CCAN sent the following open letter to The City Planning Dept and Mayor and Council. If you oppose this project as proposed then you can contact the City using the following email links. Feel free to use points from our letter below.
Dear Ms. Zeng
RE: Rezoning of 3365 Commercial Drive, 1695, 1707, 1739, & 1775 East 18th Avenue
We are sending this as an open letter which we will post to the CCAN website.
We are a newly formed and energetic community group from the Cedar Cottage area of the City. We are 40 strong and growing fast. We have named our group “Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours”, or CCAN and may join the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods group in the future.
CCAN met on October 26 to discuss the proposed rezoning of 3365 Commercial Drive. Our group has a number of serious concerns about the proposal which are listed below:
- A reduction of the parking requirements called for by the project will create significant parking and traffic problems for the area. There is already a great deal of traffic on E 18th due to the two churches located close to the intersection and because it is a heavily used connector from Commercial Drive to Knight Street. This project will only exacerbate this problem.
- The site is too large for the location; an assembly of 5 lots is too much. We also believe that an assembly of this size violates the applicable City policy.
- The 11,595 sq foot commercial space is too large and out of character for the location. Commercial use here will disrupt the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood. This was not envisioned in our Community Vision Plan as this is a residential area.
- The density is too high. As well, the project would require the removal of many old trees and destroy a green space which is both a landmark and a valuable neighbourhood asset.
- We have absorbed much new construction in the area in the last few years; this additional extra density will create a strain on services such as schools, the Community Centre and public transit.
- A six storey building is too tall and out of character for the neighbourhood. Even a four storey building is not appropriate on East 18th. We were anticipating that any development for this corner would consist of affordable family housing of small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses and courtyard row houses.
- The building design is not innovative and is out of character for this location which has pre-1940 single family homes, modern row-houses and low-rise condos nearby.
- The project will not provide affordable housing for families.
- Any developers in this area should pay DCLs so that amenities can flow back to benefit the neighbourhood.
- The City lot at 1739 E 18th, which has a small creek on it, should be retained for an oasis of nature rather than be developed. The creek follows through on to the 3365 Commercial lot.
- We are concerned about the loss of the well on the lot at 3365 Commercial Drive.
- We feel strongly that the large trees on Commercial Drive at E 18th must be preserved.
- We believe it is inappropriate to remove the already affordable rental housing on these lots to build much smaller units with no guarantee that they will be as affordable as the current housing.
- The issue of affordability was brought up by several members of the group. It was mentioned at the Open House that the units would rent at market rates. It is our view that such a project must demonstrate affordability beyond simply that which is theoretically achieved through supply and demand. The units should be rented below market prices.
On a general note, we respectfully request that in future CCAN representatives be permitted to participate when the City meets with developers to discuss rezonings in our neighbourhood. If we are able to participate at the beginning of the process, the community will be able to provide its input early so that we can work together and take a more collaborative approach with the City and developers. This more open process will, we believe, help developers and the City save time and resources. We appreciate this represents a significant change, but we believe our suggestion would help ensure that City Planning takes a more collaborative direction.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you about our concerns.
Louise Garvin, Secretary
On behalf of the members of CCAN