Vancouver is a real estate city, and how land is used, developed and conserved here has dramatic implications for the economy, quality of life and our future. Given the important physical constraints on land use (mountains, oceans and rivers as well as the US border) and other equally important policy and practical constraints (policies and regulations related to planning, zoning and development, the preservation of agricultural land and fish habitat and ensuring viability for the port economy and transit), the limited physical space that is available for growth and development is subject to a myriad of rules and regulations. Different but related land use and development considerations apply in many other areas of the province.
Having practiced in this area for close to 35 years, first for local governments and subsequently primarily for private sector clients, Peter advises and represents our clients in their dealings with municipalities and other authorities as those clients navigate, or are confronted with, regulatory regimes in pursuit of their land use, business and other objectives.
Matthew Southwest Bethel
- Negotiate a 20-year Phased Development Agreement, together with a Development Cost Charge Front Ender Agreement, a zoning bylaw amendment, official community plan bylaw amendment and numerous other agreements, in the context of a community transforming development on Squamish waterfront, comprising 1,136 residential units and more than 2 million square feet of residential, commercial and industrial development. Bylaws are adopted September 2015, with Provincial approval for 20 year PDA term
Brenhill Developments Ltd.
- Secure an expedited Court of Appeal hearing to facilitate the reversal of a BC Supreme Court decision that had invalidated a development permit approval and a rezoning bylaw, and which had thereby halted a 13-storey 162-unit amenity social housing building in the Yaletown neighbourhood of Vancouver that was already well under construction, and put at risk the 36-storey 448 residential unit building in close proximity. Court of Appeal reverses the lower court decision, with leave to the Supreme Court of Canada refused
Century Group Lands Corp.
- Negotiate a 20-year Phased Development Agreement, and rezoning and official community plan bylaw amendments, and a precinct subdivision, to allow 950 residential units, a substantial market square and commercial uses in the formerly contentious “Southlands” area in Delta. Bylaws are adopted July 2016, with Provincial approval for 20 year PDA term
- Negotiate a consent by TransLink under a statutory right of way of a mixed-use project comprising 349 condominium units, a 144 suite world-class boutique hotel, 5 floors of office and additional retail space in proximity to a transit line in Surrey
Clients rely on Peter to successfully negotiate with local government and provincial representatives regarding land use, environmental, expropriation and business regulation issues. They also rely on him to litigate where disputes arise over how regulatory regimes are intended to work, regarding particular decisions made under those regimes, or where a third party has launched a court challenge to an approval.
|Negotiation of agreements, including phased development agreements||Advice regarding legal aspects of land use and development and other related regulations|
|Compliance issues re environmental, expropriation, land reserve and other matters||Litigating the scope of regulatory powers, and the validity or otherwise of approval decisions|
Peter’s experience as both a solicitor and a litigator assists him in addressing a myriad of land use and political issues with a sense of how the courts are likely to approach the issues that arise, which can assist with getting transactions done in a fashion that is more efficient and more legally defensible. It can also assist Peter in better explaining to a court the context and implications, where a dispute arises.
Peter has been a frequent contributor to regulatory initiatives. Examples include:
- As a member of the Urban Development Institute’s Board of Directors for 10 years, commenting to the province various regulatory issues related to land use and development
- Representing a large coalition of BC businesses (Business Council, BC Chamber, UDI, tourism, mining, truckers, hotels, agriculture, etc.) in providing comments to the province regarding the scope of local government powers under the Community Charter, to better reflect private sector interests and concerns
- Representing a similar coalition of BC business in commenting on the legal aspects of the interplay between municipal and regional district interests, relative to regional growth strategies
- Advancing the creation of legislation authorizing ‘phased development agreements’ to allow local governments and private sector parties to make more sophisticated agreements regarding their commitments over extended time periods
- Representing private sector interests on the Province’s Development Finance Review Committee
In representing property owners, businesses, developers, First Nations, environmental consultants and civic officials, Peter recognizes the role that all stakeholders play in creating our communities and advancing our economy as well as social and environmental interests. He is gratified to play a part in helping clients make Metro Vancouver and British Columbia the livable and thriving place it has grown into.
Peter is also a past longtime distress services volunteer, Board member and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Crisis Centre; has made three trips to Kenya/Tanzania with non-profit organizations, to expand their donor base, build a school and assist other projects; is a founding member of Dignitas International’s Pivot Group; and volunteers from time to time on Vancouver’s downtown east side.
Awards & Distinctions
- Best Lawyers in Canada, Municipal Law, since 2006
- Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory on numerous occasions