West End residents lose court challenge that aimed to block 21-story tower

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      West End residents who sought to block the construction of a 21-storey tower have lost their legal battle with the city.

      Today (February 16), B.C. Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Affleck ruled that the City of Vancouver was within its powers to approve a zoning change that allows for the development of a tower on the 1700 block of Pendrell Street.

      “The decision of the City Council to adopt the Resolution cannot be characterized as unreasonable within the meaning of the governing authorities,” he wrote. “The judicial review application is dismissed with costs.”

      The petitioners in the case were six West End residents who opposed the tower proposed by Westbank Projects Corp. They were all residents of 1725 Pendrell, the address located across the street from that site.

      The group claimed the rezoning application that council approved was not a “revised” application, as council considered at the time, but rather was a “new” application. The petitioners therefore requested a judge issue an order that prohibits the City of Vancouver from enacting those changes.

      “Council considered irrelevant and extraneous considerations and failed to consider relevant considerations,” reads the petition, which was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court on October 15, 2015.

      A 21-story tower proposed for the 1700 block of Pendrell Street could be put on hold by a West End group's court challenge.

      In today’s judgement, Affleck acknowledged that the rezoning application was delayed for many years, but he decided that was not a reason to consider the proposal approved by council as a new application.

      “Those councillors who understood the rezoning of the Property had been long delayed were entitled to take that fact into account when determining whether or not to support the Resolution,” he wrote.

      In a media release, Mayor Gregor Robertson praised the judge's decision and said it would allow for more rental units to be built in the West End.

      "This is a very positive step for both the West End and affordable housing in Vancouver," he said. "This new development provides 178 new rental homes, including 26 at below market rents, in a neighbourhood with one of the lowest vacancy rates in the city. This is the type of housing Vancouver needs and we are pleased that it can now proceed."

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