Opponents of a townhouse development proposed for two Roper Avenue lots say that if officials allow the applicant extra height that’s been requested, it will change the face of the White Rock neighbourhood forever.
“The height of these townhouses is going to be four storeys high and will not esthetically fit in with the rest of the neighbourhood,” Gale Dawson told council Monday, during a public hearing for a zoning amendment.
“There is nothing in the neighbourhood that is this high.”
The proposal is for a two-building, seven-unit strata townhouse complex – complete with “flex rooms” and rooftop decks – at 15374 and 15382 Roper Ave. The zoning amendment, if approved, would allow for site-specific heights, density, lot coverage and property-line setbacks. The extra height – an additional four feet – is to accommodate ground-level garages, a staff report states.
Dawson was among five residents who cited the proposed height as a problem Monday. Two noted they bought homes in the area after receiving assurances from the city that heights were limited to three storeys.
Merklin Street resident Ann Taylor-Robinson – wife of Coun. Larry Robinson – told council she is “dreading” losing the sunlight that will be blocked from entering through her patio door should the project proceed.
While council did not discuss the proposal Monday – in public hearings, their role is to simply listen to citizens – Mayor Wayne Baldwin did raise his own concerns with the height last month, during the June 25 land-use and planning committee meeting.
For Baldwin, the issue was more about what the developer was offering the city in return for the four feet.
“We’re selling our open space, giving it away to the developer, with no return,” he said.
“There should be something coming back to the public if we’re going to be allowing the developer to go higher.”
Stanton said the city’s density-bonus policy provides that opportunity. He noted the proposed density is about half of what is otherwise permitted.
The site, zoned multi-family, permits up to 50 units per acre. The applicant’s proposal equates to 23 UPA.
Monday, Dawson asked for more information on an “underground water source” that has led to flooding issues in the area.
At the June 25 meeting, Stanton explained the flooding problem was related to an older storm-sewer connection. The applicant would have to upgrade the connection if the project proceeds, he said.
Council is expected to consider the zoning amendments Monday.