Revised policy for higher buildings downtown

Description

City council revises a general policy for higher buildings downtown and additional protected view corridors.

Vancouver skyline

Photograph by Thom Quine, via Wikimedia Commons

Potential Significance

  • The new policy allows for taller towers than had been previous approved in Vancouver’s core.
  • In April, 2011, two city events focused on taller buildings: a public lecture and discussion called “New Heights in Architectural Excellence: Can taller buildings set new standards in beauty and sustainability in Vancouver?” was followed by a special session of the city’s urban design panel on an application for the city’s tallest high-rise outside the downtown core, at Burrard and Davie.

Background

After a review of building heights and view-corridor policies, council agreed to taller buildings that do not have an impact on protected view corridors at “key entry points” to downtown at the north ends of the Granville and Burrard bridges as well as the “ceremonial” streets of Granville, Burrard and Georgia, where the city’s tallest buildings (as of 2016), such as the Shangri-La Hotel and the Trump tower, have gone up. At the same time, council also approved new protected public view corridors.

The height and view policies came after about two years of study. In 2009, council asked city staff to do a study on new views and view corridors in the city and to review building-height limits and their effects on views. A year later, council directed staff to look at opportunities for higher buildings downtown where views were not protected.

After public consultation, three locations were chosen for greater view protection: from Choklit Park in Fairview, looking to Grouse Mountain and Mount Fromme; from Creekside Park at the east end of False Creek, looking to the Lions mountains; and from Olympic Village looking to the mountains from Fromme east.

Council later (2013) approved the West End Community Plan, which specified zoning for taller buildings (up to about 700 feet) on the corridors of Georgia, Alberni and Burrard, and amended its general policy for higher buildings.

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