Development permits for two townhouse projects proposed for Vidal Street received a thumbs-up from White Rock council Monday, following support for the move last week from the land use and planning committee.
The committee – with just four of seven members present – gave unanimous support to recommending council approve the permits during a meeting Nov. 7 in council chambers. They apply to projects proposed for 1444, 1455 and 1465 Vidal St.
Council gave final reading to zoning bylaw amendments proposed to accommodate the two projects at the Oct. 24 council meeting.
Prior to the Nov. 7 votes, city planner Connie Halbert explained how proponents had addressed concerns raised by members of the city’s advisory design panel.
Changes made to the five-unit 1444 Vidal St. project include a shift from a curved to a gabled roof line – a move architect Gerry Blonksi quipped means “no more eyebrows.”
In addition, the project’s height was reduced by one metre; and second-floor balcony panelling is now glass.
Changes were also made to the finishing on the project’s facades and doors, Halbert said.
In discussing the project, Mayor Catherine Ferguson questioned if the units’ doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs and motorized scooters; Coun. Al Campbell wanted confirmation that the project met all requirements of the CD zone and that no variances had been applied for.
Regarding the eight-unit development proposed for 1455 and 1465 Vidal St., Ferguson questioned why stamped concrete wasn’t considered over interlocking paving stones.
The latter is a trip/fall hazard, she said, and requires more maintenance.
“I just wonder why we wouldn’t have them looking at that,” Ferguson said.
While Halbert noted it was among several design-panel recommendations aimed at creating “a higher-class development,” Ferguson disputed the logic.
“That’s a perception, that’s not necessarily a reality. I don’t buy that,” she said.
Campbell agreed, noting the interlocking stones would only be sufficiently permeable if “a fortune” was spent on the subgrade beneath it. He added he doesn’t want to see any paving stones on city property.
A motion by Ferguson to have an analysis comparing the two products’ cost, longevity, etc., was supported by the committee.
A suggestion by Halbert to include the stipulation in the development permit was also supported.
Other changes made to the eight-unit project include a one-metre height reduction, improved design of service doors and introduction of a design element at the end of the driveway.
In response to Ferguson’s concerns that a blank section of exterior wall interrupts the design continuity, Blonski explained it was necessitated by the need to have one bedroom wall in that unit clear for furniture. He agreed to look at adding an exterior design element.
In recommending the zoning amendments be approved, Paul Stanton, the city’s director of planning and development services, told council many concerns voiced by area residents during public hearings held Oct. 3 were unfounded, with some based on a misunderstanding of how lot coverage is calculated.
In addition to exceeded lot coverage, residents had expressed concerns about traffic, street parking, the root systems of nearby trees, neighbour privacy and that the projects’ exceeded permitted heights.
Council Monday gave unanimous support to development permits for both of the projects.