Comment from Voices: Below is a letter to the Editor, NS News regarding the Hollyburn Properties development application for 13th and Lonsdale. We also remind you that four members of Council – Councillors Back, Buchanan, Keating and Mayor Mussatto received campaign donations from the applicant (from $500 to $1000). Quoting Dan Rather “Who gives what money to whom expecting what for it?”
Hollyburn Properties Ltd. held an open house and a town hall earlier this year for its proposed development of a market rental building at the corner of Lonsdale and 13th Street. Mayor and council (in a 4-3 vote) recently passed a resolution for the project to proceed to a public hearing. This was despite the fact that as reported by the city planner, “there is significant public concern with regard to the application.” Three councillors (Pam Bookham, Don Bell and Rod Clark) voted against the resolution, citing concerns with density, height, parking and traffic.
The site was designated as a special study area for consideration of increased height in response to lobbying by Hollyburn. As stated in the official community plan, such sites “are areas of the City that require in-depth study to resolve issues.” Where is the in-depth study? Will increased height for this location in fact provide any improvement in “defining the City Centre”?
The city has offered to sell 22,186 square feet of density to Hollyburn for $1,996,758. There has been no justification provided for this increased density. Is the city being unduly influenced by the money in considering a 20 per cent higher density for this site?
This has resulted in a proposal for a building at a height of 58 metres whereas the OCP maximum is 37 metres and with a density of 0.8 floor space ratio, or FSR, over the OCP maximum of 4.0. We now are faced with an increase in height of seven storeys.
The Hollyburn proposal does bring additional needed rental housing albeit at market rates to the city. However, this can and should be done consistent with the height and density restrictions contained in the OCP.
The graphic above shows an OCP compliant building. Imagine another seven storeys on top. You decide. This is your city – it’s time to speak up. Attend the public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 in council chamber at city hall, 141 West 14th St., North Vancouver. Council is scheduled to vote immediately after the hearing.