Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councilors’ George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, Adriane Carr, Melissa De Genova, Heather Deal, Kerry Jang, Raymond Louie, Geoff Meggs, Andrea Reimer, Tim Stevenson
RE: Vacant City Lot 2, Block A, Plan VAP1795, District Lot 753 New Westminster
This letter is written on behalf of the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN).
A 12 March 2015 rezoning application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue seeks CD-1 approval for 80,000 square feet of secured rental market housing on five consolidated parcels in an area presently zoned RS-2.
Addresses for the four developer owned or optioned parcels are: 3365 Commercial Drive; and 1707, 1775, and 1695 East 18th Avenue. It appears that the fifth City of Vancouver parcel at 1739 East 18th Avenue could be proposed for sale to the developer of the site. This parcel is addressed as 1739 East 18th (also known as 1733 East 18th) Avenue, PID 009908200, Assessment roll number 692242250000. [Legal description: Lot 2, Block A, Plan VAP1795, District Lot 753 New Westminster.] BC Assessment values this parcel at $665,000 in 2014, and at $800,000 in 2015.
We anticipate that a proposal to sell this lot may soon come before an in-camera meeting of Council. We ask that you withhold approval of this sale.
Our Kensington-Cedar Cottage Vision (p. 37) approved creation of small green mini-parks and green links. This particular City of Vancouver parcel would provide an exemplary space of this type. The terrain features a small stream that has continued to exist in an uncovered state. Trees on site include apple, cherry, hazelnut and Douglas fir, and the location provides a home for birds and other wildlife. To condemn this natural space to serve as a ramp into underground parking would be a travesty of the green claims made by the City of Vancouver.
Approved Vision Directions
21.1 Rowhouses, Four-and Sixplexes, Duplexes
More housing variety should be provided by rowhouses, four- and sixplexes, and duplexes, which have many features of single family but would cost less than a new house. Among the conditions that should be met for this new type of housing are:
- in defined areas, not just anywhere
- with design controls to be attractive and fit into the neighbourhood
- built in small projects rather than in large ones
- with small green mini-parks and green links
Support %: 64 / 15 / 21
The now proposed six- and four- storey block buildings were never supported in the visioning for RS zone by the Kensington-Cedar Cottage Vision. The approved direction for new building types is copied above, and includes a mini-park space which this city-owned lot could provide.
In 1983 a moratorium on apartment buildings in RS-2 was ended, provided that development would be small-scale and respect the character and diversity of existing development. Such development is to occur with small-scale apartments or townhouses, at densities common in RS-2 areas, using building designs which are complementary to neighbouring structures. The adjacent existing apartment building to the north is two storeys. To the south and west are single family houses. To the east is a two-storey building.
If the current development proposal were to respect what was envisioned when the moratorium on apartment construction in RS-2 was lifted, then the 3365 Commercial Drive site could host an apartment building of appropriate small scale, and the parcels at 1707 and 1775 East 18th could host separate townhouses. This approach would make it possible for the existing green space at 1739 East 18th to benefit the local area as a mini-park. The disposition-for-cash alternative would do nothing except take value out of a neighborhood that in recent years has already accommodated considerably more than its proportionate share of new rental density.
To allow a third secured market rental project within a single ten-block area would further burden existing amenity and unfairly target a single specific local area. The STIR project Porter lies one block south of the site in question, and approved IRP at Knight and East 15th lies nine blocks west.
We further note that of the five IRP proposals to come forward so far, this would be the THIRD to land in the same Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighborhood. The City of Vancouver turned down ONE such project in Dunbar. We hope that KCC (a twin with Dunbar in the visioning process) might enjoy at least a fraction of the respect that has been shown to the Dunbar area.
In light of the foregoing considerations, we request that you vote AGAINST the sale of City of Vancouver land for the purposes of facilitating an underground parking ramp.