White Rock residents won’t get their final say on the city’s updated official community plan just yet.
After a presentation of the revised plan at Monday’s land use and planning committee, council agreed the document still needs tweaking on minor points before the associated bylaw proceeds to a public hearing.
Following a discussion of potential changes, council endorsed Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s suggestion that the plan return to the committee in two weeks. That could set scheduling of a public hearing to late July, and adoption of the revised OCP to early fall.
“I don’t think we’re there yet,” Coun. Lynne Sinclair said of the plan, following a presentation in which planning and development services director Carl Johansen said that while the OCP lays out a general direction for the city until 2045, it “should be viewed as an evolving document that will be amended from time to time.”
Coun. Helen Fathers took up the theme, following later discussion that focused on amendments to the plan, including adjustments setting floor-area-ratios for specific areas.
“When I look at this document, I think that an application can come forward that is above the density specified and above the height, and it can be passed by four votes,” she said, referring to a majority vote required on the seven-member council.
“That’s why I’m not really concerned with (the) numbers, because it is just a guideline.”
Her comments were echoed by Coun. David Chesney, who noted “seven towers that will be built in the next three or four years” have been approved over densities specified in the current OCP.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to four votes,” he said.
Among other potential adjustments noted by councillors were setting a policy allowing exceptions to OCP requirements for projects already “in-stream,” and suggestions from Sinclair for changes to OCP language to emphasize that the city already “embraces art and culture.”