Some East Vancouver residents are cautioning against precedents that may be set by a development in their neighbourhood. Lee Chapelle, speaking for the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours, said the changes might lead to intrusions into single-family-dwelling districts across the city.
Chapelle’s group is opposing a proposed rental-apartment complex comprising a six-storey building on Commercial Drive with a three-and-a-half-storey wing on East 18th Avenue.
He said city guidelines regarding rental projects on arterial roads like Commercial don’t include single-family neighbourhoods among areas where additional density may be considered.
Chapelle also explained that the policy on developments within one-and-a-half blocks of an arterial, which in this case is the East 18th Avenue block, allows only ground-oriented forms of up to 3.5 storeys, such as stacked townhouses, but not apartment buildings.
“This is a precedent-setting move to encroach into single-family dwellings,” Chapelle told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
Council has referred the project for a public hearing on May 24.
In a report to council, city staff wrote that current policies permit the kind of development proposed by the Cressey Development Group.
Cressey, which did not make a spokesperson available for an interview before deadline, intends to build 110 rental units.
The company will also move a heritage home to a different location on the site and convert it into two strata housing units. The plan includes a new building with two strata homes next to the restored heritage house.
The development is planned for a 0.3-hectare plot of land comprising five lots. One of these is owned by the city.
“The City has entered into an agreement with the applicant to sell the lot, but such purchase and sale is conditional on Council’s unfettered consideration and approval in principle of the land use matters reflected in this rezoning application,” the staff report said.
Chapelle’s organization prefers a scaled-down development of townhouses. They also would like the city to use its lot for a park.
Chapelle doubts they can sway a majority of councillors during the public hearing: “No housing project of any type that’s made it as far as a public hearing has ever been rejected.”