Investigating DCL Waivers

Hi All CCAN members

Season’s Greetings and may 2017 bring you health and happiness.

Global News reported this EXCLUSIVE, City of Vancouver says it mistakenly gave $1.5M break to real estate developer. Here is the link to that article: http://globalnews.ca/news/3099233/exclusive-city-of-vancouver-says-it-mistakenly-gave-1-5m-tax-break-to-real-estate-developer/

Based on the above information a motion was put forward at the Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 Investigating DCL Waivers.

This motion says that 30 projects that have received DCL waivers since 2009 will be reviewed to see if they were entitled to receive the DCL waiver. Based on this information CCAN has asked the City to review the DCL waiver received for the project at 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695 to 1775 East 18th Avenue. CCAN has posted this request on our website as well as at the bottom of this letter.

Below are the minutes and a link to the City Council meeting which refers to the motion to investigate DCL waivers, http://council.vancouver.ca/20161213/documents/regu20161213min.pdf

  1. Investigating DCL Waivers

MOVED by Councillor Carr

SECONDED by Councillor Ball

WHEREAS

  1. City Council’s approval of the rezoning application for 1396 Richards Street at the Public Hearing of June 18, 2013, based on the Policy Report of May 6, 2016 presented to Council on May 15, 2013, required the payment of a Development Cost Levy (DCL) of $4,550,319 (Appendix G page 1 Public Benefits Summary), with no consideration of waiver of this DCL;
  2. The 2015 Annual Report on Development Cost Levies of May 20, 2016, presented to Council on May 31, 2016 notes in Appendix F, page 3 a 2014 DCL waiver of $1,558,753 for 1398 Richards, an address for which there was no specific staff Policy Report or Public Hearing or Council decision, although the address is geographically located on the same site as the rezoning application for 1396 Richards Street;
  3. In an email to Council dated November 30, 2016, the City Manager stated that Onni Group, the developer for this site, agreed to pay the city the DCL, and staff are reviewing how this project received the DCL waiver and reviewing each of the 30 projects that have received DCL waivers since 2009 to ensure this didn’t happen with other projects.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct staff to include in its public report to Council on 1396/1398 Richards and the 30 projects that have received DCL waivers since 2009:

  1. How the address of 1398 Richards came to be used in the 2015 Annual Report on Development Cost Levies, as opposed to the address of 1396 Richards which was the address for the rezoning application and Public Hearing.
  2. Whether there are any other address changes relevant to DCL waivers.
  3. Whether the City provides discretionary authority to any City Staff to overturn a Council decision regarding payment vs. waivers of DCLs and if so:
  • Which City staff have this discretionary authority.
  • Since when.
  • Under what legal authority.
  • Under what specific circumstances or with what limits, if any.

 

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY (Vote No. 01634)

 

—————–LETTER SENT TO CITY HALL FROM CCAN————–

RE: DCL Waiver for the project at 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695 to 1775 East 18th Avenue

The project at Commercial Drive and East 18th qualified for DCL waivers because it is to provide 100% dedicated rental housing.  The problem is, this project also contains strata units.  We are questioning if the project should have received the DCL waivers when it also contains strata units.

The Council Report shows strata units in the project.  The rezoning application website Project Statistics shows strata units.

There was a Public Hearing on June 23, 2016 for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695 to 1775 East 18th Avenue.   This project received a waiver on the DCL based on the fact that the project is to provide a public benefit of for profit ‘affordable’ rental housing.  However, when showing the FSR for this DCL waiver in the Council Report of April 11, 2016 staff uses the average FSR of the entire site, that being 2.40 FSR.  This averaged FSR includes strata units. This 2.40 FSR is shown in Appendix G on page 1 of 1 of the April 11/16 report.  These strata units are mentioned in this Appendix G page 1 of 1 as (**DCL charged on new strata floor area only (299.3 m²).

The Project Statistics show two portions of the site, the rental part at 2.70 FSR and the heritage and additional two strata units part at .96 FSR.   The 299.3 m² strata units are mentioned in the Fee Simple section of the Project Statistics as 2 three bedroom units (3222 sq ft).

Another thing that makes us think that the DCL waiver should not have been allowed is the fact that some underground parking for the project is under the strata units. The only way to enter these parking stalls is through the rental portion of the site. The two parts of this project, the rental part and the two additional strata buildings at the back of the heritage house part, are integrated through the underground parking.  This is another reason to see the strata units as an integral part of the entire project.  There is no back lane on this project.

In the Development Cost Levy By-law at, 3.1A, for a Waiver for for-profit-affordable housing, it says no dwelling units are to be strata units when receiving a DCL waiver.

Thank you for considering our concerns.

References:

Here is the link to the April 11, 2016 Council Report showing Appendix G page 1 of 1: http://council.vancouver.ca/20160419/documents/p4.pdf

Here is the link to the rezoning application website, showing the Project Statistics with 2 three bedroom strata units (3222 sq ft):  http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/3365commercial/documents/projectstats_rev2.pdf

Here is the link to the Development Cost Levy By-law. No. 9755: http://bylaws.vancouver.ca/9755c.PDF

On behalf of the members of CCAN (Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours)

 

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About leechap

A Community Sympathiser
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