White Rock encouraged to reject subdivision

  - File photo
— image credit: File photo

White Rock city planners are encouraging council to reject an application that would make two lots out of one Marine Drive property, citing concern the move would set a precedent for new undersized lots.

But council members – meeting as the land-use and planning committee – stopped short of the move last week, preferring instead to ask for more information before making that call.

"Generally, I like this," Mayor Wayne Baldwin said of plans proposed for 14310 Marine Dr., noting his main concern is with the lot coverage. "It is in keeping with the existing neighbourhood."

The proponent has asked for rezoning to comprehensive development in order to subdivide the property and build two homes.

In explaining staff hesitation around the application, the city's director of planning and developing services cited concerns including high lot coverage, increased demand on already-limited street parking and the likelihood of encroachment on BNSF Railway lands. The latter is an issue with a number of adjacent undersized lots, Paul Stanton said, explaining that residents have extended their outdoor livable space into the private property – areas the city cannot police.

When those adjacent lots were originally subdivided, they were developed to accommodate smaller cottages, Stanton notes in a report presented to the committee. These days, most applicants are "seeking to maximize development on the lands due to the high property values."

Plans for each of the proposed new lots include two levels of basement that would not be included in floor area ratio calculations.

Feedback received during an Oct. 3 public information meeting on the application was all positive.

In the staff report, city manager Dan Bottrill notes there is merit in moving the application forward "as it is in keeping with  adjacent properties."

In discussing a motion by Baldwin to defer a decision, Coun. Larry Robinson agreed the project meets the form of the neighbourhood to the east.

"The question becomes for us, how far west are we going to continue the subdivision of lots?" he said.

Stanton noted a similar subdivision was allowed in east White Rock, but would be a first "in this location."

The committee voted unanimously (with Couns. Helen Fathers and Al Campbell absent) to defer the decision.


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