but Onni indicated it's not willing to pay for the provision of additional onstreet spaces in the development. Staff noted there may be an opportunity to provide at least 15 additional spaces throughout the Victoria Hill site.
"I think we need more parking on that site," said Coun. Bill Harper. "This was a creative way to get to it. Nobody seems to care, not even the developer."
Jerry Behl, a transportation engineer with the city, said staff is planning to visit the site again and confirm the number of parking spaces that can be created through on-street parking.
Coun. Betty McIntosh said the city needs to be "very careful" if it plans to start removing trees as it will upset some people, even though the parking situation needs to be addressed. Some trees may need to be removed in order to create new onstreet parking spaces.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said Victoria Hill already has significant parking issues that must be addressed.
He said that approving the parking as proposed would set a bad precedent for parking, noting the site is located in an area that isn't well-served by transit.
"Onni needs to hear loud and clear this is not an acceptable number of parking spaces," he said.
Council directed staff to work with the developer to discuss parking adjacent to parcels O and J at the Victoria Hill site.