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‘Enhanced’ rezoning set to begin north of Whistler Village

Long-contemplated ‘Holborn lands’ finally up for development
Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 9.14.17 AM
The long-contemplated 'Holborn lands' are set to go through an enhanced rezoning process at Whistler's municipal hall.

One of Whistler’s largest remaining pieces of undeveloped land is set to undergo an “enhanced” rezoning process at municipal hall, with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) planning to engage council and the public “early and often” throughout the development process.

On March 16, council will hear a presentation from staff on a proposed rezoning for the lands at 4500 Northlands Blvd., 4711 Settebello Dr., and 4700 Blackcomb Way—collectively referred to as 4500 Northlands, and more commonly known locally as the Holborn lands.

The presentation isn’t related to the specific rezoning itself, but rather how the RMOW plans to approach what is sure to be a lengthy and complex process.

“The process that is envisioned includes up-front community engagement to establish specific planning principles and objectives relating to a range of topics including: land use, density, height, built form and character, transportation and circulation, sustainability, community amenities and public benefits, and development phasing,” reads a staff report to council.

Community engagement opportunities are planned at “key points in the process,” as well as regular updates to council and consultation with community stakeholders (including the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations).

In Whistler’s 1993 Official Community Plan (OCP), the property—a prime, five-hectare piece of real estate located at the end of Northlands Boulevard, north of Whistler Village—was zoned for a 450-room hotel and other amenities.

With the adoption of Whistler’s updated OCP in the summer of 2020, landowner Beedie Whistler Holdings can finally develop the land.

“We purchased the site several years back knowing that we would have to be patient and wait for the resort municipality to sort out the issues with respect to the OCP … We look forward to engaging with staff, council and the public with redevelopment plans,” said Houtan Rafii, executive vice president of Beedie Living, in a July 2020 interview with Pique (Beedie did not immediately respond to a March 12 request for comment).

The RMOW is proposing a revamped rezoning process for the significant application, to be done in three phases: establish planning and development principles; identify and evaluate alternative concepts that address potential site development and associated community amenities; and determine supported uses and community amenities (with direction from council) prior to the development of the actual zoning bylaw.

Following that process, the standard rezoning process would apply, including a public hearing.

The entire rezoning is targeted for completion in September 2022.

In a related March 16 agenda item, Whistler council will also consider an amendment to its Land Use Procedures and Fees bylaw to create a new category for large and complex development applications that require more RMOW resources.

The “complex site rezoning” definition will apply to parcels of at least 45,000 square metres and for which the proposed rezoning requires an amenity zoning or phased development agreement.

A complex site rezoning will come with a minimum fee of $150,000 for the first 10,000 square metres of site area, plus $350 per additional 100 square metres, to a maximum of $750,000.

Find the full March 16 agenda and a link to tune in live at www.whistler.ca/municipal-gov/council/meeting-agendas-and-minutes.

Pick up next week’s Pique or watch piquenewsmagazine.com for more on this story.


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