The owners of the planned Lady Alexandra building are appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision that determined the City of White Rock was justified in down-zoning the 1310 Johnston Rd. property from 12 storeys to six.
In a decision handed down March 31 of this year, Supreme Court Justice Carla Forth ruled in favour of city council’s decision, made in November 2018, to halt the 12-storey highrise, which was previously approved, pending an OCP review.
The owner of the property, G.S.R. Capital Group – a group of mostly local investors – and the city are to appear via videoconference in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia this Friday at 10 a.m., according to court documents.
“At issue is whether a city can issue a development permit approving a specific development and requiring the land to be developed in accordance with existing zoning, then reject the permit while it prepares by bylaws designed to downzone the property in question and prohibit the development,” a court of appeal hearing list reads.
The mixed-use luxury residential and retail building, which was planned for the former site of Leela Thai Restaurant, and other businesses, was approved for a development permit at a height of 12 storeys by the previous council.
Before and after approval, the contentious project had been the subject of outcry from residents opposing highrise development in the lower town centre area.
While it had received a development permit, the project, still undergoing design revisions at the time, had not yet received a building permit.
This allowed the newly-elected council to include the project in its official community plan review, instituted only two days after council took office.
Five members of the newly elected council, who are part of the Democracy Direct White Rock party, ran on a platform consisting of a “moratorium on the approval of any further high rises in White Rock until the completion of the 14 towers already approved.”
Ultimately, council voted 5-2 to approve bylaw 2290, which resulted in down-zoning of the property to a height of six storeys from the originally planned 12, and also to modify allowable density.
In her written decision, Justice Forth wrote that the impugned resolutions and bylaws are valid and dismissed G.S.R. Capital’s petition.
– with files from Alex Browne