A four-storey building has been proposed for Johnston Road.

A four-storey building has been proposed for Johnston Road.

White Rock building proposal endorsed by council

A four-storey residential-commercial building proposed for just south of White Rock’s Five Corners district has received an early thumbs-up from the city’s land use and planning committee – despite a distaste for its commercial component.

“What if the commercial space is not necessary or wanted?” Coun. Lynne Sinclair asked Monday, referring to a single unit included in a project proposed for 1148 Johnston Rd.

The unit – part of a building that is to also include five three-storey townhouses and 10 underground parking spaces – is out of place in a largely residential area, Sinclair said.

Paul Stanton, the city’s director of planning, agreed but explained the commercial space is included because current zoning for the area (CR-7 Town Centre Medium Density Commercial/Residential) requires it.

Removing that requirement is something that will be considered in an upcoming review of the zoning bylaw, Stanton added.

“It’s not something that can be fixed for this application. It is something that can be fixed for the future,” he said.

Mayor Catherine Ferguson echoed concerns about the commercial component, describing the area as “not a great spot for any commercial use.” She asked that similar proposals in the future be brought to council attention earlier in the application process.

Advisory design panel member Ken Jones told Stanton after the meeting that his group, too, felt the commercial component was inappropriate.

Still, the panel supported sending the proposal to council, with suggestions for minor revisions to such things as chimney heights and sightlines, as well as steps to improve security.

In recommending the land use and planning committee support the proposal, Stanton described the building as “fairly upscale.” He noted it takes advantage of the view corridor down Johnston Road, is of less density than allowed for the area and that the applicant, Little Smokey Holdings Ltd., has not asked for variances.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend council approve a development permit for the project.