Previously quashed zoning suggested to enable construction of a triplex on White Rock’s Beachview Avenue was revived and passed Monday – a decision one councillor is concerned sets a precedent.
Council voted 4-1 in favour of the RT-2 Three Unit Family Residential Zone for 14968 Beachview Ave., after supporting a motion by Coun. Al Campbell to reconsider the bylaw.
Due to illness that landed him in Peace Arch Hospital for six days, Campbell had been absent for the Feb. 21 split vote that sunk the zoning.
Returning to city hall Monday, Campbell said the project – with no variances and less than maximum-allowed height on a full-size lot – “seemed like a perfect situation.”
“This was really a very good alternative,” Campbell said. “I really think this should be revisited.”
The zoning is specific to the one site. Paul Stanton, the city’s director of planning and development services, explained in earlier meetings that the new zone is consistent with White Rock’s Official Community Plan provision for ‘other low-density detached housing forms.’ The only real difference it makes is enabling the creation of three units on the site instead of two, Stanton said.
Campbell told council Monday that allowing the triplex also protects against the creation of illegal suites on the site – a situation he believes is inevitable if a single-family home or duplex is built there instead.
The triplex proponents are a couple, their two daughters and their daughters’ husbands. Project architect Mark Ankenman told Peace Arch News Tuesday that he had suggested the family subdivide and build two megahouses with suites instead, but they were adamant they wanted a triplex.
Ankenman added he had been “gobsmacked” by the Feb. 21 vote, as it followed what he believed had been a largely positive process.
“I feel good about the change, but I didn’t feel good about the initial go-around. We would never have normally taken a project that far if we weren’t positive, or sure, that it was going to go through,” Ankenman said.
“I typically would not take a project to council expecting to be turned down.”
Ankenman added he has been “waving a little flag of caution” to anyone considering a development project in White Rock.
Coun. Helen Fathers – who voted against the zoning last month and cast the sole dissenting vote Monday – told PAN she remains opposed as she is “not convinced” the triplex units won’t simply be sold off and contribute to what is an already difficult parking situation on Beachview.
Fathers said she is also worried creating the zone opens the door for more triplex projects than the “fairly small” number Stanton predicted could come forward.
“I’m concerned it’s precedent-setting,” she said.
After the zoning vote, Fathers supported awarding the project a development permit – a move Campbell later criticized as “flip-flopping.”
Fathers told PAN the bylaw’s adoption left her with no choice but to support the permit, based on “the parameters of law.”
Coun. Doug McLean and Mayor Catherine Ferguson – who had also opposed the project in the Feb. 21 vote – were not present for Monday’s decision.