City halts processing of Hollywood Theatre proposal, discussions continue to find heritage solution

The discovery of a 1984 encroachment agreement that requires the owner of the Hollywood Theatre to “remove the rear 10 feet from the building in the event of a change in use from its current use as theatre” is a major obstacle to the current proposal to redevelop the Kitsilano landmark, says Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development services, and the city has “stopped processing” the application.

Jackson reported on the status of the Hollywood application in a memo to council today.

Jackson’s update reinforces assurances I have been sending to Kits residents anxious to ensure there is no threat to demolish the theatre. In an e-mail to about 40 correspondents today, I wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to write about your concern to protect the Hollywood Theatre.

I can assure you the theatre is safe from demolition and redevelopment until a suitable solution is found. There will be no development permit issued until future use is determined.

This provides effective protection for the Hollywood past the expiry of the order passed by council in November and is open-ended in nature. The maximum length of a council order is 120 days, of which more than half have passed.

I received a similar appeal to yours on Wednesday from the Save Hollywood Theatre Coalition.

I followed up with Brian Jackson, General Manager of Planning and Development Services, who advised that city staff have done a considerable amount of work on the Hollywood Theatre since the council decision.

Mr. Jackson assured me that there is no possibility of the city issuing development or demolition permits to the Hollywood’s owner at this time even if the council decision expires.

The city has carefully reviewed the history of this site and the current application with the owner and it is clear, to both sides, that the current proposal cannot proceed.

This is good news, of course, and gives more time for the coalition, Mr. Bonnis and the city to find suitable solutions for the Hollywood. Mr. Bonnis is working with the city to find a suitable resolution. The Coalition has indicated that it has several potential solutions under consideration.

With the holiday season now at an end, I’m sure discussions will quickly resume to that end.