A proposed four-storey condo complex just outside Tsawwassen's town centre boundary drew mixed reaction at a public hearing Tuesday night.
The hearing at municipal hall was a chance for residents to give their take on the application by a numbered company to build a 58-unit structure at the former Harris Nursery site on 12th Avenue.
Architect Peter Dandyk went over some of the design highlights, saying sustainability is a key theme. He said the development, which is all about reducing cars and encouraging a more walkable lifestyle, has much less impact as a four-story structure, because at three storeys the building would be much closer to the property line.
Speaking in favour, Tsawwassen resident Julia Rozmus described the development as an "age-friendly" project that would provide affordable housing options for both young and old. Several speakers echoed her comments.
However, more spoke in opposition, mostly residents of the neighbouring Onyx condo complex. They cited a variety of concerns, including the project not fitting in with the area plan as well as their residences becoming shadowed by the taller building.
One resident, questioning the applicant's claim the proposed building would not be significantly taller, said it was "greedy and unfair" to the surrounding neighbourhood. Betty Sawyer, who also lives in the Onyx, said she moved into her suite with the understanding the buildings in the neighbourhood were limited to three storeys.
Tsawwassen resident Illa Gibson pulled no punches in describing how the new building design and materials were ugly. She also had concerns about introducing lower priced condos in the area, saying the owners could use them as rental units and those are usually not maintained to the same level as suites occupied by owners. She also had concerns about young people with minimal income buying into the area.
"In the past, Tsawwassen has been considered an upscale community, and with the proposed condominiums, I'm not so convinced it will continue to be an upscale community...."
She added, "If we build condos that are reasonably priced, cheap, and if we bring in people who can only afford the condo but don't have very much disposable income, our ser-vices in the community will suffer and our shops will suffer because those people can't afford to do what perhaps people like myself can do because we collected our money and have it."
Dandyk clearly took exception to Gibson's comments about the look, telling civic politicians that, in fact, there would be no metal siding on the building as she claimed. As far as the concerns about the neighbouring building being enveloped in shadow, he pointed out a shadow study looked at what would be the worst condition - around 3 p.m. in the winter afternoons. He said it's a time when there isn't much sunlight anyway. He noted the sun is at a much higher angle the rest of the year.
The structure would exceed the area plan and official community plan limit as far as building height, which has proven to be a thorny issue in Tsawwassen. The current guidelines restrict building heights in that area to three storeys.
A mini park, called Rotary Corner, would be located at one corner of the development as a public amenity, while a rain garden is also proposed in the boulevard along 12th Avenue.
A couple of petitions were received during the consultation process - a 43-name document from nearby residents in opposition and a 166-signature one in favour.
A report to Delta council notes the owner has addressed several neighbourhood concerns by allotting more visitor parking spaces and reducing the height and massing of the building at the south elevation.
Following the public hearing, council decided to postpone any decision on the project until staff answer a few questions.
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