In a split-decision, White Rock council has given third reading to official community plan amendments that would permit a four-storey, 28-unit residential building at the southwest corner of Roper Avenue and Best Street.
The approval for the Oviedo Homes project – on consolidated properties at 15374 and 15382 Roper Ave. and 1293 Best St. – came following a public hearing Monday.
A final adoption vote is yet to be scheduled.
During the hearing, council heard concerns from immediate neighbours about density, shade, view-blocking and past water seepage from the site.
But many speakers during the hearing applauded the development for its design and for providing “affordable housing.”
The last point was disputed by Coun. Helen Fathers, who joined Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. David Chesney in voting against the OCP amendments, which would change the zoning from medium density single unit to high density comprehensive development use.
“At $700,000 to $800,000 per unit, this is not affordable to a lot of people,” Fathers said, suggesting she might have approved of the project if it had been for 23 units.
Earlier in the evening, real estate agent Stewart Peddemors and project representative Sherry Green both said that while units in the development would be primarily for sale, under provincial legislation introduced in 2010, units could be rented out.
“It will be adding to the rental stock,” Peddemors, a former councillor, said.
Baldwin said that while he viewed the proposal as “a good development” and applauded the concept of providing more affordable housing for some of the younger residents who had spoken in support, he would not be voting for it.
“I don’t see any good reason for the OCP to be amended,” he said, noting the city is very close to adoption of its revised OCP.
“There’s been nothing said that the height (of this project) is going to be increased. I don’t see any reason for the lot coverage to be increased.”
Following the meeting, resident Ann Robinson – widow of late city councillor Larry Robinson and a neighbour of the proposed building – noted that Oviedo Homes had been a major contributor (at $5,000) to White Rock Coalition members who supported the project and have held the balance of power on council since the 2014 election.
During the public hearing, Robinson said “the density is going to be very high… it’s a big building that’s going to be blocking out my sunlight.”
She told council she was aware that when townhouses had been proposed for the property several years ago there had been “huge water issues and issues with the sewers – I don’t know if those have been sorted out.”
Green told council that a geotechnical study of the site showed it had no underground water source, but that it had been retaining ground water, and said that the project would be built in full compliance with city engineering directives.
Green said the project’s form, design and height “fits the character of the neighbourhood” and that care has been taken to do proper traffic-analysis studies and meet all other city requirements.
To secure the maximum number of units under the zoning, Oviedo will provide a contribution of $712,063 to go to the city’s amenity fund.