Eye on Norquay

Looking Out for East Vancouver

      Monitors what is happening in the Norquay area of East Vancouver
      Provides a forum for residents to communicate
      Documents how city officials implement CityPlan in Vancouver’s second “neighbourhood centre”

The interests of speculators, a developer-funded City Council, and compromised city planners may go against what renters and homeowners want to see happen in their neighborhood. Bad planning can contribute to damage of organic social fabric, loss of affordable rental housing, needless manufacture of unoccupied investment condos, skyrocketing property taxes, artificially accelerated rates of development, more people crowded into the same unimproved public space, aggravation of problems with parking and vehicle traffic, loss of views, poor quality in design, and severe shadow impacts. What is happening to Norquay calls for continuing independent community-based review. Please keep coming back to Eye on Norquay to stay up to date on news and to share your perspective.

→   See Resources in right sidebar learn more about Norquay and city planning in Vancouver

[ Eye on Norquay complements the coverage of 2007-2008 provided by predecessor Norquay Neighbours ]

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Written by eyeonnorquay

14 February 2011 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Open House Reportback

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Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Planning

 
The Vancouver Plan is here. The first two Rapid Transit Areas (RTAs) and their surroundings are now being planned in East Vancouver around the Rupert and Renfrew SkyTrain Stations. This planning process will be coming to an area even closer to Norquay in the future whenever the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue Transit Areas are planned.

Public consultation opportunities for Rupert/Renfrew have been announced and can be seen here:

https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2023/01/24/rupert-renfrew-station-area/

Eye on Norquay attended the first open house on 1 February 2023. Our main interest was in seeing how the planning process works for RTAs. Our responses are general and high-level, focusing on precedents that are being set here for future planning in other RTAs. If you are more immediately connected to the area, your responses may need to be more specific.

Below is background information on some of the general topics we identified, followed by our comment.

 
Boundaries
 

Background

The study area for the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan includes parts of the Renfrew-Collingwood and Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhoods. The study area generally falls within a 10-minute walking distance from the Rupert and Renfrew SkyTrain stations. Original borders for the study area: Gravely Avenue to the north, Boundary Road to the east, East 23rd Avenue to the south, and John Hendry Park (Trout Lake Park) to the west.

 

 
     Source: Map 1 (p. 8 of presentation to Council)
 

The study area was recently expanded to Napier/Parker Streets to the north and to East 27th Avenue in the southeast. The expanded area now includes the entire areas of the 3 proposed villages. The earlier boundaries cut through the middle of these villages. The part of the Nanaimo Rapid Transit Area that lies within the study area will not be planned at this time.

 

 
    
     Source: Map 2 under “Updates: Potential Change to Study Area Boundaries”
 

Comment

The boundaries of the Rapid Transit Areas and the Villages are generally consistent with those outlined in the Land Use Plan of the Vancouver Plan.

We support extending the boundaries of the study area to include the entire area of the villages that are centred on Renfrew Street and East 1st Avenue, and on East 22nd Avenue at Renfrew and at Rupert Streets. Villages need to be planned as a whole.

The southwest corner of the study area (labeled “Limited Sewer Capacity”) is close to the Nanaimo Transit Station. It should be planned together with that Rapid Transit Area.

 
Industrial/Employment Lands
 

Background

The Industrial/Employment Lands include most of the study area that falls between Broadway and Grandview Highway and between Boundary Road and Skeena Street. (see Map 1 above) The Still Creek Floodplain occupies much of the same area. (The boundaries of this floodplain were expanded considerably by Council on 1 February 2023. Most of the Industrial/Employment Lands now are designated as floodplain.) A large number of big box stores are located on these lands.

Housing cannot be built in Vancouver Industrial/Employment Areas. Building on a floodplain involves additional conditions.

Comment

It is good to see industrial/employment lands continuing to be reserved for that purpose. Much of the land closest to the transit stations falls within that designation. If towers are built here, they should include office space with retail at grade. These towers should include appropriate amenity space.

The big box stores between Grandview Highway and Broadway are an East Vancouver destination. We shop there far more than we did 15 years ago. The hardware and home goods stores that used to be within walking distance on Kingsway (Lowes, Canadian Tire, Harvey’s) have been lost through redevelopment. This trend away from walkability seems likely to continue.

 
Housing and Built Form
 

Background

The study area includes two overlapping Rapid Transit Areas along the Millennium Skytrain line: the Rupert Station Area and the Renfrew Station Area. For Rapid Transit Areas, the Vancouver Plan calls for “a more distributed (versus concentrated) pattern of development that allows for mid- to high-rise buildings (generally 12-18 storeys, with taller buildings in strategic locations) close to the station and also off of main streets” (L.1.5.5, p. 60). Height of buildings is to be greatest near stations and diminish toward the edges as a transition to lower density areas. Emphasis is on “purpose-built-market and below-market rental and social housing.” (L.1.5.1) Ground-oriented Missing Middle housing options such a multiplexes and townhouses are to be enabled (L1.5.2).

The redefined study area also includes three villages to be planned at this time. (See Map 2) Villages are to “allow a variety of mixed-use low-rise buildings and detached and low-rise housing, particularly multiplexes, townhouses, between 3-6 storeys” (L1.7.1, p. 64). Emphasis is on “purpose-built rental and social housing located off busy main streets yet near transit, green spaces, schools, and other amenities and services” (L1.7.1).

Properties currently zoned RS-1 that do not lie within the final boundaries of either the Rapid Transit Areas or one of the designated villages would be included in the new multiplex designation that is currently being developed. See further details at:

https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/multiplexes

Comment

The highest density should be concentrated within 1-2 blocks of the stations. Mid-rise buildings should be restricted to a 3-block distance from the stations. Most of the new housing should consist of low-rise “missing middle” forms. Sites for “taller buildings in strategic locations” in the Rapid Transit Areas need to be specifically identified in this plan.

The maximum heights specified in the Vancouver Plan for housing in each of the neighbourhood types should respect the Vancouver Plan. Those maximum heights should be reserved for social housing/rental housing to incentivize those kinds of projects. Strata developments should be granted less height and FSR.

Rental and social housing projects in the “multiplex” areas should be limited to 4 storeys except where the Secured Rental Policy applies.

 
Amenities
 

Background

Recent plans have not identified specific amenities to be delivered, nor have they been accompanied by a Public Benefits Strategy that details how they will be paid for. It seems that amenities are to be identified by the City of Vancouver and delivered primarily by new development as it occurs.

Comment

Specific amenities need to be identified in the plan, together with a strategy and a specific timeline for delivery.

The 10m wide strip of land bordering Still Creek cannot be developed. It should become a green walkway. As much of the creek as possible should be daylighted.

 
Transportation
 

Comment

The study area is bisected north/south by the Industrial/Employment Area and the railway line. The location of the Industrial/Employment Area pushes housing (and residents) to the periphery. Crossing the railway line or Grandview Highway by walking or rolling is difficult. Particular attention needs to be given to these connectivity issues.

Building the proposed Eastside Crosscut Greenway, which runs north-south through this area, should be given priority.

 
Project Timeline
 

Developing early directions: Spring 2022 – Winter 2023 (now complete). See a Summary of early engagement here:

Drafting the plan: Winter 2023 – Fall 2023. The current engagement activities (open houses and survey) will help staff to draft the detailed plan. More community engagement activities will take place when the draft plan is complete.

Finalizing the plan: Fall 2023-Spring 2024. The final plan will be approved by Council at a public hearing, where residents can make submissions in writing or orally by telephone or in person.

Be aware that the earlier in the process you can make your opinions known, the more likely you are to be able to influence the final plan.

 
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

3 February 2023 at 9:40 pm

Rupert & Renfrew Station Area

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Planning of the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area is of particular interest to Norquay residents. What happens at Rupert/Renfrew will serve as a template for all of the “transit hubs” identified by the Vancouver Plan, including the Nanaimo/29th Avenue Station Transit Hub. Now is the time to make your ideas known to staff. The earlier in the process you state your opinion, the more likely you are to be heard.

Details of the next public engagement opportunities for this work are given at the Shape Your City link and in the City of Vancouver communication that is imaged below.

 
https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/rupert-renfrew-station-area-plan
 

 

 
     City of Vancouver Email
 

 

 
     Map from Current Online Survey
 
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 January 2023 at 5:48 pm

5026-5076 Earles Street

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Comment on Development Application DP-2022-00782
under RM-9A Zoning

 

https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/5026-5076-earles-st

 

28 September 2022
 

 

 
     Developer’s Graphic for Proposal
 

 

 
     Streetscape in 2014
 

 

 
     Mapping of Six Adjacent Land Parcels
 

 
This is the second development application posted for this site. Improvements over DP-2019-00921 are:

         This application is for the entire site, not for half
         A reasonably sized entry courtyard and breezeway is proposed between the two apartment buildings
         There are more 2 and 3 bedroom units
         Rooftop gardens have been added to one of the apartment buildings and to the townhouses

Our remaining concerns are detailed below.

 
1 —  Building typology

The RM-9 Guidelines for 3 to 4 storey apartment buildings specify that “proposals should provide more than 4 corner units per floor (e.g. “alphabet buildings”) to provide cross-ventilation and natural lighting to most units” [Section 2.2.2(a)(i)]. Each dwelling unit should have two exterior walls to maximize light access and ventilation through windows [Section 2.4.1 (c)]. A large (min. 26′ width) entry courtyard at the front and/or the rear of the building is to provide the articulation to make this possible. Double-loaded corridors need to be avoided.

Each of the two apartment buildings in this proposal has the maximum frontage permitted by RM-9 regulations. The “entry courtyards” for both have been combined into a single space that incorporates the walkway between the buildings. The only additional articulation is one shallow “inset courtyard” in the front and rear of each building. It is hard to see how more than a few units on the double-loaded corridors can possibly have more than one exterior wall. In the current application, the number of units with any “natural cross-ventilation” has decreased from 77% to 68.7%. And even in those units, the windows on the 2 exterior walls must necessarily be close together.

More articulation of these buildings is required to fulfill the intent of the zoning. There should be more “inset courtyards” and they should be deeper. The other apartment buildings on large Norquay sites in the RM-9 zone – at 4882 Slocan Street and 4933 Clarendon Street – have done a better job of maximizing natural lighting and cross-ventilation.

 
2 —  Access

Elevators in each of the two apartment buildings are located at one end of the building. This is unacceptable. It results in a very long walk for many residents from the elevator to their unit. Main entrances and elevators should be located more centrally within each building.

The catwalks connecting the various buildings at various levels display poor design and should be eliminated.

 
3 —  Amenity Space

The indoor amenity spaces total only 738 sf, divided between two locations. The larger space is poorly configured and the smaller space is only 200 sf. This is far too little amenity space for a project of this size. The City of Vancouver needs to develop a standard requirement for amenity space based on the number of units, the total square footage of the units, and the unit mix.

The space allotted to a children’s play area (14’5″ x 18’8″ on the rooftop) is inadequate for a project with 77 family-sized units. In addition to the rooftop space, a part of the garden courtyard (the space between the apartment buildings and the townhouses) should be developed as a children’s play area, as was done in the earlier application.

 
4 —  Parkade Exhaust

The “parkade exhaust doghouse” at the west front corner of the project is located only 9′ from the edge of the city sidewalk. Should the allotted 7′ road widening allowance be used in the future and the sidewalk be moved closer to the property line, the exhaust will be within 2 feet of the sidewalk. Parkade exhaust is noisy and smelly. It has no place near a city sidewalk, especially in a city that purports to encourage walking as a mode of transportation. The laneways on three sides of the project provide ample alternative locations.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 
13 January 2023
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

13 January 2023 at 11:11 am

Posted in RM-9A Comment

Brock Park Meeting

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General Brock Park Stakeholder Meeting
 

Register by Monday 21 November 2022 to attend this Monday 28 November 2022 meeting.

Online details can be found at

 
https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/general-brock-park/news_feed/stakeholder-meeting-invitation
 

 
Image capture of Stakeholder Meeting notice on web site
 

 

 

 
Image capture of Notice Letter from Park Planner
 

 

 

 

 

 
Text of Notice Letter from Park Planner
 

General Brock Park
Stakeholder meeting invitation

Purpose: to invite public members to sign up for stakeholder meeting

Time: 6pm on 28th Nov 2022

Dear General Brock Park users,

Vancouver Park Board is creating a new vision for General Brock Park to support its vibrant neighbouring community. We have developed a concept design based on the feedback received during our first round engagement in spring 2022. You have previously expressed an interest in this renewal project, and we invite you to join us for a meeting where we will present and discuss the concept design, answer your feedback and questions, and go over next steps for the project.

When: Monday, November 28 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Where: Trout Lake Community Centre

Light refreshments will be served

Masks are welcome

Please register to attend this meeting by emailing us at General.Brock.Park.Renewal@vancouver.ca by November 21. We will confirm the exact meeting location and any updates with you. Please let us know if you have any accessibility needs so we can arrange for them in advance.

We hope you will join us for this meeting. If you are not able to join us but have any questions or would like information about the draft concept, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Warm regards,

General Brock Renewal team

Project background:

General Brock Park is a 1.44 hectare neighborhood park located in the northwest corner of Norquay Village, two blocks north of Kingsway. Through the VanPlay Initiative zone assessment, this area was identified as having low amounts of park space per resident, high demand for affordable and accessible recreation, and fewer street/park trees compared to other areas in the city. The Norquay Village Community Plan identified this park as in need of improvement and it is listed as top priority for renewal in the Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy.

From March 22 to April 12, 2022 we received 154 responses from residents to our online survey and at our park pop-up. Read the engagement summary to learn about what we heard from the first round of engagement and the top priorities that will influence the design.

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please find the unsubscribe link below.

Zhiwei Lu | Landscape Architect I | Park Development

My pronoun is: he, him
Vancouver Park Board | 453 West 12th Ave – 10th Floor

t. 604.348.7040

I am grateful to live and work on the unceded, ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations

 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

15 November 2022 at 5:21 pm

Bumblings of Virtuality

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Mayor Admits to Not Knowing What Kind of a Joke Council Is


Davidowicz:  What kind of a joke is that?
Stewart:  I don’t know.

 

At Sea

 
Vancouver City Council held a disastrous “public hearing” on the evening of 5 July 2022. The shambles of current council procedures mangled their way into the dysfunctions of bureaucratic digital technology. A thin crew of seven councillors rafted themselves into the vortex of quorum fail. While hearing from the last registered speaker, they managed to abort a public hearing.

 

 

The only virtue of virtuality is that it necessitates the existence of a sort of black box. Then a patient investigator can use that tool to reconstruct the wreckage.

Best guess: while Kennedy Stewart played around at piloting the raft, Lisa Dominato flipped it right over, and Christine Boyle then somehow surfaced clinging to a log. Two real bodies occupied council chambers: Adriane Carr and Michael Wiebe. Two virtuals onlooked: Sarah Kirby-Yung and Jean Swanson. Four MIA’s lay low: Rebecca Bligh, Melissa De Genova, Pete Fry, Colleen Hardwick.

 

What Is Going On?

 

 

 
The last item at on public hearing of 5 July 2022 is now rescheduled for complete redo at an extra brand-new public hearing. To validate that new schedule slot, council on 12 July 2022 held a jocular and perfunctory five-minute Special Council Meeting (absolute minimum quorum of Boyle, Carr, Fry, Kirby-Yung, Stewart, Wiebe present).

 

Six Big Questions

 
For exactly how long did Vancouver City Council “do business” WITHOUT quorum?
At a minimum, from 9:49:52 to 9:50:23. With no access to earlier video record, the public cannot tell how long this illegitimacy went on for.

Who killed off the public hearing, technically speaking?
Probably Lisa Dominato, because her camera was on and Christine Boyle’s was not.

Who jumped at the opportunity to issue a first call for unregistered speakers – while one remained on the list and one was on the line?
Kennedy Stewart.

Who ended the meeting by proclaiming that the process would resume on 21 July 2022 at 6 pm?
Kennedy Stewart.

What became of the two councillors (Bly and Fry) present at the start of the public hearing? Did De Genova ever show up after the 6-7 gap announced at the start of proceedings? Did those three just get tired and randomly hike off to do whatever?
No data without suffering through too much video, so that one is TLDW.

If 1780 East Broadway was “withdrawn” from public hearing agenda on the previous day because “running out of time,” did all of council then take on an attitude that their time had suddenly become a cheaper commodity?
No data.

 

What Happened?

 
To a large extent, the story of the Stainsbury botch can be found in the two Appendixes. Appendix A timelines the forty seconds or so where Kennedy Stewart jerked around speaker Nathan Davidowicz on his way to terminating the public hearing. Appendix B provides a full transcript of the indignities that speaker Nathan Davidowicz had to endure – the “process” that surrounded the half of the allotted speaking time that Davidowicz managed to get in before Stewart had the unhappy participant gagged with a mute button.

No attempt is made here to plumb and parse the relevant arcana of the procedures by-law. If Kennedy Stewart can blow that stuff off, why should we try to make sense of it?

 

Precedent?

 
This upcoming complete redo of an item at public hearing has at least one precedent – the May 2016
Gong Show that Raymond Louie ringmastered for Vision 1.0. That rezoning happened to situate pretty well right across the street at 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue.

 

Next Up

 
On the morning of 15 July 2022, the City of Vancouver web site showed nothing to indicate the irregularity that envelops the 28 July 2022 public rehearing. Following on an Eye on Norquay inquiry, that status changed. Consider these before and after screenshots:

 
     Before
 

 

 
     After
 

 

 

Appendix A  –  Quorum Fail Time Sequence

9:49:52  Stewart interrupts Davidowicz / Dominato absent / Boyle dead-screen

 

 

9:50:30  Dominato still absent / Boyle dead-screen

 

 

9:50:31  Dominato appears on stairs / Boyle dead-screen

 

 

9:50:40  Dominato seated / Boyle dead-screen

 

 

9:50:41  Dominato seated / Boyle live-screen putting on headphones

 

 

 

Appendix B  –  Transcript

Vancouver City Council
Public Hearing of 5 July 2022
5. CD-1 Rezoning: 2009-2037 Stainsbury Avenue
9:46 – 9:51 Speaker: Nathan Davidowicz


Kennedy Stewart

Now we're going to go to our next speaker who is Nathan Davidowicz.
Speaker number seven, Nathan Davidowicz?
[burps of static]
Speaker number seven, Nathan Davidowicz.
[burps of static]
Clerks, I don't hear Nathan Davidowicz, so umm as we're at the end
of the public list, I'm going to make a call, my first call ...

Clerk

Sorry -- sorry Mayor, to interrupt. There's one more on the next page.

Kennedy Stewart

Oh, I'm sorry about that.
Uh, speaker number eight, ah ah Iman Jang?
[9 second pause]
Is speaker number eight, Iman Jang?
[9 second pause]
OK clerks, I don't hear Nathan Davidowicz or Iman Jang,
so I am now going to call ...

Nathan Davidowicz

What do you mean, you don't hear me? I'm on the line.

Kennedy Stewart

Great. OK. Yeah, you're ready to go. Up to five minutes. Nathan
Davidowicz, please go ahead.

Nathan Davidowicz

Thank you very much. Sorry for all the technical difficulties --
I think you know who to blame for that. Ahhh -- we have to
go back forty years
...  [2:18 of presentation]  ...

[9:49:52]

[Stewart interrupts Davidowicz to ask for "focus"]
...  [17 seconds]  ...
[Stewart overtalks Davidowicz for 7 seconds running]

Kennedy Stewart

Speaker, I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to --
I'm just going to stop you there, speaker. Just one second.
Clerks have informed me that we have lost quorum.

[9:50:23]

Ummm. Ahhh. 
So. I think we're done. [pause] Thanks Council.
Uh, we're going to have to pick this up on July 21st at 6 pm. 

Nathan Davidowicz

What kind of a joke is that? 

Kennedy Stewart

I don't know --

Nathan Davidowicz

[with Stewart overtalking]
Mr Mayor. You have a bad council, Mr Mayor. Maybe you can get a new
council -- after the election. 

Kennedy Stewart

[indistinct] will you please mute the speaker.

[9:51:00]

Council, we have lost quorum, so uhhh we're done,
we'll be back July 21st. Thanks so much. Thanks clerks.

 
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

15 July 2022 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Events, News

Safeway Rezoning July 7

with 2 comments


Safeway Site at 1780 East Broadway
What Is “Affordable Housing”?

 
Jeanette Jones & Joseph Jones

 

 

UPDATE: (4 July 2022 3 pm)  Less than 48 hours after the following report was published and simultaneously distributed to every Vancouver city councillor, the City of Vancouver withdrew this item from the agenda of 7 July 2022 – on Monday morning following the Canada Day long weekend.

 
A startling brand-new metric for “affordable” and “below-market” rental housing has arrived in Vancouver. City of Vancouver staff propose to let the Safeway-Westbank-Crombie REIT consortium set this precedent on a 2.4 acre site at 1780 East Broadway beside the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain station.

For the 93 “below-market” units, mere supply of those rental units would entitle the proponents

       •  to charge city-wide average Vancouver rent from day one
       •  to reset that unit rent with every change of tenant (no vacancy control)

For the remaining 345 units or 80%, rents would have no upper bound.

The main contribution of this proposal to Housing Vancouver objectives seems to be the potential for 438 secured market rental units (Referral Report for 1780 East Broadway, p. 14). The project contains a considerably higher proportion of rental units than most other large development sites to date.

The developer proposes:
Three towers of 24- to 29- storeys above a 2-storey retail base, containing 653 residential units: 215 strata-residential, and 438 secured market rental to include 93 “below-market rental.”

The developer offers:
Zero below-market rental housing (as commonly understood), zero social housing, zero vacancy control, zero community amenity contributions. So the only “benefit” on offer amounts to 438 market rental units.

Is this a fair exchange? Vancouver City Council will decide at public hearing on 7 July 2022.


No Below-Market Rental Units

This proposal contains no below-market rental units, if we use the commonly accepted definition. The Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP) formalized the definition for “moderate income rental housing units.” It specifies that rents of the units should not exceed 30% of income for residents earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually. (See a fuller description under “MIRHPP” in Appendix A.) After MIRHPP ceased accepting applications on 31 January 2022, the term for these units was changed to “below market rental housing units.”

But the definition used for this particular project is quite different:

” ‘Below-Market Rental Housing Units’ means dwelling units where the rents are set, at the commencement of each new tenancy, at rates that do not exceed 100% of the City-wide Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) average rents, all as secured by a housing agreement registered on title to the property” (Appendix A of the Referral Report, Proposed CD-1 By-Law Provisions, Section 3(b) Definitions, p. 2).

This is a new definition, unique to this project. Most projects continue to use the MIRH definition. The very few other large projects with site-specific definitions specify rents at least 20% below the average rent. The one exception is 622 Southwest Marine Drive, where units renting at 100% (or slightly higher) of city-wide CMHC average rents balance other deeply affordable units on the site. (See Appendix B.)

The annual income required for residents if rents in this project are to be 30% of income would be $52,840 for a studio, $70,800 for a 1-bedroom, $84,160 for a 2-bedroom, and $114,640 for a 3-bedroom. It is concerning to see that there are no 3-bedroom below-market rental units in this project (Referral Report, p. 16).

How does “below-market” equate to “100% of the City-wide CMHC average rents”? These proposed rents are market rents.


No Social Housing

There are no social housing units in this proposal. Both the 2014 and the 2018 versions of the Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments require a 20% affordable housing component. (See Appendix A for a fuller description of the policy.) There is only one other recent large-site housing consideration brought to public hearing that does not have a social housing component: 2010 Harrison Drive, a seniors care facility. (See Appendix C.)


No Vacancy Control

Rents for the proposed “below-market rental” units will be reset at the beginning of each new tenancy to the city-wide CMHC average rents current at the time. All other recent proposals for large sites specify that such units are subject to vacancy control. Rent increases are capped at the BC Residential Tenancy Act annual allowable increase, regardless of tenant turnover. (See Appendix C.)


No Community Amenity Contributions (CACs)

The Referral Report states that no additional CAC is expected. “This is due to the relatively high density currently allowed under the existing C-3A zoning and resultant underlying land value, on and off site requirements, and the high proportion of office, retail and rental uses proposed” (p. 20).

Is this all that the developer pays back for extensive increase in density and height?

 

Appendix A  –  Two Relevant City of Vancouver Housing Policies

 
Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP)

When this program was introduced in 2017, the goal was to encourage developers to build rental housing affordable to households with moderate incomes. Project requirements were:

       •  100% of the building is secured rental housing
       •  At least 20% of the residential floor area serves households
           earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually
       •  Rent escalation is capped at the BC Residential Tenancy Act
           annual allowable increase, regardless of turnover (vacancy control)
       •  35% of the units are family-sized (2- or 3-bedroom) units,
           with some 3-bedroom units encouraged

MIRH units were given incentives such as Development Cost Levy (DCL) waivers, parking requirement reductions, relaxation of minimum unit size (e.g. micro units) and unit configuration (e.g. inboard bedrooms), and expedited processing.

Average starting rents were: studio, $950; 1-bed $1200; 2-bed $1600; 3-bed $2000. A policy amendment permits starting rents “to be increased annually from 2017 until initial occupancy in accordance with the annual maximum increases authorized by the province of British Columbia as per the Residential Tenancy Act” (MIHRPP Rezoning Policy, July 2021, p. 5).

This pilot program was set to be evaluated after 20 proposals. After extending the deadline for submissions twice, the City of Vancouver stopped receiving applications on 31 January 2022. “MIHR-like” units in more recent projects are now identified as “below-market rental” units.

 
Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments

This policy is “mandatory for all large development rezoning applications accepted as complete on or after September 1, 2018.” A large site is defined as a site of more than 8000 square meters (about 2 acres), or that contains more than 484,375 sf of new development floor area. The project at 1780 East Broadway fits both of these criteria.

An affordable housing requirement has been a part of this policy for many years. The 2014 Policy requires “an Affordable Housing Plan that considers a range of unit types and tenures, and demonstrates how the project will meet or exceed the requirements of the City’s Affordable Housing in New Neighbourhoods policy (the 20% policy)” (p. 18). The 20% policy for affordable housing was dependent on federal and provincial funding available at the time but later withdrawn. It became increasingly difficult to build viable social housing.

A new 2018 policy calls for a minimum of 20% of total residential floor area to be set aside for social housing, with units to be transferred to the City. Much of the funding for these units has come from Community Amenity Contributions. In the past few years, senior levels of government have begun to provide more funding for affordable housing. A amendment to the policy on 15 September 15 2020 specifies a requirement of 10% of residential floor area for “affordable rental housing targeted to households with moderate incomes of $30,000 to $80,000/year provided in a variety of unit types (studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms).” This requirement is in addition to the 20% requirement for social housing. MIHR starting rents are specified.

The 2018 Policy states: “Those projects with an accepted letter of enquiry [as of June 20, 2018] will proceed under the previous affordable housing requirements (the 20% policy) contained in the Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments amended December 16, 2014” (p. 6). The Referral Report (p. 6) for the project at 1780 East Broadway notes that this application fulfills that requirement and is proceeding under the affordable housing requirements of the 2014 policy.


Appendix B  –  Definitions
Six Site-Specific Languages for “Below-Market Rental Units”

 
No formal policy has been discovered that defines “below-market rental units.” As already detailed in Appendix A, the MIRH Pilot Program did define “moderate income rental unit.” But that program no longer accepts applications. The new language, “below-market rental unit,” is at present defined ad hoc for each rezoning application. That site-specific definition is given in the definitions section of the Proposed CD-1 By-Law Provisions. This usually is found in Appendix A of the referral report.

In general, the definition of “below-market rental housing units” is taken to mean dwelling units that meet the requirements of approved Council policies and guidelines for Below-Market Rental Housing, as secured by a housing agreement registered on title to the property. In practice, this means that MIRHPP requirements are being met.

Sites that feature unique site-specific definitions are listed below. These are usually larger sites.

 
Broadway Safeway  –  1780 East Broadway
Public Hearing date: July 7, 2022

Definition: “Below-Market Rental Housing Units” means dwelling units where the rents are set, at the commencement of each new tenancy, at rates that do not exceed 100% of the City-wide Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) average rents, all as secured by a housing agreement registered on title to the property (Appendix A of the Referral Report, Proposed CD-1 By-Law Provisions, Section 3(b) Definitions, p. 2).

 
1332 Thurlow Street & 1065 Harwood Street
Rezoning Approval June 21, 2022

Definition: “Below-Market Rental Housing Units” means dwelling units where the rents are set, at the commencement of each new tenancy, at rates that do not exceed either 20% or 50% below the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CJHC) average rents for Zone 2 (English Bay) (Appendix A of the Referral Report, Proposed CD-1 By-Law Provisions, Section 3(b) Definitions, p. 1).

 
1066-1078 Harwood Street
Rezoning Approval June 21, 2022

Definition: “Below-Market Rental Housing Units” means dwelling units where the rents are set, at the commencement of each new tenancy, at rates that do not exceed either 20% or 50% below the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CJHC) average rents for Zone 2 (English Bay) (Appendix A of the Referral Report, Proposed CD-1 By-Law Provisions, Section 3(b) Definitions, p. 1).

 
Heather Lands  –  4949-5255 Heather St & 757-707 W 37th Avenue
Rezoning Approval May 24 2022

Definition: “Below-Market Rental Housing Units” means dwelling units where the maximum starting rents are set at least 25% less than the average rents for all private rental apartment units city-wide, as published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in the Rental Market Report (Appendix A of the Referral Report, South – Draft CD-1 By-Law Provisions, Section 3 Definitions, p. 1).

 
Ashley-Mar Co-Op  –  622-688 Southwest Marine Drive
Rezoning Approval January 25, 2022

Definition: “Below Market Rental Housing Units” means dwelling units where the rents are set at rates no higher than the shelter component of income assistance, below Housing Income Limit (HILs) levels, or within a prescribed amount at, above or below city-wide CMHC average rents (Appendix A of the Referral Report, Proposed CD-1 By-Law Amendments,Section 3(b) Definitions, p. 1).

 
1640-1650 Alberni Street
Rezoning Approval December 9, 2021

This project does not have a formal definition in Appendix A, but Appendix B [Conditions of Approval, Housing Section 2.7(f), p. 17] states: “The average initial starting monthly rents for the below-market rental units will be at or below an amount that is 20% below the CMHC average market rent for Zone 3 according to the ‘CMHC Rental Market Survey’ publication that is current at the time of Occupancy Permit Issuance, or alternative publication as approved by the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability.”


Appendix C  – 
Affordable Housing Components  –  Sustainable Large Developments
Six Large Projects With Recent Rezoning or Text Amendment
Under the Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments

 

                Note: FS = floor space

              Status: Rezoning public hearing scheduled for July 7, 2022
                Name: Broadway Safeway Site
             Address: 1780 East Broadway
           Site area: 9819 sq. m (105,692 sq. ft. or 2.4 acres)
Total residential FS: 485,800 sq. ft.
   Secured rental FS: 323,604 sq. ft. (67% of residential FS) 438 units
 Below-market rental: 57,000 sq. ft. (18% of secured rental FS) 93 units
   Below-market rate: CMHC city-wide average market rents
      Social housing: none
     Vacancy control: no
                CACs: none


              Status: CD-1 (313) Text Amendment scheduled for July 7, 2022 
                Name: German-Canadian Care Home
             Address: 2010 Harrison Drive 
           Site area: 9784 square metres (2.42 acres) 
Total residential FS: 57,662 sq. ft.
   Secured rental FS: 57,662 sq. ft. 76 units
 Below-market rental: (20% of secured rental FS) 15 units
   Below-market rate: MIRH rates
      Social housing: none
     Vacancy control: yes
                CACs: $192,000
             Comment: Most of the FS in this project (154,947 sq. ft.)
                      is a 187-bed seniors care facility. No strata units.


              Status: Rezoning May 24, 2022
                Name: Heather Lands
             Address: 4949-5255 Heather Street & 657-707 West 37th Avenue
           Site area: 8.5 hectares (21.1 acres)
Total residential FS: 2,395,825 sq. ft. FS) 540 units
   Secured rental FS: 385,952 sq. ft. (16% of residential FS) 400 units
 Below-market rental: (at least 25% of secured rental FS) 100 units
   Below-market rate: MIRH rates
      Social housing: 450,467 sq. ft. (19% of residential)
     Vacancy control: Yes
                CACs: In addition to the social housing, the project will
                      deliver 4.4 acres of parks and public open space, a
                      cultural centre, a childcare centre, and a cash CAC
                      of $13M for area transportation improvements

              Status: Rezoning 2014 / Text Amendment March 1, 2022
                Name: Oakridge Centre
             Address: 650 West 41st Avenue
           Site area: 11.45 hectares (28.3 acres)
Total residential FS: 3,031,046 sq. ft.
   Secured rental FS: 572,764 sq. ft. (19% of residential FS) 703 units
 Below-market rental: 108,346 sq. ft. (19% of secured rental FS) 130 units
   Below-market rate: MIRH rates
      Social housing: 212,632 sq. ft. (7% of residential FS) 290 units
     Vacancy control: yes
                CACs: $148.7 M (in kind and in cash) 19 Sept 19 2018
                      additional $1 M 1 March 2022


              Status: Rezoning December 8, 2020
                Name: Oakridge Transit Centre
             Address: 949 West 41st Avenue & 5469 Willow Street
           Site area: 5.8 hectares (14.3 acres)
Total residential FS: 1.468 million sq. ft.
   Secured rental FS: 126,352 sq. ft. (9% of residential FS) 180 units
Moderate income rent: (25% of 180 secured rental units) 45 units
   Below-market rate: MIHR rates
      Social housing: 277,589 sq. ft (19% of residential FS) 330 units
     Vacancy control: yes
                CACs: $80,711,050 (in kind and cash)


              Status: Rezoning 2017 / Text Amendment June 23, 2022
                Name: Pearson Dogwood (Cambie Gardens)
             Address: 500-650 West 57th Avenue
           Site area: 10.3 hectares (25.4 acres)
Total residential FS: 2,963,066 sq. ft.
   Secured rental FS: 265,344 sq. ft. (11% of residential FS) 317 units
 Below-market rental: 65,265 sq. ft. (25% of secured rental FS) 99 units
   Below-market rate: MIRH rates
      Social housing: 540 social housing units and 114 supportive units
     Vacancy control: yes
                CACs: In addition to the social housing, the project will
                      deliver a 69-space childcare, a 2.5-acre park space
                      and a 1-acre farm, plus a cash contribution


Appendix D  –  References

 
Three Policies  –  The Documentation

Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program
https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/zoning/policy-rezoning-mirhpp.pdf

Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments (2014)
https://www.kpu.ca/sites/default/files/City%20of%20Vancouver_%20rezoning%20policy%20for%20sustainable%20large%20developments-2010.pdf

Rezoning Policy for Sustainable Large Developments (2018)
https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/policies-rezoning-sustainable-large-developments.pdf

 
Ten Specific Projects  –  The Documentation

In this analysis, all information about specific projects is taken from the Referral Reports presented to Council at the time the projects were referred to Public Hearing. Below is a link to the relevant Referral Reports.

 
2022 June 7
Broadway Safeway
1780 East Broadway
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220607/documents/rr8.pdf

2022 June 7
German-Canadian Care Home
2010 Harrison Drive
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220607/documents/rr7.pdf

2022 May 17
1066-1078 Harwood Street
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220517/documents/rr14.pdf

2022 May 17
Pearson Dogwood / Cambie Gardens
500-650 West 57th Avenue
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220517/documents/rr12.pdf

2022 May 17
1332 Thurlow Street & 1065 Harwood Street
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220517/documents/rr1.pdf

2022 April 12
Heather Lands
4949-5255 Heather Street & 757-707 West 37th Avenue
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220412/documents/rr5.pdf

2022 February 8
Oakridge Centre
650 West 41st Avenue
https://council.vancouver.ca/20220208/documents/rr2.pdf

2021 December 7
Ashley Mar Co-Op
622-688 Southwest Marine Drive
https://council.vancouver.ca/20211207/rr3.pdf.pdf

2021 November 16
1640-1650 Alberni Street
https://council.vancouver.ca/20211116/documents/rr9.pdf

2020 October 20
Oakridge Transit Centre
949 West 41st Avenue & 5469-5507 Willow Street
https://council.vancouver.ca/20201020/documents/rr2.pdf

 
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

2 July 2022 at 10:57 am