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Finlay townhouse project sunk again
Efforts to build townhouses on four lots of White Rock’s Finlay Street have once again failed to get majority support at city hall.
Despite staff recommendations, council members meeting as the land-use committee voted 4-3 against giving preliminary approval to a zoning amendment that would facilitate construction of a 22-unit complex at 1526, 1536, 1550 and 1556 Finlay St.
Last month’s vote follows a tie vote in July that stopped a 20-unit project eyed for the same site from moving forward. At that time, councillors cited concerns including density and a pattern of creating site-specific zones.
In discussing the more recent application, director of planning and development services Paul Stanton said new owners of the site had redesigned the four-building project “significantly,” including adding a second access point.
Rezoning the property to Comprehensive Development (CD) from One-Unit Residential (RS-1) was requested to address site-specific requirements around setbacks and height, Stanton said.
Councillors who voted against the application again cited concerns with stepping outside the city’s Official Community Plan.
“We are exceeding the height in our own zoning bylaw,” Coun. Larry Robinson said.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin, and Couns. Grant Meyers and Al Campbell all supported moving the project forward, with Campbell describing it as “exactly what we need here,” and Baldwin noting decisions by previous councils “set up a situation which encouraged people to invest a fair amount of money in this project… put investors in a situation that is not their fault.”
It is “very, very hard to go back and try to change history,” Baldwin said. “The horse is out of the barn on this one.”
Coun. Helen Fathers disagreed.
“We aren’t committed to the developer, we serve the public,” she said. “We don’t have to go with this. We can say no.”
Following the Dec. 10 vote, Stanton said the applicant’s options include going back to the drawing board or “passing the problem onto someone else.”