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White Rock public-hearing decision angers residents

A public hearing is to take place on proposed amendments to plans for the White Rock Mufflers site. - File photo
A public hearing is to take place on proposed amendments to plans for the White Rock Mufflers site.
— image credit: File photo

Residents concerned with proposed amendments to a project planned for the former White Rock Muffler site will soon have a chance to voice those concerns.

But council’s move to authorize a public hearing on the issue was not welcomed by area residents who had been heartened by a land-use committee decision earlier this month to recommend rejecting the amendment as written.

Bob Berger said many neighbours of the proposed site – located at the base of Oxford Street – are “absolutely outraged at the lack of transparency.”

“It appears like a 180,” Berger said Monday of the vote.

“What shifted all of a sudden?”

In addition to authorizing the public hearing, council voted unanimously Jan. 28 (with Couns. Helen Fathers and Al Campbell absent) to give the application – which includes a request for additional height – first and second reading.

At the Jan. 14 land-use meeting, the recommendation to reject, put forward by Fathers, carried with Couns. Larry Robinson and Louise Hutchinson opposed.

The complex is one that has generated much concern among residents since it was first proposed.

After much discussion, it was approved more than a year ago, with plans at that time including a four-storey apartment building, two three-storey townhouse structures and a segment of two-storey townhouses over at-grade commercial units.

The revisions coming to public hearing were requested in the fall, after Richmond-based LLW Holdings Ltd. took ownership of the site.

They have been attributed in part to a miscalculation of the flood plain.

Berger said many residents who attended a November public-information meeting were supportive of the plans until they realized after the fact that additional height and square footage was also on the table.

His biggest concern Monday was that no explanation was provided by council members who had an apparent change of heart.

After the meeting, he put the question to Coun. Grant Meyer, who explained that the amendments requested weren’t clear at the land-use meeting.

It “kind of went off the rails,” Meyer said of discussion that took place Jan. 14.

While Berger said residents are feeling like council is “hell-bent” on seeing the project built, Meyer said his mind is not made up.

The public hearing date has not been finalized, but is expected to take place toward the end of February.

 

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