27 April 2022 RE: 780 Blanshard St – BC Power Commission building - Rezoning/Development Permit with Variances/Heritage Alteration Permit
The applicant proposes to construct an 18-storey tower (new 102-unit residential condos) above the existing 4-storey heritage registered building (77-room hotel use). A Heritage Designation is proposed to be concurrent with the Rezoning and the Heritage Alteration Permit approvals. No on-site parking is proposed but the applicant suggests the property might have access to 25 off-site spots.
On 21 March 2022, the Downtown Residents Association Land Use Committee (DRA LUC) hosted a hybrid in-person/online CALUC meeting where a proposal to rezone 780 Blanshard from the current CBD-1 zone to a Site Specific Zone was presented. Forty-one in-person attendees from the community were present, in addition to 12 online attendees. Fifty-five responses were provided through the City’s online portal during the opportunity to provide Pre- Application Feedback.
The DRA LUC concurs that this meeting did not meet the requirements of a CALUC meeting as set out by the City in that the “developer or applicant’s role is to provide clear and accurate information about the proposal” as the audio and visual challenges prevented that from occurring. It is expected that the applicant will coordinate with the DRA to reconvene another CALUC meeting once they have arranged the necessary equipment and a comprehensive, suitably-visible slide presentation that includes the rationales for all components of the proposal where variances are requested beyond the requirements of the Downtown Core Area Plan, Schedule C for Parking and the Heritage Guidelines.
We note that of the 55 responses the City collected from the online Pre-Application Feedback portal, only 1 response offered support for the project as proposed (the other could be considered “spoiled” or a “test” as there was no identifying information provided in the feedback fields). As such, we find that 98.2% of respondents do not support the project as proposed.
Click below to download and read the full letter and a summary of community comments and concerns about the project.