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White Rock mulls stacked triplex

Proposal for building at Buena Vista Avenue requires rezoning approval from council

A triplex proposed for the 15000-block of Buena Vista Avenue will result in three, 2,500-square-foot homes – one on top of the other – if rezoning of the site is approved by White Rock council.

And while staff are recommending council move the "stacked triplex" forward, given it meets all of the city's policies for rezoning, the support is not without reservations.

In an Oct. 15 report to the city's land use and planning committee, director of planning and development services Paul Stanton said it is the units' size and the fact the entire first unit will be located below average natural grade that causes concern.

"By taking advantage of the slope on the lands and by excavating into that slope, (developers) have been able to obtain more floor area then intended for the RT-2 zone," Stanton states.

At the same time, it is no different than all other hillside housing projects, he said.

Any construction that starts two feet or lower below average natural grade is not factored into floor-area ratio calculations. For this project, that means the lower unit and parking garages were not considered in the equation.

If approved, the finished project will feature four storeys, with double garages at the basement level for each unit, and access off of Blackwood Street.

At a public information hearing held Oct. 3 at the White Rock Library, the project was "fairly well-received," Stanton told the committee. The main concern expressed was to do with the loss of two on-street parking spots on Blackwood.

Coun. Al Campbell described the proposed design as "very beautiful," but said he is concerned about the potential impact of a planned elevator shaft to the roofline.

"It's important to me that… that doesn't become part of (area residents') view," he said.

Other concerns noted by councillors included that only one visitor parking spot is proposed; that driveway access is an "acute turn"; and with an apparent loss of development cost charges. Stanton explained that the latter is due to credit applied for demolition of an existing home on the site.

Coun. Louise Hutchinson added that the issue of average natural grade is "a very sore point right now."

The committee voted unanimously (with Coun. Larry Robinson and Mayor Wayne Baldwin absent) to recommend council give the bylaw amendment first and second reading, and direct staff to schedule a public hearing.

Coun. Helen Fathers said she, too, has reservations about the proposal, "I want to hear what the public says."


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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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