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Commercial core zoning will be opposed

Several property owners against proposed CC1 bylaw that limits development in the village

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Walking through Whistler village’s current grandeur, it is hard to imagine that the buildings could ever fall into disrepair.

Yet that is exactly the reality Dennis Hilton is afraid of.

From his home in North Vancouver, Hilton has been drafting a letter to Whistler council outlining his concern with the proposed CC1 zoning bylaw.

The bylaw would freeze village buildings to their current size, and any increase above 20 square metres would have to go through the municipality’s rezoning process.

Hilton, who owns a property in the CC1 zone, is concerned that property values will decline once if the bylaw is passed, since international investors will not put their money into investments that will not grow.

“What is going to happen, and this is really the sad part, is that the owners, not making a return on their investment, are not likely to put more money into even refurbishing their current buildings,” said Hilton.

“Then when the buildings start to diminish in value, the owners will get less revenue, and people will stay outside of the core area. The village will deteriorate.”

Hilton’s is not alone with his concerns, and property owners and strata council members are planning to oppose the rezoning during a public hearing scheduled for Monday, March 17.

“The last public hearing in November, on very short notice, there were half-a-dozen people at council chambers, and this time we are hoping to fill the theatre,” said Hilton.

“It would be great to have as much presence as possible with individual owners, and I have asked all property owners to come out, because the village is going to be affected by the bylaw change, and it won’t be positive.”

The area under question spans north from Tantalus Resort Lodge to Village Gate Boulevard and includes the Sundial Boutique Hotel, Carleton Lodge, Crystal Lodge Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and Blackcomb Lodge.

Several property owners in this Commercial Core believe they have the right to build to the maximum permitted floor space ratio of 3.5, although most buildings in this zone are not built to that size.

According to Hilton, only six of the properties, or 20 per cent of the total, are currently built to the maximum permitted floor space ratio.

Council are concerned that adding height and mass to these buildings could interfere with the original village design by Eldon Beck, which aims to maximize mountain views and sunlight in the village core.

Mayor Ken Melamed said he is looking forward to hearing from the property owners on Monday night.

“Our objective as a council is to remain open minded and to listen to the input of everyone in the community,” said Melamed.

“I would be interested to hear if the submissions are going to differ materially than the ones that were addressed at the last public hearing, but it all stays in the public record and becomes part of a file in considering the new bylaws.”

Since November’s public hearing meeting, municipal staff have refined the bylaw, and council gave it first and second reading in February.

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