A proposal to ban further towers in Vancouver’s southern Chinatown neighbourhood will go to a public hearing.

The city council voted this week to extend the consultation on proposed zoning changes which would mean a cap on future developments of 90 feet / 27 metres.

This is slightly higher than the limit in the northern part of Chinatown which is set at 75ft/23m.

The council says it wants to protect the region’s heritage and character and this has been welcomed by heritage advocated Melody Ma.

"The current regulations are essentially a buffet for the real estate industry as well as property owners ... these new zoning policies will really protect Chinatown," she told CBC News.

Developers have been wrong-footed
The Urban Development Institute’s Pacific Region says that restricting the height of Chinatown developments punishes property owners and weakens the economic growth for Chinatown.

In a letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the UDI says the current rules were developed following a long consultation process and developers acquired development sites based on the resulting vision for Chinatown.

“We have been extremely disappointed that projects that were meeting the City’s objectives and following the rules established with the community under the Plan, were delayed and ultimately rejected. This significant change in direction has created considerable uncertainty and sets a bad precedent for other Council approved Area Plans across the City,” the latter states.

The letter, send before this week’s council meeting, called for the council to engage with stakeholders rather than move to a public hearing.

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