The George Hotel and Residences’ form and character development permit has expired as of June 1.
Town of Gibsons director of planning Lesley-Anne Staats told Coast Reporter that building permits for the project cannot be issued until a new or renewed development permit dealing with the proposed design elements of the project is in place.
Council approval required
According to Staats, the form and character permit was issued based on a decision of council and that consideration of any replacement would also be referred to a vote of the community’s elected officials. It was originally issued in 2018 and on May 19, 2020, council voted to extend the permit validity to June 2022.
She noted that the applicant, Klaus Fuerniss Enterprises Inc, the owner of The George Gibsons Development Ltd., had come forward with an incomplete application to staff for an amendment to the form and character development permit before the expiry date.
“We, [staff] have held a few meetings with the developer over a couple of months to discuss next steps and they seem to have intentions to proceed, however, we do not have a complete application to process at this time,” Staats wrote in an email. She indicated she “did not know” how soon an updated permit application would be ready for council review.
Coast Reporter contacted the offices of Klaus Fuerniss Enterprises Inc. for comment but did not receive a response by publication deadline.
Gibsons received the first application related to the George in 2013. It approved the initial development permit, one of several issued for the project, in 2015.
When asked about next steps for a form and character permit for the project, Staats said “this whole time the intent has been to proceed, but they haven’t, for whatever reason, I don’t know what their timeframe is. They have changed their design a little bit but I have not received all the reports that they would need to submit for a new form and character permit application.”
She stated that the applicant is discussing lowering the height of the development and are now proposing a slab on grade foundation. Those changes mean that the Town must review all previous reports prepared by professionals to ensure they are still valid and, if needed, request new ones. The most current proposal for the project includes 39 residential suites, 116 hotel rooms, conference facilities and underground parking on a waterfront lot in downtown Gibsons.
There are a number of development permits addressing other components on the file for the property, which remain in force. Town development permits are valid for a specific timeframe that does not exceed two years.