Municipal News- White Rock
April 4, 2023
Strategic Priorities 2023-2026
On March 27, Council ratified the timelines and priority-level classification of Council’s 2023-2026 Strategic Priorities (approved February 13). The top priorities identified were:
- Develop and build an affordable housing project;
- Develop and build a new community hub;
- Ensure future infrastructure resiliency by making decisions through a long-term lens;
- Improve permit process and reduce wait times; and
- Implement city beautification projects.
Other relevant actions in Council’s 2023-2026 Strategic Priorities include:
- Conduct community facility needs assessment;
- Develop an affordable housing strategy to support the creation of appropriate affordable housing options through future development;
- Encourage missing “middle-housing” (e.g. duplexes, triplexes, small townhouses, coach houses) through infill development in established neighbourhoods to provide more housing options for families;
- Assess long-term land use and density in Uptown (town centre), in consultation with Surrey’s approved Semiahmoo Plan;
- Prepare new Development Cost Charges Bylaw;
- Create an integrated long-term infrastructure plan;
- Review and implement a City-wide parking strategy;
- Add up to 4 full-time building permit staff over 4 years;
- Complete e-apply implementation for application submissions; and
- Review the Planning Procedure Bylaw for opportunities to streamline the planning approval process.
For more information, see the full report.
December 13, 2022
2023 Fees and Charges
On December 5, the 2023 Fees and Charges Bylaw was adopted by Council. For 2023, the increases proposed are generally inflationary except for some fees where staff have determined the City is not fully recovering related costs. A few new fees have also been added for 2023 (e.g. a Formal Pre-Application Fee ($450) has been added to the Development Application Fees).
For a full list of proposed fees and charges, click here.
For more information, read the full report.
May 17, 2022
Housing Action Strategy Plan
On April 25, the City of White Rock Council decided to defer discussion of the corporate report from Consulting Planner, Joe Calenda, which outlined several actions for addressing housing needs within their community.
Later in the meeting Council voted to only receive for information two of the seven pillar recommendations from the Housing Advisory Committee. The two pillars that were supported were:
“Accelerate and depoliticize the approval process:”
- Focus on the City’s OCP and approving projects consistent with it, without exception;
- Review internal processes to identify redundancies and economies;
- Hire additional planners;
- Require mandatory design reviews of fourplexes, townhouses and apartment buildings. Single detached homes, duplexes, and triplexes would instead require staff review;
“Local use of the Speculation and Vacancy Tax:”
- Petition the Province to apply a surtax to vacant properties;
- Redirect current SVT revenues to the communities from which they are collected.
Council did not endorse the remaining 4 recommendations that were proposed:
- Delegate approval authority for development variance permit and other minor variances to staff.
- Create a residential zone permitting single-detached homes, duplexes and triplexes as of right in certain areas of the city and permit the conversion of existing single-detached homes into multiple units in RS-, RS-2, and RS-3 zones.
- Reduce the Town Centre Transition area boundaries and provide for 18 and 14 storey “hybrid” towers in Town Centre and Town Centre Transition areas which would include a minimum of 50% non-market housing, and commercial uses at grade through the rezoning process.
- Waive public hearings for all zoning amendment proposals consistent with the OCP.
For more details please review the corporate report and presentation.
November 30, 2021
Housing Needs Report
On November 22, the City of White Rock approved their Housing Needs Report. The report identified six areas of specific housing need within the city:
- Affordable Ownership Housing;
- Rental Housing;
- Special Needs Housing;
- Seniors Housing;
- Family Housing; and
- Shelters and Housing for People At-Risk of Homelessness.
The report noted a projected housing need of 1153 new units over the next five years The report also explored the difference in unit mix that could result from Council policy intervention, shifting the focus to support more two and three-bedroom homes.
Over the next year Council could decide whether to pursue this type of policy intervention to affect the unit mix being provided in new developments.
May 19, 2020
See here for COVID updates from the City of White Rock
May 6th City holds tax increase to 3.11% despite expected loss of $1.8 million due to COVID
May 4th City of White Rock is taking action to help businesses affect by COVID-19 https://www.whiterockcity.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1860
April 20th City of White Rock makes service adjustments during COVID-19 pandemic https://www.whiterockcity.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1834
April 6th New City of White Rock CAO, current CAO at Town of Ladysmith, begins May 19th https://www.whiterockcity.ca/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1808
March 13 COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
March 18, 2019
Updated: City downzones Lady Alexandra Project at 1310 Johnston Rd.
On March 11, a Public Hearing was held for the OCP amendment to the 1300 Block of Johnston Rd. and Zoning amendment for 1310 Johnston Rd. specifically. Decision was delayed until a Special Meeting on March 13, where Council voted in favour of both motions to amend the OCP to allow for only 4-6 storeys on the block in question and to change the CD-60 zoning for 1310 Johnston Rd. to CD-61, which would restrict building heights to a maximum of 6 storeys and no greater than 3.5 FAR. UDI was opposed to this move which will impact the certainty needed by builders in the City of White Rock.
March 4, 2019
Updated: City delays public hearing on Johnston Road project
As previously noted, on February 11, White Rock City Council granted first and second reading to a motion to downzone the property at 1310 Johnston Road. Due to an administrative error, the public hearing on this project has been rescheduled to March 11, 2019.
UDI and HAVAN have submitted a joint letter to White Rock City Council to voice their opposition to this change.
February 18, 2019
City considers new height restrictions to downzone project
On February 11, White Rock City Council granted first and second reading to a motion to downzone the property at 1310 Johnston Road. The proposed change, to reduce the maximum height from 12 storeys to 6 storeys with an FAR of up to 3.5, will now proceed to public hearing on February 25, 2019.
UDI strongly opposes this move which will cause more uncertainty for builders in the community. If approved, this change will impact a development application which would had already received a rezoning and development permit. UDI and HAVAN will be submitting a joint letter to White Rock City Council to voice their opposition to this change. While this amendment will only affect one project, we remain concerned about the broader impacts that this will have on investments across the region, and are encouraging our members active in White Rock, who feel similarly, to express their views to Council, or attend the Public Hearing on February 25.
The City is also currently undertaking an OCP review which will examine the height and density of sites across the municipality. The review is expected to be completed by December 2019.
February 4, 2019
Council proposes new Vacancy Tax
At the January 28 Regular Council Meeting, the White Rock City Council unanimously endorsed a motion directing staff to examine the possibility of vacancy tax modeled after Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax. Staff will be exploring options for implementing a 5% tax on the assessed value of residential and commercial property left vacant for an extended period of time and will report back to Council with their findings.
November 26, 2018
OCP Bylaw Review
On November 7, the City of White Rock held a Special Council Meeting. In a presentation by City staff, options were discussed to “slow the pace of development, and review the OCP Bylaw.” City Staff were directed to prepare a corporate report regarding the processes for a City-wide review of the OCP for further consideration. Council also voted to limit the height of buildings and properties and in the ‘Lower Town Centre’ to 4 to 6 storeys. For additional information the minutes of the Special Council Meeting can be viewed here.