1395 W BROADWAY REZONING
(BROADWAY & HEMLOCK)

A rezoning application has been made to build a commercial building at 1395 W Broadway (Broadway & Hemlock), currently the home of Jim Pattison Toyota. 

  • The current zoning of the site is C-3A (Commercial District) which allows a maximum achievable density of 3.0 FSR (plus 10% for heritage density transfer resulting in a total FSR of 3.30), and a height of 120 feet (approx. 12-storeys). 

  • The applications seeks to increase the height to 24-storeys (315 feet) and density to an FSR of 8.65.

  • The application claims that it will be the tallest building on Broadway, taller than the Jim Pattison Pavilion at VGH, and 2538 Birch Street (aka 28 Floors).

 

This feels like the movie Groundhog Day.  Like 2538 Birch Street, we have several, serious concerns about this rezoning:  

  • Preempting the Broadway Plan:  Staff have advised us that this rezoning application is allowed to preempt the Broadway Plan Interim Rezoning Policy ("IRP") because it is being considered under the exemption called "Policy 1". Policy 1 allows rezonings to be considered in tandem with the Broadway Plan, if they had been proposed before the Plan was approved.  You might recall that City staff proposed 2538 Birch Street using Policy 1 but, our research uncovered that it did not meet the requirements (article here). City staff went on to mislead Council, by telling them that it did meet the requirements. Based on dates provided by staff and "hidden" in the rezoning application, we are quite certain that City staff are subverting the Broadway Plan process by granting yet another exemption for a proposal which does not meet the Policy 1 requirements (more to follow).  

  • Perpetuating a Precedent:  During the 28 Floors campaign, we warned that 2538 Birch Street would set a precedent for height and density in the Broadway Plan area.  City staff assured the public and Council that it would not set a precedent, however this was patently untrue.  It's no accident that 2538 Birch Street now appears as the height comparison in the renderings for 1395 W Broadway (see first two pictures on the left, below).  Theresa O'Donnell, General Manager of Planning, has assured us that no decisions have been made relating to heights and densities in the Broadway Plan area.  However, we find this difficult to believe given that staff are pushing this rezoning application hot on the heels of 2538 Birch Street, both of which far exceed the current zoned height and density.  Between 2538 Birch Street, 1395 W Broadway and, recently, the announcement that PCI Development is seeking a 39-storey tower at 1477 W Broadway one block away (click here), it’s clear that a precedent has been set and that the Broadway Plan has already been finalized behind closed doors.  Staff have found questionable methods to circumvent the Broadway Plan Interim Rezoning Policy in all three of these rezonings.  Clearly, the engagement process simply serves to create the illusion of engagement.  

 

  • No In-Person or WebEx Open House:  What is most galling is that City staff will not be holding a City-led open house for the rezoning 1395 W Broadway.  The webpage advises that, due to the pandemic, an extended online Q&A will be held instead.  We understand that it is unsafe for people to gather in large numbers but why not hold a WebEx or Zoom open house so that people can interact and provide staff with face-to-face feedback?  The reason is simple:  To divide and conquer.  What better way to stifle dissent than by eroding our civic democratic processes and preventing people from gathering? 

  • Commercial Development:  During the Public Hearing for 2538 Birch Street, staff made the excuse that it would be a one-off and that it should be approved because it was rental housing. This is a commercial property – what will staff's excuse be now, especially in light of workplace changes resulting from the pandemic? 

  • Shady Shadow Studies:  The rezoning application only includes shadow studies for March and June, the brightest times of the year, when the sun is almost overhead.  Shadow studies have not been done for darkest months (October and December), when these buildings will cast their longest shadows.  This is deliberately deceptive and intended to paint a "sunny" picture of the building's impact on Fairview and False Creek. 

 

Please register your opposition to the rezoning of 1395 W Broadway (Broadway & Hemlock) before November 7th on the rezoning page (click here). 

 

Below:  Artistic impressions and plans below by Andrew Cheung Architects/Yuanheng Holdings.  Renderings and shadow studies by S. Bohus, BLA. 

Please object to the rezoning of 1395 W Broadway (Broadway & Hemlock) before November 7th on the rezoning page (click here).