A 23-storey tower is being proposed at 1668 Davie Street right next to a London Drugs location in the West End. The only information at present about this tower project appears in an obscure location in a PDF about the current schedule of DP applications on the City’s website. There is no signage on the site to alert residents to the proposal, the City has not sent a notification letter to nearby residents and the design details are not even posted on the Development Application Information webpage. The project will apparently be reviewed by the Development Permit Board on November 30, 2015. Is there already a complete failure in the public consultation process?
One of the Urban Design considerations for this site is tower separation. There is already an existing tower on the site at Cardero and Davie (Regency Park, pictured in inset). A second tower on this site would likely have a tower separation distance in the range of 29.5m to 40m (97′ to 131′; it’s only an estimate as the City has not provided drawings for review). The Regency Park tower has a rectangular form with a width of 115 feet (35.25m) and a depth of 60 feet (18.3m). It would be very poor urban design to add a second tower this site (other parts of the West End have tower separation distances of 400′ along a block face).
This project is being considered as a Development Permit application and not as a rezoning that would go to Council. City Council changed the zoning for this section of Davie Street a couple of years ago to remove the need for Public Hearing. The old C5-A zoning allowed for a Floor Space Ratio up to 2.2; the updated zoning allows for further increases in density and a Floor Space Ratio of up to 7.0 if certain conditions are met. In theory, the planning department should give notice in due time to the public in order to accept project feedback.
The proposal is being put forward by Larco Investments (331750 BC Ltd.), according to the very brief description in the DP review schedule. Larco is the developer behind the Arbutus Mall expansion and the Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver.
For reference, we’ve reproduced the text of the description of the proposal from DP review schedule below (this is the second item with ‘Larco’, there appears to be an error with the DE number as this matches the previous application):