Citytv site rezoning application submitted by Westbank (156-180 W 2nd Ave at Columbia, 6 FSR 46.5m)

An application submitted by Westbank to rezone the property at 156-180 West 2nd Avenue was posted on the ShapeYourCity website on December 16, 2021. The site is currently a production office for Citytv, SportsNet, OMNI and Rogers.

A maximum height of 46.5m / 152.5 ft. and a Floor Space Ratio of 6.0 is being requested for a mix of office (4 FSR) and light industrial uses (2 FSR). There is no specific form of development proposed; building form can be detailed during a future development permit phase. Currently the site is zoned as I-1 (Light Industrial) that allows for a Floor Space Ratio of 3.0 and a building height of 18.3m or 60 ft.

The ShapeYourCity webpage for this application does not contain a FAQ section, nor is there any mention of an Open House of any sort. There is a comment section that is currently open. There are a number of possible impacts on the surrounding area such as increasing industrial land prices and shading the north side of West 2nd Avenue. There’s also the issue of eroding and diluting the industrial land base (as offices can also be built elsewhere in areas zoned specifically for office space).

City Council approved a new zoning schedule (I-1C) as a ‘quick start action’ back on January 21, 2021 at a Public Hearing; the change is enabling this rezoning application to come forward. At a another site, a rezoning application for 328-360 West 2nd Avenue was approved back on October 14, 2021 that had the same parameters for height and density (6 FSR, 46.5m height). The Policy Report for 328-360 W 2nd Avenue determined a ‘Commercial Linkage Contribution’ of $592,444 for that site (area 1,744 sq. m. or 18,772 sq. ft.).

The Southeast False Creek ODP envisioned lower buildings on the south side of 2nd Avenue (diagram reproduced below). City staff ignored this direction and made no mention of it in their policy report (approved as mentioned on January 21, 2021).

Here’s a diagram from the January 21, 2021 Staff Presentation:

If a rezoning is approved at a future Council meeting, there’s always the possibility that the applicant will ask for other changes in the zoning in the future (as a text amendment, for example, to change height, density or land use parameters).

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3 thoughts on “Citytv site rezoning application submitted by Westbank (156-180 W 2nd Ave at Columbia, 6 FSR 46.5m)

  1. Westbank is taking a big risk in submitting a rezoning application with no specific form of development proposed. While it is true that building form can be detailed during a future development permit phase, this is not a good idea, particularly in this location.

    I can see that the condo owners who live across the street, who have only been there for a short time, will not be pleased at all to have a building with a height of up to 46.5m / 152.5 ft. (approx 14-15 stories. This will block their southern view and daylight.

    They will be screaming at the public hearing that Westbank is trying to pull a fast one, whether it is or not.

  2. Depressing. How many more rushed spot rezonings will Planning push to this Council before the Fall election?

    On Fri., Dec. 24, 2021, 3:05 p.m. CityHallWatch: Tools to engage

    • Bill, I agree. If this mayor and council have become known for anything over this term of council (Oct 2018 till now), it is as the council of spot zoning.

      All of the past councils that I can think of dealt with a lot of spot rezonings. This is the nature of the city of Vancouver, because there is such a potential profit to be made from a big upzoning, compared to pursuing a development based on as-of-right development rights under current zoning.

      But under previous councils, the mayor had a majority on council, or a near-majority. So the debates at council were much less than they are now, or were non-existent. Most rezonings flew through under the radar.

      I heard Kennedy Stewart interviewed on CBC Raido a few weeks ago. He was asked if his mayoral term had been marked by inaction. He answered by saying that the last council meeting before the interview had lasted 10 hours, and covered four rezonings. An additional 8 rezonings that were on the docket were never dealt with, and had to be brought back later.

      As far as your comment is concerned – How many more rushed spot rezonings will Planning push to this Council before the Fall election? – this will indeed continue, and probably escalate until the election. This too is the usual course of events.

      A developer who makes a rezoning application and spends many thousands of dollars on supporting materials, as is required, has a right to have their application considered. Staff has a duty to package it up and forward it to council for consideration.

      Expect an avalanche in 2022.

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