The following open letter was sent to The City December 9, 2013 and read to everyone in attendance at the December 15th CCAN meeting at St Mark’s Church.
——– Original Message ——–
|Subject:||Re-zoning proposal for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695, 1707, 1739 & 1775 East 18th Avenue|
|Date:||Mon, 9 Dec 2013 02:30:50 -0800|
|To:||Kent Munro Kent.Munro@vancouver.ca|
|CC:||Yardley McNeill, Rezoning Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604.873.7582|
Dear Mr. Munro,
Re: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695, 1707, 1739 and 1775 East 18th Avenue proposed re-zoning
We are sending this as an open letter which we will post to the CCAN website.
Thank you again for taking the time to listen to our concerns. We appreciate that you are very busy and that you are responsible for many projects. We are therefore grateful for your prompt and thoughtful responses to our correspondence.
As you know, the future of Cedar Cottage is very important to the members of the community group we have formed to provide a unified voice for neighbourhood residents. We are passionate about preserving the livability and character of our neighbourhood.
We agree that there is a need for affordable rental housing. We hope that through collaboration with the City we will see the construction of housing that respects the needs of our community while providing affordable housing for families that is more innovative and suitable for our neighbourhood than the current proposed design.
While it is encouraging that projects are now being brought to Open Houses at the Inquiry stage, the members of our group still feel excluded from meaningful discourse about our neighbourhood and feel this must change.
We are writing in the hope that you will provide us with an update on what you envision for these properties. As we have noted, we feel this proposal is completely out of character with the neighbourhood. 3365 Commercial Drive is on a secondary arterial; the development form here should be stacked townhouses. To the west, north and south, small houses or duplexes, traditional row houses, or row houses with a courtyard. No building on the site should be more than 3 storeys (30 feet) in height, but above all the heights must transition to neighboring properties. These forms would integrate best with the surrounding area of two storey buildings.
We do not support the construction of commercial units at this location. This site is in a residential zone on a secondary arterial that is not designed for large delivery trucks which would severely impact the quiet enjoyment of the areas residents. This is not a mixed use area.
We also do not support the reduction in off-street parking requirements. This would exacerbate already severe traffic and parking problems resulting from the two churches in the same block as the site. The density should be between 0.6 and 0.95 FSR depending on building type and only if adequate off-street parking is provided.
We believe an assembly of five lots is too much and strays too far from the RS-2 Guidelines which says, Maintaining and enhancing the physical and social character of these older residential areas is considered an important goal. We strongly agree.
The City lot at 1739 East 18th should remain with the natural landscaping and creek which provides an important habitat for birds and other animals. We would also like to see the City lot kept as a mini-park with the creek left open to the air. This is one of Vancouvers historic streams and to our knowledge has never been completely covered.
We hope you will visit and walk through the site to appreciate how special it is. It contains a beautiful grove of majestic Western Red Cedar and Cypress trees and, as noted, has one of the few remaining still open ancient streams in the City. All these precious features should be preserved and represent much more than existing vegetation and drainage problems.
This site must be left with 60% of the site undeveloped and green. Urban design widths of setbacks from surrounding properties must be in line with the current zoning so that daylight is maintained on the surrounding properties.
In addition, we do not believe that this rezoning policy is a good fit with the Kensington Cedar-Cottage Community Vision. More detailed planning with the community is required as specified in the Vision.
Finally, in our view this project violates the terms of the IRP because it removes existing rental housing and replaces it with less affordable housing. As market rental, this project will be unaffordable not only for lower income or people with special needs, but for the average working person. A $1600/month one bedroom apartment which would be allowed under this plan would consume more than 30% of the income of a person earning $30 an hour or $5000 per month. It would be out of reach for anyone earning $25 an hour or less, which is most renters. There is no real affordability built into this project and therefore should not be considered under the IRP.
Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to provide our input.
Louise Garvin, Secretary
On behalf of the members of CCAN