CVN letter to Council (for 21-June): Opposed – Metro Vancouver 2050 Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022, Metro 2050 Acceptance

(See PDF for full formatted document: CVN Letter re Metro 2050 to CoV Council-2022-06-21-V2)

June 19, 2022
City of Vancouver

Attention: Mayor Stewart and Councillors

Re: Metro Vancouver 2050 Regional District Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Bylaw No. 1339, 2022, Metro 2050 Acceptance

Council Agenda:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20220621/regu20220621ag.htm
CoV Staff Report:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20220621/documents/r1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) has major concerns regarding the proposed Metro 2050 Bylaw and we are opposed to it as currently written.

Attached is our letter sent to the Metro Vancouver Regional District for the Metro public hearing in which the mayor and many of the councillors participated. Only nine people from across the entire region spoke at the public hearing, reflecting the lack of public awareness and involvement. Our stated concerns remain, and we request that the City of Vancouver propose amendments to the Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) to address these issues prior to acceptance.

Of particular concern are the following items for suggested amendments in the RGS:

  • Request that projections for population and dwellings be shown separately by each individual municipality, and not grouped together with Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. We also request that the years of data line up with the census years (2021, 2026, 2031, 2036, etc.);
  • Remove aspirational targets that are not based on transparent data and facts;
  • Remove the new designation of “Major Transit Growth Corridors” that are proposed along routes that are currently only bus routes where there are no immediate plans, approvals or funding for major transit expansion or other required amenities for growth;
  • Reconsider transit to serve the whole arterial grid affordably, with development based on local neighbourhood context, rather than only a few expensive corridors with excessive growth tower typologies; and
  • Refer this back to CoV staff for public and stakeholder consultation since most people are unaware of this important plan and have not had an opportunity for meaningful input. This should include affected boards such as the Vancouver School Board that was not consulted as part of the advisory committee.

Sincerely,
The Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN)

Attachment –  CVN letter to Metro Vancouver dated April 20, 2022
https://coalitionvan.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/CVN-Letter-re-Metro-2050-to-CoV-Council-2022-06-21-V2.pdf

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2009 to 2037 Stainsbury Avenue letter to Council

Dear Mayor Stewart and City Councillors

RE: Social Housing Project at 2009 to 2037 Stainsbury Ave. with 30% market rentals.

We are the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours.  We are 93 members strong.

We know you are very busy and appreciate your time.

We are opposed to the proposal at 2009 to 2037 Stainsbury Avenue as is stands. 

We are contacting you because at a Council meeting on June 7 2022 this proposal is being considered by Council to be referred to a Public Hearing.  We ask that you do not approve this referral report as we feel our neighbourhood citizen’s concerns have not been addressed through the rezoning process. We would like, at the least, that this proposal go to the Urban Design Panel first before going to Council for referral.  This is a contentious site as the proposed building is so close to the Sky Train line. Because it is so close we feel as proposed the units and courtyard will be too noisy and unliveable for the tenants.  We have suggested to the rezoning staff something different, as below, but feel none of our suggestions have been considered.

This proposal is feet from the Sky Train line and will be very noisy for the occupants.  It is too dense; it consists of two seven storey buildings with a narrow interior courtyard.  This feels like warehousing people, not creating homes. There is 32.8 million dollars of taxpayers money put toward this project and we feel there should be no market rental units; all the units must be non-market.

We are asking for..

·      a less dense, less tall building on this RS-1 site 

·      one six-storey, 2.4 FSR, 101 unit building, as in the original government proposal

·      provide more parking

·      place the building further back from the Skyrain, keeping setback from Victoria Drive

·      plant mature trees to the east of the project to absorb the SkyTrain noise

This project is actually on Victoria Drive, so should be 3 to 4 storeys tall according to the KCC Community Vision. The applicant and City are relying on the Kensington-Cedar Cottage Community Vision for this rezoning.

KCC Community Vision says: 

New Housing Choices

In addition to new three to four storey mixed use buildings, mainly along Kingsway and Victoria, there should be new forms of housing around the Knight and Kingsway and Victoria and 41st neighbourhood centres. This new housing should be attractive and fit into the existing neighbourhoods.

Seniors’ Lowrise Housing

Lowrise (up to four storey) buildings designated for seniors should be permitted. They should be located near local shopping and transit. Scale and design should fit into the neighbourhood. Support %: 83/10/7

The Secured Rental Policy Incentives for New Rental Housing  of January 2022 says the following:

On Table 2: Up to 6 storey residential apartment or mixed use for projects including a minimum 20% of the residential floor area that is counted in the calculation of FSR secured as below market rental units (See section 4 for specific requirements) or where 100% of the residential floor area is secured as social housing.

It also says: 2.4.3 Social Housing

Rezonings for projects where 100% of the residential floor area is secured as social housing will be considered on sites zoned RS or RT, including in locations that are not illustrated by Map A in the Appendix. The RR-2C district includes provisions to enable some additional density for 6 storey social housing developments on arterials. As appropriate, staff may also support consideration of rezoning to another RR district or a CD-1.

This is a rezoning from 0.60 FSR in the RS-1 zone to 3.46 FSR in a CD -1 zone. This is an increase in density of 575%.  The FSR in this proposal should be much less, at the most 2.40 FSR.

The new RR zoning in the Zoning and Development By-law #3575 allows a maximum height of 19.8 m (64.9 feet); and 6 storeys. On Shape Your City this proposal is 78.18 or 87.93 feet depending on where you measure it to.  This proposal is as tall as the Lee Building at Broadway and Main and in an RS -1 zone.  Since this proposal is not 100% below market social housing the height should be less.

Background information:

The City changed the proposal from one six storey, 2.4 FSR, 101 unit building to two seven storey, 3.46 FSR, 123 unit buildings. They say the change was done to “maximize the amount of affordable housing being delivered on public land.”

These changes were not doneto maximize urban design or to reduce the noise that will reverberate off this building from the Sky Train into the neighbourhood. Changes were not made to reduce the noise going into the units from the Sky Train which is feet from this proposed building.  NO, the changes were made to ensure that the applicant got the most profit they could at the expense of the occupants and the neighbourhood — maximize housing delivered.

The following two links show the contract bids:  

This bid shows there is already $32.8 million set aside for this project as originally proposed.

If efficient use of public money is a priority, then do away with the internal outdoor courtyard which will sit right under the Sky Train so will likely not be usable anyway.  Build one six storey building as originally proposed.

_________________________________________________

Following is what a CCAN members asked on the Shape Your City website for the proposal:

Q.  Which units have been designated to fall in the 30% low-income group, which are charged market rents?

Chris Flerlage asked about 1 month ago

A.  This application proposes to provide a mix of 50% of units occupied by households with incomes below housing income limits (HILs), 20% of units at shelter rate and the remaining 30% of units at market rents. The specific units that will be tied to each rental rate type has not yet been set and will be determined by the operator based on a need and demand analysis with consideration for the overall project budget.

_____________________

Another questions asked of City Staff and their answers:

Hi Allison

As of May 2021, the Vienna House project at 2009 to 2037 Stainsbury Ave. was a 6 storey, 101 unit, 2.40 FSR building. On December 2, 2021, the application received date, within 7 months, it is now two 7 storey buildings, 123 units and 3.46 FSR.

My three questions:

1.  On what date did this project turn in to a building equivalent to a 14 storey building, that being a 14 storey building consisting of two 7 storey buildings, 123 units, and 3.46 FSR?

The proposed building is considered one 7-storey building with a courtyard form. Page 8 of the Rezoning Booklet shows the various building forms that were explored by the applicant before landing on the current design. Between May and the application submission, the applicant team explored different building forms to determine the most efficient building that met overall project objectives such as sustainability, livability, resident connection opportunities, modular construction, etc.

2.  Who made these changes to this proposal?

The applicant team, including VAHA, the housing operator (More Than a Roof) and the architect.

3.  Why were these changes made, given that these changes are not part of the 32.8 M construction budget bid?

The applicant made changes to ensure project viability, meet Passive House standards, enhance livability, and maximize the amount of affordable housing being delivered on public land. The applicant has advised that the budget has increased due to the additional units, however the increase in the number of units helps to minimize cost per unit for the land while increasing capital and operating cost efficiency through economy of scale.

___________________________

Further background information, the Hull Street project neutralized more projects in this area:

Following is the link to the Council report of Jun 2018 for the Hull Street project which is immediately to the east of the Stainsbury project and still under construction:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20180619/documents/p2.pdf

The Hull Street Council report said: This is the second rezoning application within a 10-block radius (the first one approved was at 18th Avenue and Commercial Drive), thereby neutralizing this portion of Commercial Drive and the Victoria Diversion from future AHC applications.

The 2009 – 2037 Stainsbury and the Hull Street proposals fall under the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability.  They are apartment buildings containing affordable rental housing. So, we are very confused as to why this proposal is being allowed in this location when the neighbourhood was told that this portion of the street is exempt from future affordable housing projects because there are already too many of them here. The current rezoning staff say of the Stainsbury project it is different than the Hull Street project because: “The proposed rezoning application at 2009-2037 Stainsbury Ave is not being considered under the Affordable Housing Choices (AHC) Interim Rezoning Policy”.  This answer is simply an excuse to ignore what was already promised this neighbourhood in the Hull Street report. This makes absolutely no common sense — an affordable housing project under the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability is still an affordable housing project. 

Another tall, dense affordable rental housing project with reduced parking in this area is still an affordable housing rental project with less parking, and there is no way to get around this reality, this fact. It is actually insulting to this neighbourhood to use the excuse ‘not the same policy’. 

We do realize that City Hall has the authority to change their minds on anything they have said in the past. It is just very frustrating to the general public when this happens.

In conclusion, we ask that you instruct staff to re-evaluate this proposal before this proposal is referred to a Public Hearing and prepare a staff presentation showing a project that we suggested above and that was in the original bid for the project.

Yours sincerely

Mr. B. Straten, CCAN secretary on behalf of our members

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Broadway Plan goes to Council Wed May 18!

Massive towers up to 40 storeys  

The proposed Broadway Plan sets the scale of station area development at 40 storeys with up to 20 storeys in low density areas that are currently 2 – 4 storeys.

These precedents would affect development expectations at all stations.

Please email and/or speak to Council to oppose this proposal for the Broadway Plan.

 
The Council meeting is Wednesday May 18 at 9:30 am!

What you can do:

1. Send an email to Council NOW and through the online form so it will be counted by staff. https://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council.aspx  You must send to the online form or your vote will not be counted.
Also send to Council, SEE contacts below. . 


2. Sign up to speak to council at the hearing by phone: Numbers of speakers matters. It is easy to speak by phone. Each person has 5 minutes, but you do not have to speak that long. Even just to say one sentence is OK. Sign up to speak here: https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-meeting-form-2.aspx

Reference:

Council Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/pspc20220518ag.htm
Council Report:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/documents/pspc1.pdf
Appendix A: https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/documents/pspc1appendixA.PDF

Emails to Council :

kennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca; CLRboyle@vancouver.ca; CLRbligh@vancouver.ca; CLRcarr@vancouver.ca; CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca; CLRdominato@vancouver.ca; CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca; CLRfry@vancouver.ca; CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca; CLRswanson@vancouver.ca; CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca

AND submit through the online form so staff count it: 
https://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council.aspx

Broadway Plan Background:

The Plan covers 16th Ave. to 1st Ave., Mt. Pleasant, Fairview, South Granville and part of Kitsilano to Vine St.
Plus it affects Grandview to Commercial Dr. that is following similar typologies.
Also the station area currently in planning at Renfrew Station.

Base Housing Typologies:

  • Centres – Station Areas 30-40 storeys
  • Centres – Shoulder Areas 20-30 storeys
  • Villages – 4-6 storeys
  • Residential – Existing Apartment Areas (currently 3-4 storeys) up to 20 storeys
  • Residential – Existing Low Density (Existing RT zones character house retention with multiple suites/infill) 6-18 storeys
  • Industrial Employment – Allows towers, unspecified



Points to Consider:

  • Will create a concrete jungle with a canyon down Broadway. Think of downtown Georgia St.
  • Towers are the least affordable, least sustainable and livable form of development, and not required to meet population growth.

Affordability:

  • More height and density in an area increases land values, that leads to higher property taxes which leads to rent increases.  Based on the BC Assessment principle of ‘Highest and best use’, even if a property does not redevelop the land value and rents on those properties will go up anyway.
  • Proposed renter protections will not work because most renters will be displaced or priced out well in advance of any redevelopment applications being submitted when the rental protections would apply.
  • Renters will be forced out during the building process of 2 to 3 years, and have to pay for moving twice if they choose to return to a smaller more expensive unit in the new development.
  • New units to own or rent are more expensive and smaller than the older units being demolished, not suitable for families.
  • The claims The Mayor is making are likely based on promises from developers that experience tells us cannot be relied on.

Sustainability:

Livability:

  • Lack of servicing and community amenities for the increased development and population, that development fees will not cover so require more property taxes and capital funding.
  • Towers will shadow parks all the way to the waterfront.

Growth:

  • Not justified by census data – City of Vancouver on average population increase is 1% per year
  • The Broadway Plan alone could amount to about 81% of the City’s population growth over the next 30 years in 7% of the City’s landmass.
  • Major growth corridors are an American model for large sprawling cities, not pre-war transit oriented cities like Vancouver that were designed for the streetcar system with all areas walkable to an arterial. We just need more electric bus service throughout the arterial grid.
  • All of the transit investment for many generations is being put into only a few expensive development oriented corridors instead of providing more affordable transit across the city and region.

Media
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/05/07/palmquist50_affordability-capacity-trust/
3D images of Broadway Plan
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/05/05/rally-city-hall-megaplans-may7/
City Hall Rally Media:
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/05/07/hundreds-attend-rally-against-broadway-plan/

Murphy Interview CKNW
https://omny.fm/shows/the-jill-bennett-show/rally-planned-to-protest-broadway-vancouver-plan

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Safeway MEGATOWER Development Threatens Grandview Green Space

There will be a MOTION before the Vancouver Park Board on Monday May 16 2022 regarding preservation of the Grandview Cut.  We’re asking that you send a note in support of this motion

The Grandview Cut will be greatly affected by the development of the Safeway site at Broadway and Commercial.

Here is who to contact at the Park Board:  PBCommissioners@vancouver.ca and cc the General Manager at: Pbgmo@vancouver.ca

The No Mega Towers group has sent the following points to consider including in your note to the Park Board:

It is very important to include the statement that you are in support of the Motion and following are some points that you may want to include in your note:

*  We are in a climate emergency – protecting green space is essential. 

*  Green space is so needed in East Vancouver. We have less than half the green canopy than the west side of the city

* Grandview Woodland is tied with Fairview for the least number of parks per person

* The Grandview Cut is the lungs of the area – we need its precious habitat and forest cover for cooling in heat waves, for protection of birds, wildlife, and green space.

* Planting of a few trees in the neighbourhood by the developer does not make up for the loss of the understory, vegetation, trees, birds and habitat provided by The Cut.

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Rally at City Hall – Saturday May 7 at 11 am! Neighbourhoods across Vancouver in protest of Broadway Plan and citywide Vancouver Plan

Note, rally now on north side of City Hall

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

SLIDESHOW: Renderings showing the possible locations and heights of towers when the Broadway Plan is fully built out. The City has not publicly shared any 3D images of what’s in store, so this required hundreds of hours of effort by a small team of expert volunteers for research, analysis, and modelling. They had to work carefully through the fine print in the documentation to get this. The views show many parts of the Broadway Plan area, starting with one view a few hundred feet over Connaught Park (near 12th and Vine) in Kitsilano, looking eastward as far as Clark Drive, with towers ranging from 1st Avenue on the left to 16th Avenue on the right. North Shore mountains are on the left. The sun angle is at 10 am on March 20. Stay tuned, as we will be releasing more renderings of the Broadway Plan, moving section…

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Barge Chilling Beach

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City Council big decision day Dec 14 (Tues) on ‘Streamlining Rental’ citywide rezoning policies: Critical analysis of staff’s last-minute memo on Public Hearing questions

Critical analysis of staff’s last-minute memo on Public Hearing questions

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

(Updated, with revisions and new additions. Apologies for any delay. The staff memorandum was just published on Friday so it would understandably be a scramble for anyone to do detailed analysis so quickly. Reposted here as a new post to ensure e-mail subscribers receive the full updated text by e-mail. Below is the latest, updated text after we did our original post.)

Just two business days before Vancouver City Council votes to decide the final outcome of a Public Hearing that was held over three sessions in November (Nov 2, 4, 9), Vancouver’s chief planner (Theresa O’Donnell) issued a 12-page memo to Council entitled “Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas – Additional Questions from Councillors arising from the Public Hearing.” It provides detailed responses to Council questions that arose during the Public Hearing. The policies proposed by planning staff are complex and have huge implications…

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Share your thoughts with The City on the renewal plan for John Hendry (Trout Lake) Park

Note: Responses must be submitted by December 14, 2021

https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/improving-john-hendry-park.aspx

Thanks to Raj for alerting CCAN about this rapidly approaching deadline.

My 2 cents, I would like to see an enclosed dog park as part of the plan. Keep park users and dogs both safe in their own spaces.

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109 social housing unit tower rezoning (14=20 storeys) at 1406-1410 East King Edward & Knight. Virtual Open House ends Dec 5, 2021: A look at applicant’s urban design materials.

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Originally posted on CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions:
A rezoning application for a tower with 109 social housing units at Knight Street and East King Edward Avenue has been submitted to the City of Vancouver. A Virtual…

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3 Items of Community Interest

Thanks to CCAN members Raj, Chris and Derek for submitting the following 3 items of community interest along to CCAN. 

#1

Oct 5 2021 at 11AM there will be a Special Council meeting that will present a report which contains information on increased  height and density that may affect the area around where you live. You may wish to read the report to see how it will affect you.  https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/documents/spec1.pdf

This Special Council meeting is to be convened by electronic means. We believe that you can only submit comments at this time, speaking at this meeting is not allowed.  This is due to it being a referral to Public Hearing, which will probably take place in a few weeks. Speakers will be allowed then.

Send comments to Council     https://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council.aspx

Note Tip: Send your comments by the day before the meeting so Council has time to review them.

Watch the live broadcast      https://csg001-harmony.sliq.net/00317/Harmony

Questions about this agenda?

  • Phone 604.829.4323

This report intends to do the following (see page 2 of the report): iii. add new rental district schedules, RR-1, RR-2, RR-2B and RR-2C and RR-3A and RR-3B, to be utilized for rental housing rezoning applications, including in eligible RS and RT areas.

See page 14 which shows pictures of what this will look like.

When a district schedule is created it is not written in stone as to what can be built in that district — That is why there are so many RE-ZONINGS created — these rezonings have their own height and density and become CD-1 zones just like the Commercial and 18th site and the Knight and 15th site!

HERE IS THE CITY COUNCIL AGENDA  ITEM 1:   https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/spec20211005ag.htm

Referral Report – Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas – Amendments to the C-2, C-2B, C-2C and C-2C1 Zones and Creation of New Rental Zones for Use in Future Rezoning Applications in Surrounding Low Density Areas Under the Secured Rental Policy

Referral to Public Hearing – no speaker requests at this time.

__________________________________________________________

#2

CCAN member Chris Bungay has created a Facebook page about the proposed social housing development at Knight and King Edward with the hope of having a more open process and with neighbourhood engagement.  The following is from Chris: 

Hello, I created a Facebook group to bring community awareness to the proposed housing development at Knight and King Edward.  The group is brand new and needs support and members!  Could you kindly pass this email along to the CCAN members with the link for the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/389900822699126         Thanks so much, Chris

______________________________________________________________

#3

A new Vancouver civic political group has been formed.  This group is headed by Councillor Hardwick. Following is the News Release about this    https://jaksview3.wordpress.com/2021/09/29/a-new-team-for-vancouver/

Part of the News Release lays out the board members and it says: Besides Hardwick, the founding board of TEAM for a Livable Vancouver Association includes award-winning filmmaker David Fine, information technology consultant and SFU student Sean Nardi, retired educator Sal Robinson, and architect David Wong.

There is also an article about this in the Vancouver Sun Oct 1 2021 by CHERYL CHAN

https://vancouversun.com/news/vancouver-councillor-colleen-hardwick-joins-new-municipal-party

Hope you find all this information of interest.

Take Care

Grace from CCAN     

https://ccan2013.wordpress.com/

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Citywide rental rezoning policy has huge implications, but final staff report/recommendations could go to Council next week before public input

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

Above: This map by City of Vancouver only roughly shows areas affected by the proposed Streaming Rental program. City staff positioning to make their recommendations to City Council for approval even before the public input period and clarifications have even ended.  

CityHallWatch wrote previously about a crucial public survey regarding the proposed “Streaming Rental” program (see “Streaming Rental Survey on rental rezoning policy citywide, affecting RS, RT and C zones, with 6 storeys on arterials, 4-5 storeys off arterials”. City of Vancouver staff have previously advised members of the public that a planning staff report would be going to City Council in July to seek Council direction to proceed based on an update. The only remaining Council meetings in July are next week, on July 20 and 21. The Council agenda for those dates has yet to be posted online at the time this post (July 12).

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Staff propose a ‘Policy to Ignore Policy,’ giving staff more power and discretion in massaging early development enquiries. Council decision July 7

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

An innocuously-titled paper, “Policy Enquiry Process: Approach and Criteria,” goes to Vancouver City Council committee meeting on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

However, its implications are huge. People who have closely observed how planning staff already work so closely with developers will find this effort by staff to claim more power is of big concern.

Our first hope would be for staff to withdraw the report at this time. Second best would be for Council not to approve the recommendations

Once you read the 19-page document (PDF link here) authored by Theresa O’Donnell, Vancouver’s new chief planner since April, you may agree it is a “Policy to Ignore Policy” as described by the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (see CVN letter here): 

It suggests allowing spot rezoning proposals to go forward for consideration even if they do not conform to any policy that would allow it. This would…

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Letter to Mayor and Council RE:CD-1 Rezoning: 1405 East 15th Avenue and 3047-3071 Maddams Street, Public Hearing July 6, 2021

We are residents and business owners from Cedar Cottage. We are the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) with 83 members.

We are opposed to this rezoning as presented through the “Affordable Housing Policy” (AHC Policy).  We ask that you not approve it based on our objections as we state below.

The staff report to Council for this project says, on page 4:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20210608/documents/rr5.pdf

Rezoning applications considered under the AHC Policy must meet a number of criteria such as providing 100% of the residential floor area as secured rental housing, fitting contextually with neighbouring development and meeting location requirements. The subject site is located on an arterial and within 500 m of a local shopping area, where six-storeys buildings may be considered under the AHC Policy.

This project is not on an arterial. There is a lane and City easement between this proposal and the arterial.  All development over the easement is disallowed since 1963 into perpetuity. Attached is the easement document from Land Title that shows this.

The block faces for this project are on East 15th Avenue and Maddams Street, NOT the arterial.  The City says that if a lot faces off an arterial, within100 m from an arterial, then it can only at most be built to 4 storeys. Following is the link to the AHC Policy, see page 2:   https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/bulletin/policy-rezoning-affordable-housing-choices.pdf 

Below is a excerpt including the City’s definition of a block face:

The other issue is the fact that here are already 2 of these projects within 10 blocks of each other on ANY arterial.  That’s the City policy and it says that only two can be built to maintain neighbourhood character and this project will make three. 

Below, A & B, explain what our issues are with this project under AHC Policy.

A.   Following is the Council Report that states the ‘2 within a 10 block rule’ on any arterial, NOT just on the same arterial: http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20121003/documents/ptec20121003min.pdf

The Council Report on housing affordability says (on page 5 of 13):

Action 1: Implement an Interim Rezoning Policy that increases affordable housing choices in Vancouver’s neighbourhoods

• The maximum number of affordable housing rezoning applications be 20, and limited to 2 within ten blocks on any arterial, to maintain neighbourhood character;

Ø  There are already 2 of these types of projects within 10 block of each other on arterials and also within a 10 block radius.  There is one across the street from this proposal and a second one 7 blocks from the proposal; following are the addresses to the projects already built:

Ø  3120 to 3184 Knight

Ø  3365 Commercial Drive and 1695 to 1773 East 18th Avenue

B.  The fact is that in the Council report where the last one of these projects was built in our area just off an arterial, that report relied on the point that there would be no more of these in a 10 block radius.  If the City is going to use that reasoning for that project then the same reasoning should be used for this new project.  Again, this project will make too many of these projects in an area. Attached is a picture showing the 2 within a 10 block radius. Following explains this point:

The City has already validated the ‘2 within a 10 block radius rule’ because they used it with the Rezoning at 3560-3570 Hull Street which is off an arterial and referred to the rezoning at Commercial Drive & East 18th Avenue as the second project. Following is the link to that report for the Public Hearing of July 10, 2018 which shows this, please read page 5:    https://council.vancouver.ca/20180619/documents/p2.pdf

A maximum of 20 applications are permitted under this policy, and no more than two projects within 10 blocks along an arterial street. This is the second rezoning application within a 10-block radius (the first one approved was at 18th Avenue and Commercial Drive), thereby neutralizing this portion of Commercial Drive and the Victoria Diversion from future AHC applications. 

CCAN feels that the Corporate Policy AE-028-01, Code of Conduct of Feb 9 2021 is not being followed, especially we are relying on the fact that staff must follow the established policies. Following is the code link and what it says staff must do:   https://policy.vancouver.ca/AE02801.pdf

7.3   Staff are expected to:       • Give effect to the lawful policies, decisions and practices of Council, whether or not the staff member agrees with or approves of them

Page 7 of the Council Report says staff have analyzed the proposal against the RT-2 District Schedule.  We assert that the intent with development in this area to analyze the effect on adjacent properties and the character of the area.  This development is in fact a 7 storey building in an area of single family houses and therefore the massing and density is not compatible with the neighbourhood.

This proposal will create extreme shadowing on the houses to the north of the proposal.  If an amenity area is put on the roof this will create overlook to the houses and a lot of noise given there will be 82 units using this space.

Further, all the affordable housing buildings built in this area over the last few years have had vacancy signs up ever since they were built.  This shows us that too many units are being built in our area for the demand.

Thank you for considering our input. 

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1405 East 15th Avenue and 3047-3071 Maddams Street

PUBLIC HEARING:

·      JULY 6, 2021, Tuesday

·      6:00 pm

·      convened by electronic means:

to participate in the Public Hearing process, you can register to speak beginning at 8:30am on June 25 until 5:00pm on the day of the Public Hearing

  • OR, call: 604-829-4238
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Vancouver, East King Edward Avenue at Knight Street – Supportive Housing

The proposal for the site at 1406 and 1410 E King Edward Ave is in its preliminary stage and BC Housing is accepting public feedback before submitting a formal rezoning application to the City. If you would like to submit your feedback to BC, you may visit their website here. There is also dedicated Community Liaison available whom you can contact by emailing communityliaison@bchousing.org or calling 604-829-9321.

__________________________________________

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90 homes for the homeless proposed for King Edward Avenue and Knight Street corner

The East Vancouver supportive housing project will be located on the vacant lot at the southeast corner of the intersection of Knight Street and King Edward, immediately adjacent to Kingcrest Park to the south and across from King Edward Village to the north.

Link to original story

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Developer changes topography, creates 13-foot drop in elevation between adjacent properties. City shrugs, says OK.

Dear Mayor and City Councilors

We are the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN), we are 81 strong. We are sending this as an open letter which we will post to the CCAN website.

A number of our members have alerted us to the fact that the developer Cressey, when relocating a “heritage” house from 3365 Commercial Drive to 1705 East 18th Avenue, created a severe drop in elevation between a neighbouring property and this relocated house. They did this in order to convert what was a basement in the original house into an additional storey.

When the City Planner, Berg Balantzyan saw what the developer had done he simply rubber-stamped it.  How is it possible that our very well educated, highly paid Planners in the Vancouver Planning Department can possibly think that creating a 13-foot drop in elevation between adjacent properties is acceptable, much less ‘good planning’? This is what happened at 1705 East 18th Avenue, The Conrad project at Commercial Drive and East 18th Avenue.

Are citizens to expect from now on that developers will be permitted to dig down, creating huge drops in elevation with neighbouring properties, so they can add extra storeys that are not part of the original rezoning? We are very concerned about the way the City of Vancouver Planning Department conducts itself.

It was alarming enough to learn that The Director of Planning, unbeknownst to citizens, makes changes to developments on the fly under the cover of “discretion”. Now we find that developers make major changes to what was originally approved, and planners just approve them, regardless of the impact on neighbours.

The Planning Department does not follow its own guidelines, bulletins, policies or Community Plans when reviewing development plans.  Why is that; do they feel they know better than the approved policies of City Council?

Why is the Vancouver Planning Department so protective of their development documents? 

Why does a property owner who is adversely affected by a new development have to pay hundreds of dollars through an FOI and then only receive a bit of information about changes in the development post public hearing? 

Why does this Mayor and City Council think so many citizens have lost confidence in the Vancouver Planning Department?  Could the reason be that the Vancouver Planning Department changes developments after the public hearing and behind doors closed to public scrutiny?  Are there not enough checks and balances done during the rezoning / development permit process?

As you can see, we have many unanswered questions and frustrations about how the Vancouver Planning Department conducts itself.

We members of CCAN, believe there is a need for change in the way the Vancouver Planning Department is run.  We request that there be a Development and Planning Ombudsman’s office dedicated to giving non-development industry citizens an objective ear to listen to and help resolve their concerns about developments. Dealing directly with the same department that is making these controversial development decisions is futile, because they simply defend whatever they do. 

In the meantime, the owner of the property next to this project, a CCAN member, needs some resolution from you to this unsightly, unsafe sheer 13-foot drop in elevation the City has allowed the developer to create beside her property. If you doubt that this drop is unsafe, we can provide pictures from Saturday of children playing on the top of this retaining wall, running back and forth, with no railing, over a 13 foot drop to concrete below.

Yours truly,
Mr. B. Straten, Secretary
On behalf of CCAN members (Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours)

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Thoughts on the Broadway Line and other developments

With respect to the NO MEGATOWERS AT SAFEWAY campaign and petition..

The information below might point to a couple of different angles of attack and perhaps some useful content for further posters, leafleting or press releases. 

Your petition highlights one of the major problems in the symbiotic relationship between developers and politicians. You note:

 “While we support increased density near a transit hub, …..”

Is this not the driving force behind the Broadway extension? The disruption to hundreds (or thousands?) of small businesses along the route will be catastrophic, but I guess they don’t count despite the lip service paid to them at voting time. 

This proposed line is largely in aid of carrying thousands of students into the maw of the great UBC MBA sausage machine – a once venerable institution that I attended in the sixties. In their future lives, if the worst trauma students encounter is waiting in line for a bus, they should be grateful.

If our frightfully resilient late capitalist society keeps rolling along as is, perhaps building affordable housing for students and the surrounding community on and around that gigantic campus might work better. They can then walk to school, uphill both ways as I did. 

Or, why not create alternative campuses for various disciplines (which SFU has done on a smaller scale) and spread out the population so you don’t have a good number of the 66,000 students heading in the same direction at the same time? Has the learned President of UBC or the politicians or city planners even considered this?

Yes, that would be quite an undertaking, but since the current $2.83 billion tax-payer funded price-tag for the line is sure to more than double (any bets?), why not give this idea a look? I can only guess that if it was considered, it was sniffed at because similar profits to those available under the current plan would not materialize.

There are unsettling parallels with experiences seen on the Canada Line:

The consortium which won the contract for the Broadway line with a $1.728 billion bid is led by a Spanish infrastructure giant and an Italian tunneling company. Their highly educated and trained upper management (and their shareholders) will do very well in running the show with, once again, a handy supply of foreign workers being paid far less than our home-grown men and women.

It is a PPPartnership, where we, the Public will absorb any over-runs and/or shortfalls while they, the Private consortium is guaranteed its profits. 

Or, why not vote in politicians who will listen? I suppose if you think like me that Kennedy Stewart is actually Gregor Robertson in a rubber mask (like in Mission Impossible), that won’t help much either. I’ll save for another time the issue of the co-optation of the city planning department by the developers. 

As many CCAN members are aware from such past fights, once conceived of, and the math done to show how much money is to be made, the projects under discussion have become a fait accompli that all the dog and pony shows of public input can never change – the earlier Grandview Woodlands Citizens Assembly recommendations being a case in point.

Jane Jacobs successfully led a similar battle in New York where her group took on Robert Moses who controlled Long Island State Park Commission, the New York State Council of Parks, the Jones Beach State Park Authority, the Bethpage State Park Authority, the New York City Park Department, the Triborough Bridge Authority and the Marine Parkway Authority, an institutional odd assortment but for lack of serious political opposition becoming a fiefdom from which he destroyed neighbourhoods and livelihoods in aid of building highways through them. 

When she de-camped to Toronto in 1968 with her two draft-aged sons, daughter and husband (her family opposed the Vietnam War) she joined a battle there to stop the Spadina Expressway and they succeeded in saving the neighbourhoods slated for destruction. Those little metal bastards (automobiles) drove the short-sighted reactionary thinking of the day. We have a relatively decent transit system worth protecting and expanding. Let us imagine and fight for means of doing so which don’t attack the very neighbourhoods they were built to serve.

Could we then all be invested in a vibrant, affordable, community life, lived in attractive neighbourhoods where some of your grandparents raised up the homes you still live in? Perhaps – if our current transit and urban planning gurus had enough vision to facilitate growth with that in mind rather than developers’ profits.

So, keep up the good fight. The alternative is to silently acquiesce to the predations of the developer class and their political minions – the lot of them greedy, short-sighted Philistines and hacks who see neighbourhoods simply as zones to be exploited and not living entities peopled by the very citizens they were elected to represent. 

In the meantime stay safe and well,

Brian Waite CCAN

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Urban Design Panel Zoom Meeting 4:00 pm, Oct 28 / 2020

A very important Zoom meeting through the City will be held tomorrow at 4:00 pm, Oct 28 / 20 with the UDP (Urban Design Panel). 

Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability
Urban Design Division

URBAN DESIGN PANEL AGENDA
Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Time: 04:00 pm
Place:
WebEx (Online Meeting)

04:00 pm Address: 1405 E 15th Avenue and 3071-3047 Maddams Street
Permit No.: RZ-2020-00029
Description: To develop a 6-storey residential building with 79 secured market rental
units over one level of underground parking consisting of 24 vehicle spaces and 135 bicycle spaces.
The maximum building height is 20.8 m (68.2 ft.), the total floor area is 4,557 sq. m (49,049 sq. ft.), and the floor space ratio (FSR) is 2.58. This application is being considered under the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy.
Zoning: CD-1
Application Status: Rezoning Application
Review: First
Architect: Stuart Howard Architects
Staff: Carly Rosenblat & Patrick Chan

05:15 pm Address: 1780 E Broadway
Permit No.: RZ-2019-00040
Description: To develop the site with three residential towers, ranging in height from
26 to 31 storeys with retail at grade that includes a large format grocery store. Additionally, the proposal includes a childcare facility and a public plaza running parallel to the SkyTrain station. The proposal has a total of 236 strata units and 452 rental units. The total (FSR) floor area is approximately 59,297 sq. m (638,273 sq. ft.). This application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.
Zoning: C-3A to CD-1 Application Status: Rezoning Application Review:
First Architect: Perkins + Will Architects
Staff: Kent MacDougall & Carl Stanford

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Safeway site 3 tower rezoning review at November 4, 2019 GWAC meeting

http://www.gwac.ca/news/safeway-site-3-tower-rezoning-review-at-november-4-2019-gwac-meeting
Learn more about the proposal to put three towers on the site of the Safeway at 1780 East Broadway.
The GWAC meeting on Monday, November 4th at 7pm (Britannia, Learning Resource Centre) will examine this rezoning application in much detail. Guest speakers will provide an overview of the application.
The City of Vancouver received this application on June 12, 2019; it was recently made public. The tallest of the three proposed towers is 102.1metres (335 feet) in height.
Check back for further details on the meeting.
The City’s rezoning application webpage contains further links on the proposal: 
http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1780ebroadway/index.htm
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Broadway and Commercial Safeway Site Rezoning

The City of Vancouver has received an application to rezone 1780 East Broadway from C-3A (Commercial) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal consists of a mixed-use development with residential (including strata, rental and social housing units), retail, office, a childcare facility, and a new public plaza. https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1780ebroadway/index.htm

The proposal includes:

• commercial retail space at grade including a large format grocery store;
• three residential towers, ranging in height from 24 to 30 storeys above the retail plinth;
• a childcare facility;
• a public plaza running parallel to the SkyTrain station; and
• a total floor area of approximately 57,673 sq. m (620,784 sq. ft.).

This application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.

You can provide comments on this rezoning application by filling out the City’s online feedback form

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My thoughts on the “Modular Homes” Issue

I decided to attend a community meeting last week to get more information on the City’s plan to put Modular Homes on vacant lots throughout the city to house the homeless. The particular one in question was near the Nanaimo Skytrain station. The meeting was organized by NEIGHBOURS AROUND THE NANAIMO STATION (NANS) and attended by Councillor Jean Swanson.  Members of the community were pleased to have a member of City Council attend and listen to their concerns, even though she did not see eye to eye with them.

With one exception, the attendees who spoke all expressed opposition to the plan, fearing that it would bring crime into the area. Councillor Swanson used anecdotal stories of two men, one in hospital after an operation who was not able to leave because he had no permanent home. The other was a man supposedly suffering from pneumonia in a wet sleeping bag in Oppenheimer Park. This struck me as a blatant appeal to emotion rather than a coherent argument. SRO hotel rooms with warm, dry beds were made available to the Park campers this summer, many just did not like that option, choosing to hold out for something better, or perhaps they like camping.  One speaker said that homeless people need more serious intervention, such as life training skill programs. Another sitting near the front turned to the attendees and pointed his finger shouting SHAME, SHAME!

Despite one speaker citing statistics of high numbers of police calls in other modular projects, Councillor Swanson insisted that most of those calls were not actual police incidents, but I don’t know what she meant by that. Councillor Swanson seemed intent on painting a picture of the homeless simply as harmless people in dire need, with no regard to risk assessment.  It appeared Councillor Swanson’s goal was to shame people into supporting the plan, which I found condescending.

Councillor Swanson also quoted some figures, between 2500 and 4000 homeless people currently in the city, and a cost of $150,000 per unit for the modular homes. Doing some quick math, if the building has 50 units, which is typical, that means it will cost the taxpayers $7.5 million to erect one of these.  Then there’s the ongoing cost of utilities, providing meals, and counselling, which would not be cheap. Let’s put the cost conservatively at $10 million, for one modular project, for 50 clients, with ¼ of that a yearly repeating cost.  But there are at least 2500 homeless, so multiply that $10 million times 50, that’s $500 million to house 2500 homeless people.

And what do we get for a half a billion dollars? The residents have no more life skills and no fewer personal problems than they had before, they’re just more comfortable. What incentive do they have to improve themselves with the City taking such good care of them? Is this a good use of taxpayer’s money?

What about the ordinary people working every day paying $1700 a month for studio suites not much better than modular houses, making their own meals and paying all their other bills?  Is this fair to them?

What is the message to people across Canada down on their luck? Come to Vancouver, pitch a tent in a park, stir up some trouble and you get a nice suite and two meals a day, what a deal!

And I don’t buy the glib dismissal of the safety issue. I have been watching the news lately about Oppenheimer Park. The problems there are stretching police resources to the limit, violent assaults, robberies, and recently, shootings. Those are the same people they want to bring into neighbourhoods.

I’m sorry Councillor Swanson but your rosy picture of the homeless population does not ring true.

I came to this meeting with an open mind, but I can’t support this whole idea. I think it is poorly thought out and a potential danger to communities.

Lee Chapelle

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Blockbuster Rezoning on Fraser Street

REZONING at 686-688 East 22nd Avenue, 3811-3891 Fraser Street and 679 East 23rd Avenue

This proposed development will result in five newer homes being demolished and sent to the landfill. Welcome to Vancouver, “The Greenest City”.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO OPPOSE THIS REZONING.  Following is the petition link:   

 

  • a total floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.28;  allowed 0.70 FSR
  • a building height of 21.5 m (71 ft.);  allowed 2 1/2 storeys
  • a total floor area of 9,813 sq. m (105,626 sq. ft.);

Concerns about this development are as follows:

  • access to public schools, daycares and other community amenities
  • affordable housing
  • space for local businesses
  • preservation of community character and diversity
  • safe and varied public spaces
  • building height
  • traffic
  • transit

Following links are for the Rezoning Application, the City Council report explaining the project, and the District Schedule that shows what is allowed in this City RT-2 zone.

https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/686e22ndave/index.htm

Click to access p4.pdf

Click to access rt-2.pdf

Tuesday July 9 5:30 PM  — Public Hearing at City Council 453 West 12th Avenue

HOW YOU CAN HELP: register to speak in advance of the hearing by emailing publichearing@vancouver.ca or phoning 604-829-4238, starting on June 28, to have the most impact.

Attend the hearing on July 9 (without registering to speak) to support us. 

Register to speak at the hearing in person on July 9 between 5:30 and 6 PM.

Email your comments to publichearing@vancouver.ca

Sign our petition.

Please email us at fraserstreetneighbourhood@gmail.com if you plan to attend the hearing.

 

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New Community Group for Fraser Street Neighbourhood

Fraser Street Neighbourhood Committee

We are a coalition of residents of the Fraser Street neighbourhood who care about the development of Fraser Street between 16th and 41st Avenues.

Our goal is a Fraser Street Plan.

We are asking the city to pause new developments along Fraser Street to allow for consultation with community members and the development of a neighbourhood plan.

Development in our community must be thoughtful and responsive to the needs of residents, including affordable housing, space for local businesses, preservation of community character and diversity, safe and varied public spaces, and access to public schools, daycares and other community amenities.

What can you do?

We would love to hear from you about your vision for the future of the Fraser Street Neighbourhood!

  1. Email us at FraserStreetNeighbourhood@gmail.com to share your thoughts and concerns.
  2. Send us an email to sign up for our email list and receive updates on our activities and events. We will use this list to let you know when there are important in person or online opportunities to give your opinion on development proposals and other plans.

Check out our Google Map showing the development proposals in our neighbourhood:

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Bizarre PR

Eye on Norquay

On 20 May 2022, toward end of day on the Friday before the Victoria Day long weekend, Kenneth Chan of Daily Hive posted this peculiar item about the potential for a rapid dumping of three very tall jammed-together towers right next to the Nanaimo SkyTrain station:

Dense, transit-oriented housing finally eyed for Nanaimo SkyTrain station
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/skytrain-nanaimo-station-transit-oriented-development-proposal

Far into the posting, the “news” finally emerges:

The entities behind the proposal are not known at this time, but the concept
is in the early stages of being considered by City of Vancouver staff through
the pre-application enquiry process.

Somehow, this circumstance is supposed to amount to “an idea gaining momentum” – an idea that ought to “trigger” something.

What is going on here?

One question explodes into a lot more questions …

Is a land speculator pressuring the City of Vancouver for a density bailout?

Who is planting this bizarre story about…

View original post 540 more words

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Opinion: The Future of Our Vancouver. Let’s Use Change to *Nurture* Neighbourhoods (regarding upcoming Broadway Plan, Vancouver Plan, Jericho Lands, etc.)

CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

Above: A rendering of the “massing” being proposed at the Jericho Lands development.

(Below is an opinion piece submitted to CityHallWatch.)

The Future of Our Vancouver. Let’s Use Change to Nurture Neighbourhoods
by John Geddes

I care deeply about our city. I believe we can do better than the current Vancouver Plan, the Broadway Plan, and the Jericho Development Proposal by predicating the evolution of our city with a focus on people and their connections to one another.

Let’s build people-centred housing rather than replicating Metrotown. The distinctive character of our neighbourhoods is an asset too valuable to throw away.

This is my response to the recent opinion piece by Brent Toderian (Vancouver Sun): “New Broadway plan badly needed to tackle climate and housing crises”.

I agree with Mr. Toderian that we must do things differently. I also agree that a good plan must…

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