Lady Alexandra developer takes City of White Rock to court

Petition to the court asks for a number of bylaws to be quashed

The group responsible for the proposed Lady Alexandra development is taking the City of White Rock to court over tower height bylaws.

The petition to the court, which was filed April 10 by Calgary-based firm G.S.R. Capital Group Inc., names the City of White Rock and city bylaw manager James Nyhus as respondents.

The petition relates to a decision White Rock council made at a special meeting in March to approve contentious OCP and zoning amendments for 1310 Johnston Rd., the site of the proposed Lady Alexandra building.

Council voted 5-2 to approve bylaw 2290, which resulted in down-zoning of 1310 Johnston Rd. to a height of six storeys from the originally planned 12 storeys, and also modify allowable density.

RELATED: Council approves downzoning, height limits

Supporting the down-zoning were Mayor Darryl Walker and Couns. Scott Kristjanson, Christopher Trevelyan, Erika Johnson and David Chesney.

Voting against the amendment were Couns. Helen Fathers and Anthony Manning.

The mixed-use luxury residential and retail building planned for the current site of Leela Thai Restaurant and other businesses was approved for a development permit at a height of 12 storeys, but the project did not receive a building permit for 12 storeys, which allowed council’s re-examination of the project.

The petition to the court seeks, among other items, a declaration that G.S.R. Capital Group is entitled to proceed with a 12-storey development at 1310 Johnston Rd.; that an order be made to the city to quash a number of Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws, including bylaw 2289, which serves as a guideline for building heights on the 1300-block of Johnston Road; and the city pay costs to the developer.

RELATED: White Rock council challenged by Lady Alexandra conundrum

In the petition, G.S.R. suggests that city councillors adopted Bylaw 2290 “to thwart GSR’s approved development. This is evidenced by comments made by council members during the various council meetings and the staff reports.”

The petition also claims that the city “breached the rules of procedural fairness” at a public hearing, which was originally set for Feb. 20 of this year but was rescheduled that day to instead take place March 11.

“GSR specifically requested that the date of the public hearing be changed because key members of its team were not available on the new (March 11) date. The city refused to change the date of the public hearing even though Bylaw 2290 targeted GSR’s Property,” the petition states.

The petition says that two days after the council was inaugurated on Nov. 5, a special meeting was called by Mayor Darryl Walker “to review the status of major development projects.”

The petition says that that special meeting dealt specifically with G.S.R.’s property, however, the city did not notify G.S.R. of the special meeting “even though GSR and City staff had been communicating about the Project the week before the meeting, including on November 6th, and notwithstanding that the purpose of the resolutions was to prevent GSR from proceeding with its approved development.

“The right to notice should have been extant even if GSR would not have an opportunity to be heard at the special meeting. At the very least, GSR and the public generally had a right to be provided with a fair, open and transparent process,” the petition states.

The City of White Rock has not yet responded to the petition, however, the city told Peace Arch News Thursday morning that they intend to do so.

None of the allegations mentioned in the petition have been tested in court.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

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