A bid to increase the density at a Marine Drive property currently occupied by a florist was met with resistance from neighbours at a West Vancouver council meeting last week.
If council OKs the added density, the building's floor area ratio would rise from 1.75 to 2, making the property more attractive to potential buyers. Floor area ratio measures the total floor space of a building against the size of its lot.
The future of the property, located at 1821 Marine Drive, may be too murky to make a decision, according to Coun. Bill Soprovich.
"How can we increase density when we don't know what's going on the site?" Soprovich asked at the March 4 council meeting.
That uncertainty has resulted in anxiety from neighbours, according to Coun. Craig Cameron.
Cameron suggested selling the property in a deal that would see property owner Robert Harrington compensated for any changes in zoning approved after ownership changes hands.
"It would allow us and the community to make a decision on something that is finite," he said.
"No one has offered," responded Harrington. "We haven't had a developer that is interested in this property."
One resident described the attempt to boost the property's density as "a money grab."
"At the right price, a development would happen," said Cheryl Young.
The application is also complicated by the property's previous zoning, which allowed the extra density as recently as 2008.
"We're trying to establish something that was lost," said architect Karl Gustavson, speaking on behalf of the applicant.
The boost in density should have no effect on the neighbourhood due to increased building mass, according to Gustavson.
Thirty local business owners have signed a petition in favour of the project, according to Gustavson.
The potential development also received the full support of the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, according to president Gabrielle Loren.
The extra building bulk may obstruct view corridors, according to neighbour Brian Hann, who expressed several concerns over the application.
"We don't know what that site's going to contain," Hann said.
What the site may contain is a total of 72 parking stalls accessibly only through a nearby laneway.
"Unacceptable," Hann said.
Hann was one of several residents who argued the development could turn the lane into a speedway.
The lane has been largely commercial, as opposed to strictly residential, since before most of the neighbouring homeowners moved in, according to Harrington.
Coun. Nora Gambioli requested a traffic study on the adjoining laneway.
The application may also set a precedent in the neighbourhood, according to Hann.
The added floor space would likely not affect other neighbourhood businesses, according to community planning manager Geri Boyle.
"We would not anticipate a flood of applications," she said. The application is scheduled to return to council March 18.