1668 Davie: 23-storey Larco tower on London Drugs lot, approval slated Nov 30 (Mon) at Development Permit Board

1668 Davie 23storey tower view London Drugs looking SE, labelled

Location of existing buildings, parking lot, and Larco’s proposed 23-storey tower

A proposal by Larco Investments (no website – 331750 BC Ltd.) is at the final stage of approval at the Development Permit Board on Monday, November 30, 2015, starting at 3 pm, at Vancouver City Hall. The meeting is open to the public and the agenda for the meeting is here. Members of the public are permitted to address the DPB. Please see the City website for information on how to write or speak to the DPB.

This is the second of four new towers on the same block. 1188 Bidwell was the first. The Davie and Cardero Safeway tower redevelopment is next. Be prepared for construction noise and traffic disruptions for the next few years.

All this development was unleashed by the West End Community Plan adopted in 2013. City Council pre-zoned the area so that no public hearing is required. The Board cannot deny a development if it meets the zoning requirements, “official development plan,” and guidelines.


West End Neighbours has reported on this application before, with some analysis here:

The City’s website now carries information about the application, including the staff report on public input and comments received, and the recommendation to approve the application for Larco.

Main report: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/report-dpb-1668-davie-street-DE419443.pdf

Appendix:  http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/report-dpb-1668-davie-street-appendix-d.pdf

 As we have noted before, one outcome of the West End Community Plan is that major tower projects can proceed very quickly from the moment the public first learns about them to the time they are improved by an internal decision of the DPB. Elected officials are completely outside of the formal process in these pre-zoned areas.

The application was submitted to the City of Vancouver on August 15, 2015. The open house to present the information to the public was held October 20 (display panels only, just one-on-one discussion with City staff, and no open discussion or Q&A session). The period for the public to comment on the project was “closed” on October 30, just ten days later. The staff report is dated November 4, just two business days later. That staff report remained secret for three weeks, and was only made public by being posted quietly online in the past few hours (Friday, November 27), with no other notification to the public or people who had provided comments. And now, after the weekend, the Development Permit Board will approve the application on Monday, November 30th. That’s, in effect, on the next business day after the information was made public.

See the “Meetings” tab here:


We note that the public is also kept at an information disadvantage in preparing to address the DPB, as the Minutes of the October 7 Urban Design Panel (UDP) review of this project are still not available at this time:


Below are some selected and salient excerpts from the staff report based on public input:

“To date, a total of 21 written responses have been received. Two respondents requested additional information about the application, one expressed support for the project, and 16 respondents wrote in either direct opposition or with significant concerns as outlined below.

Construction Noise & Other Impacts: There were concerns about construction noise, disruption and traffic impacts of additional developments in the neighborhood. Residents in the surrounding properties want to see construction activities carefully handled to minimize the impacts.

Staff Response: Construction on the site would be subject to Vancouver Noise Control By-Law #65555 which limits construction on private property between 7:30 and 8pm on any weekday that is not a holiday and between 10am to 8pm on any Saturday that is not a holiday. Use of City streets will be subject to and reviewed for impacts to the surrounding transportation network by Engineering Services prior to being granted permits for work on street.

Access to Light and Views: There were concerns about how the proposed building would limit light and block existing private views for residents living in surrounding buildings.

Staff Response: Staff acknowledge the concern over this change, and note that this application is the second proposal under the West End Community Plan for Area A of the Lower Davie corridor, following the recently approved development across Davie St. at 1188 Bidwell St. Staff note that the general massing of occupied space has been shaped within the intended development capacity of the new West End Plan, and feel that the overall massing avoids view impacts in excess of the Plan. However, staff recommend reducing the height to meet the C-5A limit or design development to minimize view impacts of the over height elements through Condition 1.8. Private view impact analyses provided show that the main view impact is on existing adjacent development fronting Cardero St., and staff note that minimum tower separation distances are met to all adjacent development.”

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