White Rock Residents decry proposed building

WHITE ROCK — A decision on whether a controversial six-unit apartment building will get the go-ahead by council has been deferred until the next time council meets.

The decision came after residents at a public hearing for the proposed development came out primarily against the proposal, saying it did not fit the neighbourhood and would disrupt the surrounding area.

The building would be located at the corner of Thrift and Vidal.

Arguing council should stop making spot amendments to allow larger developments in zones they were not permitted, resident Dennis Lypka said council would also need to amend the Official Community Plan to allow the building to go up.

"Any time a change in use or density is proposed that is not consistent with OCP, then an OCP amendment is required," said Lypka. "Any other interpretation is wrong and dangerous."

Lypka also wondered why proper signage wasn’t put up at the site prior to a public hearing, which he claims was only erected two days prior to a public hearing scheduled for June 23.

"No city policy can trump a bylaw," he said. "Any thoughtful reading of the history of the current proposal is flawed and not correct, a flawed process will always bring about a flawed result."

Scott Kristjanson, founder of White Rock’s No More Highrises group, reminded council that the OCP was not merely a guideline and said such proposed developments impact people’s livelihood.

"Our number-one investment in our lives is our home. We have to know that when we buy our home its value is going to be retained and when we throw out the OCP we throw out value of our investment," he said. "We have to reject this, please."

On the city side, director of planning and development Karen Cooper said while the project itself comes in at a higher units-per-acre measurement (26.7) than others in the area, the average of the area’s units-per-acre will still remain at 21.8.

"The proposed development is consistent with other low-density developments in the area," she said. "The concrete building will be long lasting and provides an improved street scape that a townhouse (complex) could not achieve."

However, residents in opposition said just because other developments hadn’t maxed out their capacity quota shouldn’t mean a development could be that much larger.

Former Coun. Margaret Woods wondered when the city decided to begin calculating density based on areas instead of lots.

"In this instance, most of the lots identified show 21 units per acre, this is 26, so we have one large one and a whole bunch of little ones," she said. "A new development should blend in with rest of the neighbourhood and 26 does not fit in with 21 units per acre."

Resident Ron Elliott, who’s lived in the city for more than 35 years spoke in favour of the development, saying it would provide affordable housing.

Council is expected to make a decision on the proposal on Sept. 29.


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