11-storey tower rezoning application at Arbutus Station was rejected by City of Vancouver

11-storey tower rezoning application at Arbutus Station was rejected by City of Vancouver

  • rezoning application
  • Vancouver
March 2, 2021

The Bastion Properties proposed a 11-storey building for the existing 28,750 sqft Shell Gas Station (2103 West Broadway) near the future Arbutus Station was rejected by City of Vancouver. The proposed development features 79 residential with significant outdoor amenity on the rooftop of the podium. On ground level will have 4,800 sqft of retail and restaurant space on West Broadway. The 120 Feet height is what caused the proposed development to be rejected. Many questions were raised regarding why the proposal was rejected because the City of Vancouver rarely reject these applications.

The information was released in the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board minutes indicating that the application was rejected during the regulation review meeting on February 8th, 2021.

Under the Broadway-Arbutus C-3A zoning guidelines, the permitted density is 3.0 and height limit is 70 feet with conditional height increase possibility. The 11-storey building proposed a 3.3 FSR and 120 Feet which exceed what was permitted. The proposed building height was almost double of what was permitted. However, the new Arbutus Station will be a deciding factor rather to allow a taller building. The new station will change what was initially planned for the area and it is common to see high-density building located close to the subway/SkyTrain station. The design received support from the City’s Urban Design Panel (UDP) in their November 2020 review showing support for massing and the discretionary increase in height approach.

“Panelists felt that the proposal demonstrated a strong public realm design, and was confident that issues of shadowing were sufficiently responded to enough to support the relaxations sought… Panelists recognized that the applicant is meeting the intent of the Guidelines well, and that the design response is well done.”

However, the city staff sitting o the DPP last month disagreed with UDP and rejected the design asking Bastion Property to resubmit the application. The reason for their opposition was contravening with their interpretation of existing guidelines and shadowing on the adjacent neighbour is also not an improvement. As mentioned before, future policy changes to this area under the Broadway Plan will permit greater densities for transit-oriented development making the existing guideline obsolete.

Although 2103 West Broadway was rejected, 2016 West 8th Avenue (nearby site) was approved. Assuming all the changes will kick in by next year, we see no reason to not approve 2013 West Broadway given that the lack of housing supply in Vancouver. Whether Bastion properties pursue different design or fight back to get it approved, we will wait and see. To take note, the new Broadway Corridor plan is on the way, prepare for a new round of land assembly and redevelopment!