A group of White Rock residents are concerned a proposed multi-family residential project will change the character of their neighbourhood, block views of the ocean and, in turn, lower property values.
A four-storey, multi-family building is proposed to be built at 1164 Elm St. – at the corner of Elm and Beachview Avenue – which is currently the site of a smaller, five-dwelling residential building.
Dubbing the project ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ the neighbourhood group has been writing emails to city council members while also distributing a one-page flyer to residents who live on Elm, which connects to Marine Drive at the south end and Beachview at the north. Beachview has dead-ends on both its east and west sides, forming a T when connecting with Elm.
“Stop proposed rezoning, density and building height,” the flyer reads.
An application for the project was submitted to the city by Beech Westgard Developments Inc. in May and it is still in its early stages. There is no public information meeting yet planned; the city’s website lists a date as ‘TBD.’
In an email to Peace Arch News, City of White Rock communications manager Donna Kell said that, according to the city’s planning and development services department, the application “has been circulated to other City departments and the School District for comments.”
Anita Nielsen, who lives on Beachview right at the north end of Elm Street, told PAN that neighbourhood residents aren’t anti-development – both Nielsen and another neighbour said they realize some type of project will be built – but they want to see fewer storeys and units.
“There has to be a compromise somewhere,” Nielsen said last week, standing on the southeast corner of Elm and Beachview, just a few dozen feet from the development sign.
“And either end here, it’s a dead-end, so there’s nowhere for cars, for traffic to go, and it’s already a pretty busy area.”
The proposed building, if built as currently designed, would block partial ocean views for a number of Nielsen’s neighbours immediately to the east of her decades-old home, which she told PAN is one of the street’s original residences.
“With (21 units) on this tiny corner… it’s not only going to completely transform the area, it’s going to block views for so many different houses,” said Nielsen, who said she has lived on Beachview for 19 months and grew up on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
“I think what will happen is, if this goes through, people will end up selling and then this will become a very condo-dense area instead of one of White Rock’s oldest (single-family home) areas, and it’s such a lovely little neighbourhood.
“It just feels like the start of the end of the neighbourhood.”
Nielsen is also concerned that proposed rezoning for Marine Drive – which was the subject of a digital public information meeting last Wednesday (July 8) – could affect what happens on Elm Street, which according to a map published by the City of White Rock, is part of the ‘waterfront village’ that is currently part of the city’s official community plan review.
Currently, just south of 1164 Elm St. are three older cottages and one newer home.
The newer home is currently listed for sale at $1, 529,000, while the older cottage next door is also for sale, for $1,299,000.
According to the city, following a digital public information meeting – if one is held – the applicant would then consider incorporating changes “suggested at the meeting or recommended by staff” before proceeding to the Advisory Design Panel for consideration.
In the meantime, in addition to emailing city councillors with concerns, Nielsen said she plans to invite them to the neighbourhood “so they can see what we’re concerned about.”