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Two-foot rise due to city miscalculation
Proponents of a commercial/residential project that was approved for White Rock’s West Beach area last year want to reduce the number of residential units it will offer, add a fifth building and provide more parking.
And while Richmond-based LLW Holdings Ltd. hasn’t asked for more height than what zoning for the 1.14-acre site allows, a slight miscalculation by the city of where the natural grade begins will result in part of the finished product sitting two feet higher than original designs showed, city officials confirmed Monday.
“Technically, it’s two feet higher, but it’s not,” city planner Connie Halbert said. “They’re not getting any more (building) height than they were allowed. The physical height is changing because they used the wrong starting point.”
The difference was noticed by residents who attended a Nov. 14 public information meeting on zoning amendments requested for Marine Terraces.
After months of discussion and revision, the complex – proposed for five lots, at 14807 Marine Dr., 1184 Oxford St. and 14818 to 14832 Buena Vista Ave. – was approved by council last October.
After the site changed hands in September, LLW Holdings Ltd. asked for revisions.
The hope now is to build 62 residential units instead of 67; and increase the total number of parking spots to 124 from 99. An increase in the residential floor area is also proposed, to 75,441 square feet from 67,422; as is the addition of a duplex.
Reducing the number of residential units would enable the suites to be fine-tuned, and the best units to be further upgraded, architectural technologist Stefan Larose told Peace Arch News Monday.
“It’s unfortunate for those residents who thought the height limit was at a certain place and based on further review of the technical information, it’s actually required to be two feet higher,” he said.
Architect Tim Ankenman attributed the height difference to the addition of parking underneath the commercial units. In order to accommodate it, the project “had to go up a little” so it wouldn’t flood.
“We had to raise the parking up so it wasn’t constantly buried in water,” he said.
Ankenman described the proposed changes as negligible and positive. They will not affect view corridors, he said. “It really should be absolutely non-contentious.”
Resident Bob Berger said he had attended the meeting “really wanting to wish them well,” but left not so sure. Some people opted not to attend because advertising implied the changes were to be cosmetic, he said.
“I think you’ll find that a lot of people who live up the slope are going to be very, very impacted in terms of their views, and are going to be very upset if there is any increase in height,” Berger said
Berger said he and his wife, Sandra, both submitted feedback supportive of the changes, but wonder now if that was a mistake.
“I think a lot more discussion has to be had on this subject,” he said.
Halbert said anyone with concerns can “absolutely” raise them at a public hearing that will be scheduled for the new year if council gives the amendments first and second reading next month.