The owners and their designer first met with the city staff about their plans to demolish the house and replace it with a new home in June 2013, before council approved the Heritage Action Plan (HAP).
They were told that they could persue an application as long as no objections were raised during the neighbourhood notification period.
The city went ahead and sent notifications to the neighbourhood in 2015 and no one responded, so conditional approval was granted in April 2015.
In March 2016 residents started emailing the city to oppose the demolition plan, which garnered a lot of media attention. In May 2016, the city issued a temporary heritage protection order to prevent it from being knocked down.
In May 2016 the city and the owners looked at options to retain the house through incentives such as infill or the addition of square footage to the house, but the owners were not interested in infill.
On March 1, the owners submitted a development permit application to retain portions of the home and add to it. The director of planning advised them at the time that there would need to be more retention. A revision was submitted a few weeks later with some more of the original house being retained.
On May 29, the application was presented to the Vancouver Heritage Commission for its advice and the commission concluded that more retention of the original building was required for its support.
Within just a couple days the owners advised the city that they no longer wanted to proceed with the retention plan and wanted to revert back to their original application to demolish the home.
While the home has heritage value and could be a 'Heritage A' building in the heritage registry, it wasn't formally added to the register because discussions were ongoing. Typically, in these kinds of circumstances, if there's an application that goes to council, the building is added to the register as part of that process.
In this case, even adding the house to the heritage register at that point wouldn't allow the director of planning to do anything other than what has already been done.
Last weekend deconstruction of the house began. Efforts were made to try and move the house, but that would take at least 2 months to coordinate, but this delay did not fit with the owners' development timeline.
Is this a prime example of the lack of tools that the City has to protect character properties under threat? What are your thoughts?
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