City of White Rock council chambers

Rooftop deck raises concern for neighbours of planned White Rock duplex

A zoning amendment that clears the way for a duplex development received the thumbs-up from White Rock council last month.

A zoning amendment that clears the way for a duplex development received the thumbs-up from White Rock council last month.

However, concerns with the 1230 Best St. project – in particular, the plan for a roof deck – remain.

“I heard loud and clear local-area residents,” said Coun. Al Campbell, who cast the sole vote against giving the zoning amendment third and final reading in one of the current council’s final meetings before last week’s election.

“They had and have an expectation of what they were going to see in the community when they bought here.”

Bylaw 2064 rezones the property to RT-1 Two Unit (duplex) Residential from RS-1 One Unit Residential.

Richard Wilson, the city’s acting director of planning and development services, explained the only difference between the two zones is the allowable massing – a duplex zone can have 45 per cent lot coverage, versus 40 in a RS-1 zone.

“Essentially, you could build the exact same size house as a single-family dwelling, with a suite in the basement, and there would be little or no difference in the exterior,” he said.

The planned roof deck is to be surrounded with glass, which will be hidden from Best Street behind a parapet wall, he said.

Residents who spoke during a public hearing held prior to the Oct. 21 council meeting expressed concern with how the rooftop deck would be used; that items added for temporary use in the summer months could become a permanent part of their view.

“Council should revisit roof decks,” said Pat Kealy, a Maple Street resident. “People will push the envelope to get a view if they can.”

“For him to maximize his view, they’re going to be doing a lot of rooftop living,” said Margaret Woods, citing a rooftop garden.

Woods doesn’t live near the development; she was one of 17 candidates for a councillor seat in the Nov. 15 election. Neither she nor incumbent Campbell were elected.

Owner/developer Enrique Ponce De Leon told attendees his family does want a view, but that they are also committed to creating what they can within the limits that are in place.

“There will be absolutely zero difference between what’s there and what will be,” he said.

During council’s discussion, Campbell asked for clarification on what will be allowed on the rooftop deck.

“This could be quite disruptive,” he said.

Wilson said the deck is not unique to the proposed duplex; and that any concerns arising from amenities added to the deck would be dealt with “on a complaint basis.”

Retiring councillor Louise Hutchinson disagreed that the deck was an issue, pointing instead to the fact that only one garage is planned.

“This has been through the advisory design panel, it has been through the staff,” she said. “We should address the fact it’s going to have two families and it only has one garage.”

Wilson confirmed elements to do with the project’s form and character could be examined at the development-permit stage, but noted a double-car garage “would make the whole front of the building just a garage wall.”


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