White Rock council is not through discussing building heights outside of the town centre.
At the March 8 online meeting, council voted in favour of deferring a decision on drafting OCP amendment bylaws setting maximum building heights in other areas of the city, in spite of a push from Coun. Erika Johanson to start the process.
Discussion centred on a report from planning and development services director Carl Isaak, which summarized what he described as a “healthy” response to a public survey on what heights residents feel are appropriate for these areas.
Johanson said she saw no good reason to defer the discussion, also questioning the need for a survey, since extensive consultation through workshops has already been done.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to do this, we’ve got information in front of us… I don’t know how much more we need to think about this,” she said, in comments that were echoed by Coun. Scott Kristjanson.
“We’ve known about this forever, at least since 2019,” he said.
However council ultimately supported – in a split vote, with Couns. Johanson, Kristjanson and Trevelyan opposed – a motion from Coun. David Chesney to defer further discussion to a future Land Use and Planning Committee meeting.
“This is a tremendous amount of information,” Chesney said. “I’m happy to see we got such an incredible response from the community, but speaking for myself, I would like to have more time to digest this and discuss it, and do a bit more research myself.”
Coun. Anthony Manning said he supported a deferment since the town centre area is also up for discussion and some input on that may be at odds with the current feedback.
“It may be wise just to do all of this at one time,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong in waiting for another month-and-a-half.”
A total of 491 responses, both hard copy and online, were received for the survey, conducted between Jan. 15 and Feb. 12.
For the Town Centre Transition area (east of Johnston Road) some 43 per cent preferred further reducing height maximums, with 32 per cent in favour of keeping heights at the current maximums (19 per cent approved a middle course between these two options).
In the Waterfront Village (West Beach area), 48 per cent favoured three storeys generally, with some exceptions depending on site slope, while 39 per cent preferred keeping height restrictions where they are (generally four storeys).
In the Waterfront Village (East Beach area) 49 per cent also favoured three storeys generally, with some exceptions allowing for site slope, while 38 per cent supported the existing height restriction (generally four storeys).
In the East Side Large Lot Infill Area, 45 per cent were in favour of maintaining existing three-storey townhouse policies for the properties east of the 12-storey ‘Altus’ building under construction, while 41 per cent preferred the four to five storeys proposed in an active rezoning and OCP amendment application.