White Rock two-tower project goes to public hearing

City staff recommended changes to 21- and 24-storey development application.

A two-tower project proposed for 1454 Oxford St. moved forward Monday to a Dec. 7 public hearing.

A controversial two-tower project proposed for White Rock is one step closer to approval, after city council voted Monday to move the development forward to a public hearing next month.

Residents will have a chance to weigh in on the controversial 21- and 24-storey development at 1454 Oxford St. – which requires an Official Community Plan amendment and rezoning – on Dec. 7.

The narrow vote – with Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Couns. Helen Fathers and David Chesney against – came after a lively discussion about the proposal, confusion about the location of a small city-owned parcel on the property and a recommendation from staff to not proceed and to refer the project for more changes.

Two other developments – 12-storey projects located side-by-side on Thrift Avenue at Oxford Street – were sent back to city staff for further changes.

Presenting her report on the applications to the city’s land use and planning committee, director of planning and development services Karen Cooper recommended all three developments be referred back to staff.

Regarding the Oxford project – put forth by Elegant Development, and the subject of a 2,000-name petition opposing it –  Cooper suggested a “reduction in massing,” which she said could be accomplished by making the towers more slender and increasing the setbacks.

However, it was the ownership of the land – previously owned by Epcor and sold to Elegant pending rezoning approval – that became the subject of debate.

Chesney brought up city council minutes and a newspaper clipping dating back to July 1975 that highlight a land-swap between the city and White Rock Utilities (then-owner of the water utility), designating an 80-by-100-foot parcel in the northwest corner of the property to the city as parkland, which contradicted Cooper’s report showing the parcel of city land located in the northeast corner.

“I certainly would like to have more information and clarification on exactly what happened with this,” Chesney said.

Cooper said there was no paper trail available to explain why the parcel was moved, but confirmed the land title’s office listed the northeast parcel as being owned by the city.

In tabling a motion – which was defeated – to have staff investigate the matter, Fathers said the new information would “put everything else on hold” until it was clarified.

Baldwin, however, said he sided with the “law of record” at the land titles office, “which I do not think makes very many mistakes,” noting there may have been a subsequent meeting that changed the location of the parcel.

Fathers then tabled a second motion to have the subdivision of the property reviewed by the city’s legal counsel.

“There are some questions that have been brought up by the community and this is a significant enough development proposal that a few more weeks will not make a difference if council wishes to move forward,” she said.

That motion was also defeated, with only Fathers and Chesney voting in support.

Prior to voting, Coun. Lynne Sinclair said the subdivision had been brought up many times and she was “convinced everything was done legally.”

“This is, in my opinion, just another attempt to further delay what have been proposals in front of us – or not in front of us – for a long time,” Sinclair said.

“I think last-minute things like this are the worst way we can make our decisions.”

Following lengthy discussion and clarification about the wording of the OCP and zoning bylaw amendments, several council members shared their rationale for voting.

Baldwin explained that he didn’t like voting against staff recommendations, noting “I haven’t really found a good reason for it.”

Fathers said she felt the application “can basically wait” until details were clarified, noting “we don’t hold any obligation to any developer that’s standing in front of us.”

Chesney alluded to the OCP review currently underway as his reason for voting to defer the project.

“If it’s the wish of our community to extend our town centre to Oxford, then I’d be more than happy to support all these projects,” he said.

Meyer said he was in support of moving forward, and wanted “to hear what the public has to say.”

Sinclair, also in support, discussed the history of the Everall neighbourhood, pointing to other developments in the area approved in recent years that also required OCP amendments and rezoning.

“Clearly it’s an area under change,” she said.

The two developments that did not pass first and second readings were referred back to staff for revisions; proponents are being asked to explore the idea of shared driveway access, as well as view-impact analysis. The community amenity contributions proposed for one of the projects, at the corner of Thrift and Oxford, are also being reviewed.

Just Posted

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

Cloverdale Community Kitchen hosts ‘learning’ breakfast for students

Coast Capital Savings offered short presentations on financial topics

Surrey council sends back 25-storey highrise proposal, asks for more height and density

Developer says it is ‘currently reviewing direction’ from mayor, council

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Vancouver police get green light to use drones for investigations

Drones will be used to investigate motor vehicle collisions, crime scene analysis and more

Most Read

l -->