At Monday’s council meeting (June 5), the City of Mission rejected another development application off of Lougheed Highway in Hatzic.
Traffic and neighbourhood density emerged as primary concerns in a 5-2 voted defeating an application to rezone 34883 Lougheed Highway to allow a 10-lot subdivision. Mayor Paul Horn and Coun. Ken Herar both voted in favour of moving forward to a public hearing.
“I’m worried about the traffic flow in Hatzic and off of Lougheed Highway,” Coun. Angel Elias said. “I wonder about all this development out in the Hatzic area — does it fit with the older established neighborhoods and do we need to be putting in these pockets of smaller lots in an older, established, larger area?”
Coun. Carol Hamilton pointed out issues with the lack of a left turn lane off of Lougheed Highway that led to a fatal accident in the past. Coun. Danny Plecas said it would be unwise to allow any small development off a major highway, while Coun. Jag Gill also voiced concerns.
“My first concern is the level of density coming into this neighborhood,” Gill said. “I do understand that we do need housing, but at what cost to our community? That’s a huge level of density that’s coming on and then exiting out of that intersection onto Lougheed.”
Horn said he hesitantly supported the application because of the potential for more oversight around traffic.
“I’ve gone back and forth on this one. I have the same concerns as my colleagues but at the end of the day, I think I’m going to support the recommendation simply because I recognize that without…a public hearing and a chance to have staff do this work and hear from the public, there’s a process that the applicant can go through with essentially a five-lot designation that doesn’t need council and just needs staff that doesn’t give us an opportunity to have concerns addressed around safety,” he said.
The mayor says the proposed development could get subdivided under its current zoning by the city’s approval officer — who works at an arm’s length from council — but the applicant won’t get twice as many properties on it.
According to a staff report, the property is oversized compared to the rest of the surrounding neighbourhood. No structures are located on the property and the site is on a hillside that slopes downward.
It’s located in the Hatzic neighbourhood along Lougheed Highway with the Fraser River to the south and Hatzic Middle School approximately 550 m away. Meanwhile, Hatzic Park is approximately 700 m away.
At the May 15 meeting, council voted 7-0 against moving forward with a separate development application that would bring 44 residential units and a 60-unit townhouse complex to Hatzic. Horn says council voting against applications along Lougheed Highway in back-to-back meetings was a coincidence.
“I think that what they had in common is obviously that they were both in an area where there are concerns about traffic,” he said. “There [also] perhaps wasn’t a lot of questions asked of council by the developers ahead of time and they might have been able to shape the development more effectively if they had done that.”