Proposed Vidal variance criticized

Height-increase request misunderstood: developer.

Residents take a look at building plans for a development at 1501 Vidal St. at a public information meeting Wednesday evening.

Residents take a look at building plans for a development at 1501 Vidal St. at a public information meeting Wednesday evening.

White Rock residents were given a preview of a much-debated development in the works for Vidal Street at a public information meeting Wednesday evening.

The meeting at the White Rock Community Centre was held to provide information on an application for amendments to the permit for 1501 Vidal St., a project that was given the green light by city council in November 2013.

The proposed amendments include a variance to increase the maximum permitted height from 39.38 metres (129.2 feet) to 43.54 m (142.8 feet), as well as reduction in the number of units from 95 to 89, redesign of balconies on the lower floors, revision of the overall massing of the project and the addition of a rooftop amenity area.

More than a dozen attendees perused building plans and chatted with developers and the project architect, at times airing grievances about the proposed amendments, as well as the development in general, including traffic in the area.

“You’re telling me with a straight face that adding two parking spaces per unit is not going to increase traffic?” Vidal Street resident Jill Cowan asked Cressey developer Julian Kendall, who pointed to a traffic analysis previously completed that predicted minor impact in the area.

Of biggest concern to most attendees was the proposed height increase to allow for the elevator overrun, stair access, mechanical room and rooftop amenity space.

Some residents complained the increase would further impede their waterfront view, which Kendall attributed to a misunderstanding in the wording of the amendment application.

“I think a lot of people thought the whole building was going up, which isn’t the case,” Kendall told Peace Arch News, explaining it was just the elevator overrun that would increase in height, because the rooftop amenity area would require wheelchair access. “It took some explaining about that to educate people, but I think most people understood.”

The application for the amendment development permit is expected to go to the land-use and planning committee and council March 23, with a decision expected April 13.

If approved, sales are set to start mid-April, according to Kendall, who said construction will commence around six months later. The project is expected to be completed within three years.