On Monday July 31 2017, Coquitlam Council updated the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw to amend provisions on building height, building density and the landmark site designation in the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Centre (PDF).
Based on an in-depth density and height review, the updates lifted a six-year-old moratorium on high-rise development in Austin Heights Neighbourhood Centre.
How is Density Calculated?
A key part of the review was building densities. Density is the building floor area allowed to be constructed on a property and is expressed as a ratio called a Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Floor area is further shaped by the maximum permitted lot coverage, which is the area of a lot that is covered by a building.
Example (PDF): If a lot is 10,000 square feet and the maximum FAR is 2.0, the maximum allowable floor area that can be constructed is 20,000 square feet Additionally, lot coverage shapes the building form.
Neighbourhood Centre Density & Height Review
The density and height review included the following:
Review of public feedback on ’The Austin’ high-rise development application located at 955 Austin Avenue
Review of Neighbourhood Centre policies
Review the role of Austin Heights in the hierarchy of urban centres in Coquitlam
Review the ’landmark site’ designation and related density bonus
Undertake architectural testing within in the Neighbourhood Centre
Highlights of Proposed Neighbourhood Centre Updates
The updates recognize the role of the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Centre as a local centre in Coquitlam’s urban hierarchy, and support the intent of the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Plan to continue to revitalize the Neighbourhood Centre. Updates relate to building height, landmark sites and density in the Neighbourhood Centre:
A maximum building height of 25 storeys has been introduced and the 4 storey building height limit is maintained for properties on the south side of Austin Avenue between Gatensbury and Marmont Streets and the area south of Charland Street and east of Lebleu Street (Austin Heights Neighbourhood Centre Height Map (PDF))
Removal of the landmark site designation and density bonus provision
The C-5 zone has been brought in line with the Citywide Density Bonusing Program, by introducing a base density FAR of 2.5 with 0.5 FAR incremental steps up to a maximum density of 4.0 FAR
Consider the exemption of purpose-built rental floorspace from maximum density allowances up to an additional 1.0 FAR bonus in exchange for affordable and or special needs housing