City hearing over its 'No' decision on Chinatown's Keefer condo proposal cancelled

Mar 3 2018, 10:34 am

The heated proposal to redevelop 105 Keefer Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown district into a mixed-use building can no longer appeal a rejection decision by the municipal government’s Development Permit Board (DPB).

Late last week, Beedie Development Group received a letter from the lawyers representing the City of Vancouver’s Board of Variance that stated its hearing scheduled for March 2 is cancelled.

“We write to advise that the Board of Variance considers that it does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine this appeal,” reads the letter from Alyssa Bradley of Young Anderson Barristers & Solicitors. “The Board of Variance only has the jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions of the Development Permit Board engaging its power to relax the provisions of the City’s Zoning and Development By-law.”

This follows last year’s series of events when Vancouver City Council rejected a rezoning proposal, which forced the developer to pursue a simpler development application by downsizing the project within the constraints of the site’s existing zoning.

But that downsized version of the project was also rejected by the DPB, even though it met all City requirements. It was the first time the DPB rejected a development application in about a decade.

The project has faced overwhelming opposition from neighbourhood activists and special interest groups.

Beedie issued the following statement after the DPB’s decision last November:

We are extremely disappointed that the institutions mandated to provide regulatory and policy framework – the City of Vancouver planning staff, and the council-endorsed and appointed Urban Design Panel and Development Permit Board advisory panel – have been undermined and their unanimous support for 105 Keefer ignored by select members of the Development Permit Board. Like many people, we are uncertain what this unprecedented decision will mean for these civic institutions.

It is unclear what other avenues the developer can pursue to redevelop its privately-owned property, which is a vacant undeveloped site used as a parking lot.

The last version of the proposal – Beedie’s fifth design – cut down the height from 120 ft with 12 storeys to 90 ft with nine storeys. It consisted of 111 market residential units and ground-level space for retail, restaurants, and a subsidized seniors’ cultural space.

The reductions largely came from the elimination of 25 units for low-to-moderate income seniors, as City Council refused to approve a rezoning that called for increased density.

New July 2017 design for the development application of 105 Keefer Street. Perspective from Keefer Street. (Merrick Architecture / Beedie Living)

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