New Westminster News Leader

City limits Victoria Hill property to four storeys

Concern from residents has convinced New Westminster council to set a guideline restricting the height of a future building in Victoria Hill to four storeys.

The city owns the property, and plans to sell it. The property, located at 26 East Royal Ave., had been sold to the city by Onni Development for $1 and the transfer of 16 units of residential density to another parcel in Victoria Hill.

The city had planned to rezone the land to allow a residential/commericial project up to six storeys in height, but at a recent open house residents voiced "strong objections," that anything higher than four storeys would block views and would be out of context with the rest of the development, according to a city staff report.

Despite the changes in height, Coun. Betty McIntosh advised residents to be vigilant to ensure council doesn't allow any future proposal to stray from the four-storey limit.

"Hopefully, it may not be developed in the next five years, but remember it is a guideline, residents need to continue to be aware that [the guideline was] developed by a council that listened to them," said McIntosh.

With the decision, council is changing the property zoning to mixed use commercial/multiple family residential development.

The guidelines for potential purchasers, whether it's Onni or another developer, also suggest the creation of a "village heart" in the neighbourhood with the possible inclusion of commercial space.

Onni purchased the entire Victoria Hill parcel from the province in 2002, agreeing to a large set of guidelines for the planned community on the former Woodlands site.

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