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 ]

Written by eyeonnorquay

14 February 2011 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Small House / Duplex 2013-2016

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Monitoring the Norquay Plan — Report No. 2 (May 2016)

RT-11 / RT-11N Zone

 
A separate posting of 19 photos of new Norquay dwellings taken in spring 2016 accompanies this evaluation.

 
Introduction

This second overall review of the 2010-2013 Norquay Plan continues looking at residential areas, and focuses on the new small house/duplex housing type. See note appended below on context for brief description of the Norquay Plan and a listing of aspects yet to be reviewed by Eye on Norquay. The City of Vancouver failed to include in the Norquay Plan any mandate for formal review of the effects and consequences of the mass rezoning.

 
What Does the Zoning Allow?

The RT-11 (Small House/Duplex) and RT-11N zones cover 937 properties in Norquay (2015 figures from City of Vancouver). See the map at the end of this post for properties included in this zone. The RT-11N portion of the zoning lies next to arterial streets and has special noise mitigation requirements; otherwise, regulations are the same as for RT-11.

If only a single family house is built on one lot, development is outright. A laneway house is permitted, but is subject to a short conditional review. If only a duplex is built on one lot, development is outright.

A developer who wants to build several small houses, more than one duplex, or a combination of the small house and duplex housing forms in the RT-11 zone must submit a conditional (rather than outright) development application to the City of Vancouver (CoV). The developer begins by consulting informally with CoV staff. When a formal application is submitted, a sign is posted on the property and a notification letter is sent to nearby neighbours. The application is posted on CoV’s Development Applications web site so that the public has an opportunity to examine it and submit comments.

After reviewing the application and the comments that have been received, staff set conditions that the developer must meet before final approval is granted for the project. Comments from the public are important because they can influence these conditions.

The number of permitted buildings depends on the size and the location of the site involved.
(1) If a pre-1940 character house is being retained, an infill one-family or two-family dwelling may be possible.
(2) If a site is next to a park or school site, if the site is a corner site, or if the site is a double fronting site, a small one-family dwelling may be built in addition to a new or existing single family house or duplex.
(3) On larger sites, a combination of small house and duplex housing forms is possible.

Secondary suites are permitted on all sites. Lock-off units may be permitted in larger developments.

The floor space ratio (FSR) is .60 for a single family house, .75 for a site with only a duplex, and .85 for larger developments. The parking requirement is one space per unit. Parking is usually at the lane, in covered garages or (on larger sites) in a combination of garages, carports, and/or surface parking. There is no separate storage required, but it can be provided.for bicycles. Under RT-11 zoning, multiple dwellings on a single site may be strata-titled.

The 2013 regulations and guidelines that govern development in RT-11 can be found at:

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/BYLAWS/zoning/RT-11&%20RT-11N.pdf
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/guidelines/R029.pdf

 
What Is Being Built?

Since 2013, and as of May 2016, the City of Vancouver has posted on its web site fifteen RT-11 development applications, involving nineteen properties. Eight of these fifteen applications have been submitted by the architecture firm Fuho Design. The first three projects have been completed and are now occupied. Four others are nearing completion. Two have been started recently. Construction has not yet begun on the other six, some of which may still be awaiting approval. Units in all of these developments are strata-titled.

A small house behind a duplex generally takes the form of a laneway house containing a covered garage for two or three cars. On two sites consisting of single long lots, a second small house has been built between the duplex and the laneway house.

The applications can be categorized as follows:

       Duplex + one small house                        7
       Duplex + two small houses                       2
       Two duplexes                                    2
       Duplex + cluster of small houses *              2
       Cluster of small houses *                       1
       Retention of heritage house + 4 duplexes *      1

       [* indicates assembled sites]

 
The range of unit sizes is:

       Form                              Square Footage    Sq Ft Avg

       Duplexes                          1106-2064         1618
       Small houses behind a duplex       690-1560         1024 
       Small houses in cluster           1244-1556         1353

 
The observed asking-price ranges are:

       Duplexes                                      $759,000 - $1,225,000
       Small houses behind a duplex (single lot)     $558,000 -   $998,000
       Small houses in clusters                      $839,000 -   $899,000

 
Photos of seven RT-11 developments newly completed or almost completed as of May 2016 can be viewed in a separate posting, along with prices and square footages where available.

 
Commentary

1.  The restricted locations for small houses built on standard lots (corner sites, sites that abut a school or park, or double-fronting sites) appear to work well. These locations feel much more “open” than mid-block locations do.

2.  The small house/duplex developments at Killarney Street and East 41st Avenue are well located on a fairly isolated corner. They are bordered on three sides by a school, a park, and East 41st Avenue.

3.  The palette of colours for building exteriors in several developments (dark green, cherry red, blue, yellow) is a welcome change from the standard neutral shades used in most new construction.

4.  Some of the large duplexes appear massive, especially where they are built on upward sloping sites (e.g. those on the east side of Dundee Street). The base grade on these sites is well above the street.

5.  The two sites where two small houses have been built on a single large lot behind a duplex appear very crowded. The 8-foot separation between the buildings leaves very little room for open space.

 
Context

Note:  Subsequent monitoring reports are anticipated for

       RM-7 (Rowhouse/Stacked Townhouse) Zone
       Transition Zone
       Kingsway Development
       Kingsway Public Realm
       Public Benefits
       Comprehensive Analysis

 

In the fall of 2010, Vancouver City Council adopted the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan. The plan lays out a “roadmap forward” that is supposed to guide development in Norquay for the next 30 years.

In the spring of 2013, Vancouver City Council adopted new zoning schedules for Norquay. Most of the residential area was rezoned to RT-11 (small house/duplex) or RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse). A rezoning policy was put in place for the Transition zone (four storey apartments) immediately behind Kingsway.

Specifications for development along Kingsway are part of the 2010 Norquay Plan.

 
norqmap-640
 
     Norquay Village Zoning Map
 

Council also adopted a Public Benefits Strategy and Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy for Norquay in spring 2013. This policy identifies the key amenities and services that Norquay can expect to accompany development, and suggests how they should be funded. To date, nothing has been delivered.

Development has begun. The City of Vancouver has no formal process for monitoring the implementation of the Norquay Plan. This series of postings will examine how the Norquay Plan of 2010, the subsequent new zoning schedules of 2013, and the Public Benefits Strategy are being implemented.

 
See also:
Duplexes 2013-2015
Monitoring the Norquay Plan — Report No. 1 (March 2015)
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/duplexes-2013-2015/
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

30 May 2016 at 3:51 pm

Small House / Duplex Photos

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Seven New Small House/Duplex Developments – 19 Photos

 
The photos below complement a review of small house/duplex development in the RT-11 zone built since implementation of Norquay Plan zoning in spring 2013. (Half-duplex and small house asking price and sq ft data is given as discovered, with no specification attempted for particular side or sub-unit.)

 



 
Duplex + 1 Small House

 
     4514 Nanaimo Street (old address)
     This development backs onto Brock Park.

 
IMG_9317-640
 
     Photo 1 of 19 — 4515/4519 Nanaimo Street — Duplex $899,000 — 1460 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9318-640
 
     Photo 2 of 19 — 45?? Nanaimo Street — Small house (attached garage) — $558,000 — 678 sq ft
 

 
     2466 East 37th Avenue (old address)
     This development is beside Cunningham School.

 
IMG_9308-640
 
     Photo 3 of 19 — 2466 East 37th Avenue — Duplex — $??? — 1650 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9310-640
 
     Photo 4 of 19 — 24?? — Small house (attached garage) — $??? — 800 sq ft
 

 
     5607 Rhodes Street (old address)
     This development is on a corner lot.

 
IMG_9301-640
 
     Photo 5 of 19 — 5603/5613 Rhodes Street — Duplex — $1,148,000 — 1941 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9306-640
 
     Photo 6 of 19 — 2746 East 40th Avenue — Small house (attached garage) — $720,000 — 943 sq ft
 

 
     5494 Dundee Street (old address)
     This development is on an extra large lot.

 
IMG_9291-640
 
     Photo 7 of 19 — 5490/5492 Dundee Street — Duplex — $1,200,000 — 1878 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9293-640
 
     Photo 8 of 19 — 5598 Dundee Street — Small house (attached garage) — $788,000 — 1050 sq ft
 

 



 
Duplex + 2 Small Houses

 
     5500 Dundee Street (old address)
     This development is on an extra large, irregularly shaped lot.

 
IMG_9278-640
 
     Photo 9 of 19 — 5502/5508 Dundee Street — Duplex — $1,299,000 — 2064 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9285-640
 
     Photo 10 of 19 — 5512 Dundee Street — Small house — $950,000 — 1330 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9286-640
 
     Photo 11 of 19 — 5522 Dundee Street — Small house (attached garage) — $850,000 — 1209 sq ft
 

 
     2355 East 41st Avenue (old address)
     This development is on an extra large lot.

 
IMG_9359-640
 
     Photo 12 of 19 — 2359/61 East 41st Avenue — Duplex — $1,165,000 — 1975 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9357-640
 
     Photo 13 of 19 — 23?? East 41st Avenue — Small house — $998,000 — 1560 sq ft
 

 
IMG_9353-640
 
     Photo 14 of 19 — 23?? East 41st Avenue — Small house (attached garage) — $??? — 1100 sq ft
 

 



 
Cluster of Small Houses

 
     2899 East 41st Avenue and 5677 Killarney Street (old addresses)
     This development, named “Killarney Ridge,” consists of 1 duplex and 6 small houses. The site
     consists of 2 assembled wide lots on the southwest corner of Killarney Street and 41st Avenue,
     next to Earles Park. Units are 1230-1557 sq ft. Asking prices ranged $759,900-$899,900+ with
     maintenance fees of $126-$159. A similar development is under construction on the 2 assembled
     lots directly to the north of this site, on Killarney Street.

 
IMG_9259-640
 
     Photo 15 of 19
 

 
IMG_9261-640
 
     Photo 16 of 19
 

 
IMG_9263-640
 
     Photo 17 of 19
 

 
IMG_9272-640
 
     Photo 18 of 19
 

 
IMG_9276-640
 
     Photo 19 of 19
 

All photos taken on morning of 10 April 2016, except for three photos of 2355 East 41st Avenue taken on morning of 27 April 2016.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

30 May 2016 at 3:50 pm

Six Letters

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Comments to City of Vancouver on
Development Proposed for 3365 Commercial
Made
Prior to Referral to Public Hearing

 
The following six letters 2015-2016 show how little attention City of Vancouver planners paid to extensive, timely, reasoned comment. And perhaps how much planner arms were twisted in the back room by developer-funded civic parties. The 24 May 2016 gong show public hearing on 3365 Commercial did not have to happen. We know that these six letters are only a fraction of the correspondence that the City received from individuals, and from groups such as Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. This case study exposes City of Vancouver claims to engagement and consultation as amounting to little more than cynical misdirection.
 

1 of 6 2015 June 1 Jeanette Jones to Rezoning Planner
     
2 of 6 2015 June 1 Joseph Jones to Rezoning Planner
     
3 of 6 2016 January 9 Jeanette Jones to Rezoning Planner & Assistant Director of Planning
     
4 of 6 2016 January 27 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to Heritage Commission
     
5 of 6 2016 April 15 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to City Manager & City Clerk
     
6 of 6 2016 April 18 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to Mayor & Council
                                                       



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 9:57 PM
Subject:   Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and
           1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 

 
Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
This application should not be approved in its current form for the following reasons:

 
1.  The building form does not meet the criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy. The IRP states that “mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys” may be considered if they front on arterials. In this case, a 6-storey building is proposed to front on Commercial Drive. “Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street” (i.e. behind the apartment building), the IRP permits “ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, and courtyard row houses.” The intent of the IRP is “to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground- oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on- going housing opportunities.”

Until now, the phrase “ground-oriented forms” has been understood to mean the housing types listed above. In the case of this application, I was told at the Open House that three of the ground floor units in the 4-storey wing have ground-level entries, although only one unit is shown on the floor plan. In any case, the City seems to be implying that the presence of a few ground floor units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit 4-storey wing fronting on 18th Avenue a “ground-oriented building form.” Planners have referenced examples in other parts of the City.

This is a false comparison. Yes, there are multi-storey apartment buildings in Vancouver where there are a few ground floor units with private, ground-level entries that could be called “ground-oriented units.” But these units do not define the building form. An apartment building does not become a ground-oriented building form because it contains a few units that have private ground-level entries. It does not meet requirements where City policy specifies that ground-oriented housing types should be built. The 4-storey wing of the apartment building proposed in this application needs to be removed. All housing units behind the 6-storey building fronting on Commercial should be small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, or courtyard row houses, just as the IRP specifies. Otherwise there will be fewer, not more, examples of “ground-oriented affordable housing types” built under the IRP. This would defeat the clearly stated intent of the policy.

 
2.  The 6-storey apartment building is too tall and massive for this site. The height and mass are excessive for a building in the RS-2 zone. The building should be shorter. Failing this, the 5th and 6th storeys should be set back at least 10 feet from the building edge. The building design should be improved to reduce the massing, and to add interest and variety.

 
3.  The 6-storey building is set too close to the property line. The setback is only .2 metres on Commercial and .91 metres on East 18th Avenue. This is not enough. A greater setback would enable landscaping to soften the impact of the building, and make it fit in better with the surrounding residences.

 
4.  More trees should be retained. At a minimum, the fir and hemlock trees (#1677 and #1678) identified by the arborist as being in “normal” condition should be kept. There should be sufficient space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue so that those trees survive undamaged.

 
5.  The “heritage” house should be removed. The house has little heritage value at present. It will have virtually none after it has had its interior gutted and its exterior finishes replaced, and has been moved from its present location onto a new foundation elsewhere on the site.

 
Jeanette Jones

June 1, 2015



 



 

From:      Joseph Jones 
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca
Date:      Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 3:24 PM
Subject:   Comment on 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 

 
To: Yardley McNeill, Rezoning Planner, yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca
From: Joseph Jones
Date: 1 June 2015

 
Please confirm that this comment on the 21 May 2015 open house for development proposed for the above address has been received and put on record.

1.  Comments are listed here in order of decreasing expectation that they will have any impact on the specific development proposal or on City of Vancouver planning practices. This means that comment numbered two seems most likely to result in revision to the proposal, etc.

2.  Under Interim Rezoning Policy, it seems inappropriate to permit development encroachment along East 18th Avenue into a long-established RS area through mere fact of parcel contiguity. The parcel fronting Commercial Drive should constitute the single locus for application of IRP. The East 18th Avenue parcels should emphasize ground-oriented access to dwellings and should give preference to rowhouse form.

3.  The retention of cypress trees at the corner is highly desirable. Extensive discussion with the project arborist at the open house underlies the following recommendations. As presently structured, the development adjacent to the retained trees will result in a root loss of approximately 30%, significantly impairing the longevity of the five trees proposed for retention. Therefore the physical structure fronting Commercial Drive should be modified to mitigate root loss and to enhance that area’s provision of water and nutrients. Slight additional setback of the building should be coupled with more extensive foundation setback to accommodate existing root structure. Cantilever with design to channel rainwater under the sheltered portion should provide a viable option, especially considering the large benefit already conferred on the developer in the form of requiring no commercial space on ground floor. As necessary to achieve this additional root space, commensurate reduction in underground parking would be acceptable. The existing grove of cypress trees amounts to a major amenity. Since absolutely nothing will be coming back to the neighborhood from this proposed development, impact on already enjoyed amenity should minimized as much as possible.

4.  The weakest, smallest cypress should be removed immediately to enhance the viability of the remaining four. The arborist does not anticipate a healthy future for the runt. With slight additional setback, one additional tree to the north that is scheduled for removal could be retained.

5.  The setback from Commercial Drive appears to be insufficient. At an absolute minimum, it should equal that of the Porter STIR project to the immediate south of the site.

6.  It is not apparent that the development or the neighborhood will benefit at all from the extreme relocation and retention of a highly dubious “heritage” facade. This supposed heritage element should in no way benefit the developer in terms of increased FSR or height or transfer allowances.

7.  It seems clear that the City of Vancouver via the Property Endowment Fund is prepared to sell its parcel of land to Cressey and to extract value from the neighborhood with no return whatsoever to the affected location.

8.  This IRP proposal appears to be the fifth that has been entertained by the City of Vancouver since the 2012 inception of an obviously failed policy. It does not go unnoticed that the only IRP rejection so far has occurred on the far west side of Vancouver. Even worse, this particular IRP project is the third to land in Kensington-Cedar Cottage, and lies within less than ten blocks of an IRP site on Knight Street that eliminated existing affordable apartment housing and clearly fudged on the criterion of adjacency to a shopping district. The density dumping and amenity extraction that City of Vancouver fosters in KCC is execrable planning and serves a blatantly classist agenda.

9.  There is evidence that Cressey is an exploitative and abusive landlord. It is unfortunate that the City of Vancouver would permit these operators to concentrate in one local area and to subsidize them handsomely.



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca;
Cc:        kent.munro@vancouver.ca; 
Date:      Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 9:34 PM
Subject:   Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and
           1695-1775 East 18th Avenue, Revisions of December 3, 2015

 
 
Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
Revisions of December 3, 2015

 
The changes to the application proposed in the revisions of December 3, 2015 do not adequately address the issues raised in my comments of June 1, 2015 on the original application. These comments are reproduced below, followed by a current response in blue.

This application should not be approved in its current form for the following reasons:

 
1.  The building form does not meet the criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy. The IRP states that “mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys” may be considered if they front on arterials. In this case, a 6-storey building is proposed to front on Commercial Drive. “Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street” (i.e. behind the apartment building), the IRP permits “ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, and courtyard row houses.” The intent of the IRP is “to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground- oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on- going housing opportunities.”

Until now, the phrase “ground-oriented forms” has been understood to mean the housing types listed above. In the case of this application, I was told at the Open House that three of the ground floor units in the 4-storey wing have ground-level entries, although only one unit is shown on the floor plan. In any case, the City seems to be implying that the presence of a few ground floor units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit 4-storey wing fronting on 18th Avenue a “ground-oriented building form.” Planners have referenced examples in other parts of the City.

This is a false comparison. Yes, there are multi-storey apartment buildings in Vancouver where there are a few ground floor units with private, ground-level entries that could be called “ground-oriented units.” But these units do not define the building form. An apartment building does not become a ground-oriented building form because it contains a few units that have private ground-level entries. It does not meet requirements where City policy specifies that ground-oriented housing types should be built. The 4-storey wing of the apartment building proposed in this application needs to be removed. All housing units behind the 6-storey building fronting on Commercial should be small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, or courtyard row houses, just as the IRP specifies. Otherwise there will be fewer, not more, examples of “ground-oriented affordable housing types” built under the IRP. This would defeat the clearly stated intent of the policy.

I do not know how to state this point more clearly. The proposed 4-storey wing that fronts on East 18th Avenue still violates both the intent and the form of development/location criteria of the Interim Rezoning Policy. It does not provide a suitable “transition zone between higher density arterial streets and single family areas.” The additional setback of the 4th storey does not bring the height of the building down to the 3.5 storey maximum specified by the IRP. If the City of Vancouver is determined to allow 4-storey apartment building form in this location, a detailed rationale for this decision needs to be provided in the Report to Council that will accompany the final recommendation of the Planning Department.

 
2.  The 6-storey apartment building is too tall and massive for this site. The height and mass are excessive for a building in the RS-2 zone. The building should be shorter. Failing this, the 5th and 6th storeys should be set back at least 10 feet from the building edge. The building design should be improved to reduce the massing, and to add interest and variety.

The height of this building has not been reduced. Any additional setback of upper storeys seems to be confined to the back of the building. There is no substantial reduction in the mass of the building as seen from the street.

 
3.  The 6-storey building is set too close to the property line. The setback is only .2 metres on Commercial and .91 metres on East 18th Avenue. This is not enough. A greater setback would enable landscaping to soften the impact of the building, and make it fit in better with the surrounding residences.

The setback seems unchanged for either building. Front yards in Marpole’s new RM-9/RM-9N zone have a depth of 4.9 metres. In Norquay’s new RM-9A/RM-9AN zone, they have a depth of 3.7 metres (Guidelines, Section 4.4.1). This should be a minimum setback for 100% residential apartment buildings, especially when they front on residential streets.

 
4.  More trees should be retained. At a minimum, the fir and hemlock trees (#1677 and #1678) identified by the arborist as being in “normal” condition should be kept. There should be sufficient space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue so that those trees survive undamaged.

It does not look as if the two specified trees are being retained. Changes to the 6-storey building seem to reduce rather than expand the space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue. The community considers these trees the true “heritage value” of this site.

 
5.  The “heritage” house should be removed. The house has little heritage value at present. It will have virtually none after it has had its interior gutted and its exterior finishes replaced, and has been moved from its present location onto a new foundation elsewhere on the site.

I have heard only one person from the neighbourhood speak in favour of retaining this house. The Heritage Commission has stated that its value (minimal at best) is conditional on its remaining in its current location. None of the costs of retaining and moving this house should be included in the applicant’s pro forma. No additional density should be granted for dubious “heritage retention.”

 
Jeanette Jones

June 1, 2015
January 8, 2016



 



 

From:	   Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        heritage.commission@vancouver.ca; james.boldt@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 7:10 AM
Subject:   Comment on 3365 Commercial Drive

 
 
To: Members of the Vancouver Heritage Commission
cc: James Boldt, Heritage Planner

We would like to comment on the revised rezoning application submitted on December 3, 2015 for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 E. 18th Avenue.

At its May 4, 2015 meeting, the Vancouver Heritage Commission voted no on supporting the original application of March 12, 2015. That application proposed to relocate and rehabilitate this house. The no vote responded to “the relocation of the house, its new siting, and its condition.” The minutes of the meeting state “the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.”

We anticipate that the revised application may soon come before the Heritage Commission.

We do not support the relocation and rehabilitation of this house for the following reasons:

1.  The community does not believe that the heritage value of this house can justify the expense of relocating and rehabilitating it. None of the approximately 50 residents who attended a meeting of the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours last summer included the retention of this house in their personal list of interests associated with this application.

2.  The earlier concerns expressed by the Commission have not been addressed by the revised application. Specifically,

(a) Relocation of the house. The Statement of Significance (SOS) states that “3365 Commercial Drive is valued as one of the last examples of the semi-rural, residential heritage of the surrounding area” (p. 2). Its main value will be lost if the house is moved and the “semi-rural” setting is developed.

(b) Siting of the house. The revised application has not changed the new siting of the house. It still proposes to relocate the house very close to a street. Its current location is well back from the street among large trees, as can be see in the pictures on p. 10-11 of the SOS.

(c) Condition of the house. The house has been poorly maintained, and little effort has been put into protecting its heritage value.

3.  The revised “infill project adjacent” remains incompatible with the heritage house. The townhouse building has been reconfigured and moved further away from the heritage house, resulting in more open space between the buildings. But the infill project still consists of a modernist, box-shaped, flat-roofed building that jars with the heritage house rather than complementing it. The design of the apartment buildings containing the 110 rental units is even more incompatible with the heritage house.

The SOS gave the house only 26 points out of a possible 100. The Commission later upgraded this to 31 points. Even when considered in its current location, this house garnered barely enough points to justify putting it on the Commission’s “C” list. We do not believe that any incentives should be given to the developer to preserve and relocate the heritage house at 3365 Commercial Drive.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones 
To:        sadhu.johnston@vancouver.ca;
Cc:        janice.mackenzie@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:53 PM
Subject:   Council agenda item for april 19: 3365 Commercial rezoning

 
To: Sadhu Johnston, City Manager
cc: Janice MacKenzie, City Clerk

Please remove Policy Report #4 (CD-1 Rezoning — 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue) from the agenda for the Council meeting of April 19, 2016. This rezoning application includes a significant heritage component. At its meeting on May 4, 2015 the Heritage Commission stated that “The Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition,” and said that they would be willing to consider a revised application. A revised application was submitted to CoV by the developer in December 2015, but staff has not sent that application to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The application should not proceed to Council until the Commission has had a chance to review the revisions, which we believe do not adequately address the concerns expressed in the initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. The evaluation of the Commission is essential information that needs to be given to Council before they can make a decision on this application.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones 
To:        gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca;
           clraffleck@vancouver.ca;
           clrball@vancouver.ca;
           clrcar@vancouver.ca;
           clrdegenova@vancouver.ca;
           clrdeal@vancouver.ca;
           clrjang@vancouver.ca;
           clrlouie@vancouver.ca;
           clrmegs@vancouver.ca;
           clrreimer@vancouver.ca;
           clrstevenson@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 12:30 AM
Subject:   Policy Report #4: 3365 Commercial Drive

 
 
To: Mayor and Councilors of the City of Vancouver
Re: Policy Report #4 to Council for 3365 Commercial Drive

We ask that you do not refer to Public Hearing Policy Report #4 (CD-1 Rezoning — 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue) at the Council meeting scheduled for April 19, 2016.

This rezoning application includes a significant heritage component. At its meeting on May 4, 2015 the Vancouver Heritage Commission stated:

THAT the Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition;

FURTHER THAT the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.

The phrase “does not support” is the Heritage Commission’s strongest possible expression of non-support for an application. These words have been used only eight times in the past three years. The expectation of the community (and very likely, of the Heritage Commission itself) has been that a revised application would go back to the Commission for further review.

However, staff failed to send the revised application, submitted by the developer in December 2015, to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The Report states that “staff have concluded that the revised proposal addresses the Commission’s concerns … ” (p. 11) The only revisions that have been made to the heritage component of the application are that the massing of the “infill project adjacent” has been slightly reduced and the infill project has been moved a little further toward the back of the site. We do not believe that these small changes adequately address the concerns expressed in the Commission’s initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. The Statement of Significance says that the main value of the house lies in its treed “semi-rural” current location; relocation will destroy most of its heritage value. Only minimal changes have been made to its new siting. The condition of the house remains very poor. Even in its current location, this “heritage house” was given only 26 points in the Statement of Significance, barely enough to assure a place on the “C” list.

This application should not proceed any further until the Vancouver Heritage Commission has reviewed the revisions. The final evaluation of the Heritage Commission needs to be taken into account before Council can make a legitimate decision to refer the application to Public Hearing.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

29 May 2016 at 9:37 pm

Council Chaos

leave a comment »

 
Transcript of the Final Minutes
24 May 2016 Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial

 
3365-leave
 
     The Majority Opposition Rise in Concert to Walk Out of Council Chamber
 

 
The singular event that took place during the public hearing for

        3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
        http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm

deserves the easiest access that can be provided to residents of the City of Vancouver. A careful transcript of approximately 1500 words takes less time and effort to access and review than would the video record — flawed by splicing and intermittent wild pixellation (see screenshot of acting mayor Raymond Louie provided as appendix to this transcript).

The cast of speaking characters in this segment, in order of appearance, are: Councillor Adriane Carr, Councillor Raymond Louie (Acting Mayor), Councillor Tim Stevenson, Assistant Director of Planning Kent Munro, Councillor Elizabeth Ball, Councillor Melissa De Genova, and the City Clerk. Real-time viewers tweeted about the video feed being cut, and the record for the entire evening originally seems to have terminated at 4:05:06. (Transcription timings belowed are keyed to the video for Item 3, not to video for the entire evening).

 



 

 
Context Below: After Deal’s Motion to Approve the Rezoning

 
3:07:07

 
Carr:
[large omission] So, for those reasons, I will be voting against this app-application.

 
Louie:
Clr Stevenson.

 
Stevenson:
Thanks very much. Well, as I indicated, I-I have a lot of, uh, sympathy around this, uh, issue of, uh, of the trees. I-I just would really like us to have a second look at this. [clears throat] It does make a difference whether there’s mature trees or-or-or not, and, uh, I would like our city arborist to be involved in this. Uh, not that I don’t think that the one, uh, the developer has is, uh, not professional. But I really do think that it would be, uh, helpful to have our own city arborist, uh, look at this. I-I don’t know why the Park Board are not interested in a park. That-that’s too bad, actually. Um, but they have a budget, and I suppose this would be, uh, a fairly high ticket item for them. But one person did, uh, say, please stop and table this and have a second look at this. Uh, and uh, and I’m inclined to do that. Um, and maybe there’s some other, uh, issues we can look at at the same time, but, my real concern is because so many people from the neighborhood talked about how important that was, and how important the two parks were near them. So I would like to refer this back, uh, to staff and ask them to —

 
[Voice: Point of order]

 
Louie:
Sorry, let’s hear what the motion is before you have a point of order. So, let’s hold for a minute. Clr Stevenson, can you just tell us what you’re intending —

 
Stevenson:
Yes, ah, my intent is to have staff, um, uh, have-have another look at this whole issue of the trees and have our own, uh —

 
Louie:
So you referred the motion to — you’re referring to staff for, what, and to when to report back —

 
Stevenson:
I-I-I only want a month’s time. I’m, uh, sure that there’s all sorts of pressures, but, uh, I don’t think a month is too much, to come back —

 
Louie:
Not, not to the merits of the motion, just —

 
Stevenson:
OK. Ah, thank you. In July, uh,

 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

3:09:30

at this point video splicing skips back to Stevenson above at

…  “helpful to have our own city arborist”  [etc]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 
3:11:05

 
[Stevenson continued] with a further detailed report — [Louie: OK] — in particular in regard to this.

 
Louie:
Now in regard to the point of order from Clr Carr. What was your point of order? [indistinct voice — apparently problem with microphone switch-on] Now, just a minute. There you go.

 
3:11:18

 
Carr:
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Um, in previous meetings where I’ve tried to refer a partic — a public — an item at public hearing, I was informed that that is not allowed, and so I would like a ruling from the City Clerk. Um, only — we can only refer — my understanding, uh, is the discussion and the decision to a future council meeting — not refer back to staff.

 
Louie:
Thank you. Um, it’s actually a ruling from the chair, and advice from the Clerk. So, Madam Clerk, can we just get some advice from you? [long pause] Just give us a couple of minutes here.

 
3:11:54

 
[During this 2-3 minute period of silence, the City Clerk rummaged and ruminated, and then engaged in a lengthy whisper huddle with Louie]

 
3:14:15

 
Louie:
So, after [long pause] let’s take some advice from Mr Munro, if you have it, ah, based on your experience. Just before — just before I rule on the matter — here’s-here’s my sense is that we — it would be for further advice from staff rather than, um, hearing further from the public on the matter, and so, when we’re — if it was to defer a decision and-and seek further advice from staff that would seem to fit a pattern, and that — uh, of previous council asking for advice, but what is-is, does — [indistinct voice] Mist-Mr. Munro has the floor. We are working on a point of order right now. Mr. Munro.

 
Munro:
The question, that shall refer to the Clerk in terms of the Procedures Bylaw, um, and I don’t know it intimately to, to really, um, say either way.

 
Louie:
OK. Thank you. Uh, absent, uh, any further advice from s-staff on that side, I will rule, uh, that it — the motion *is* in order for those, as for, for those reasons [clears throat]

— [Carr?: Different rules for you guys and us.] —

Your motion to — Yes. I’ve heard you, Clr Ball.

 
Ball:
Ah, you have often re-, referred to custom in this chamber, and you have consistently over the last many years told Clr Carr and others [Louie: Clr Ball —] that they could not refer dur-, after a public hearing — that they could not do-, do this, and this —

 
Louie:
Two-thirds majority to overrule the ruling of the chair. In this case, that was not present.

 
Ball:
In a pub — [microphone cut?]

 
Louie:
Thank you, Clr Ball. Um, that’s is not the case. It has not told Clr Carr that, ever before, in fact. Not myself, so — So, what I will say is that, I’ve ruled — that Clr Stevenson’s motion which is to seek more information, so —

[indistinct other voice] OK. Clr Carr has challenged the chair [pause] and I’ll just move to the question then. Shall the chair be sustained? All in favor? Those opposed? The requisite votes are there to sus-sustain the chair. Thank you. So, the motion is — [indistinct voices] It requires a two-thirds majority to overturn the ruling of the chair, I’ll remind Council members.

So. Clr Stevenson, your motion to refer — [long pause]

Clr S-Stevenson. Clr, uh, Ball. [indistinct voices] Uh, if you’re unfamiliar with the rules — and for the public, just for your benefit — the rules of the, of — parliamentary rules that we follow under the Procedure Bylaw requires that if a chair has made a ruling, that if someone disagrees, or a member of Council disagrees, that it requires a two-thirds majority overule the, the ruling of the chair. In this case, that was not present, and there — therefore the ruling of the chair is sustained.

I will remind, um, everyone that this is a request for further information on the matter so we can make a, I think, a — a full decision based on full facts, and there was con- some concern, if I understand it, that the arborist was an external arborist rather than, ah, a person on staff with the City that could give that information, and that’s what Clr Stevenson is asking for in this instance. So, if you have issues with asking for further information, certainly you can vote against the referral, and, uh, we will proceed. But Clr Stevenson — it’s absolutely open to him to move that motion.

Clr De Genova. What is your point of order? [long pause] Cou — [Voice: Mike]

 
De Genova:
— and now that we’ve been told that we could have referred, but at the time — and I’ll pull up the tapes — that we were told that that we couldn’t refer —

 
Louie:
Let me — let me rule on your point of order. First — first of all, we are in a separate public hearing, and, in this ins-instance, I have conferred with the Clerk, and, uh, my decision has been made and so I’ve ruled on the matter and so your point of order, which is again, uh, before us, to discuss the ruling is out of order.

Clr Stevenson, did you have anything further on your referral motion? [indistinct voice] Clr De Genova. You’re challenging the ruling of the chair on your point of order. Is that correct? OK. So I will — Madam Clerk, do we have that? Ready for the challenge [to the] chair? Shall the chair be sustained? All in favor? Those opposed? Ah, those opposed, ah, do not have the sufficient weight — ah, sufficient number of votes, so the chair is sustained. OK? Clr Stevenson.

 
Stevenson:
It’s three to four, sir, there’s a chair that gets to vote as well. [indistinct voice from chamber] No.

 
Louie:
No, no, we’re not — we have not sir. [indistinct voice from chamber]

 
Louie:
Sir, there’s been no decision. At this point in time we’re making a decision on whether or not we should refer [pause] the matter.

Clr Stevenson, do you have anything further?

Clr De Genova are you leaving the chambers? [long pause] OK. [long pause] So — [long pause]

[Shout from chamber: What a zoo!]

Yes. [indistinct shout] Apparently. OK. So apparently we have lost quorum. Madame Clerk, could we poll the councillors that have left the council chambers, and see whether or not —? Uh, yes, could you — [long pause]

 
Clerk:
It is 10:21 pm. Clrs Affleck, Ball, De Genova, and Carr have left meeting and we have — and this has resulted in the loss of quorum. Under the Procedure Bylaw I declare this meeting adjourned.

 
Louie:
OK. Thank you. [shout from chamber] I apologize. Unfortunately we have lost quorum and we cannot conclude to a decision this evening — [indistinct voice] and we will see — what, how, uh to proceed after, uh, taking further advice. Thank you.

 
3:21:56
 

 



 

 
3365-louie-2
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

28 May 2016 at 1:03 am

Gong Show

with 2 comments

 
Among the far too many days and evenings spent at Vancouver City Council proceedings over the years, the 24 May 2016 public hearing on

        3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
        http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm

rivals 20 January 2011 for weirdest scene ever encountered at City Hall.

The unfolding of the series of events looks like a set of poor drivers taking turns piling into each other. To perceive execution of a clever political script by any caucus or player seems impossible.

What follows is an eyewitness report from recent memory, supplemented by some research. Efforts are made to stick to certainties, and to label speculations as such. City hall video of the evening mysteriously and conveniently “crashed” at 4:05:06.

 
3365-cutfeed
 
     [Image Credit: CityHallWatch]
 

After approximately 2 1/2 hours spent on item 3, the public hearing aborted with a walk-out by four of the seven City Councillors present. Affleck, Ball, Carr, and De Genova left behind the three Vision who were present: Deal, Louie, Stevenson.

The public hearing felt eerie from the very first minute. Four other Vision were visibly “absent”: Jang, Meggs, Reimer, Robertson. Just before I was to be called up to speak, as number 8 on the registered list, the proceedings flipped into indefinite suspension. Stevenson and De Genova stepped out at the same time and killed quorum.

The speakers list showed 24 lines, one blanked as “withdrawn.” Two speakers were no-shows. Three unregistered speakers stepped up at the end. The 24 speakers seemed to sort out as 3 support and 21 opposed. The record of correspondence shows: 6 support, 41 opposed, 2 other.

 
3365agenda
 

All of the foregoing may translate merely into what the City of Vancouver likes to describe as “a degree of support.”

The opposed speakers displayed an impressive range of content, oratory, presence, and style. Ordinary, real, neighborhood folk. Minimal “coaching” and no shills. (I’ve been to a lot of meetings of CCAN — Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours. Most of these faces and names were not familiar.)

Councillors put very few questions to speakers. When Carr asked me about the introduction of Interim Rezoning Policy, I found opportunity to interject my fears that discussion and voting would be deferred forward — allowing absent councillors who faced no speakers to claim to have reviewed video of the meeting and thus merit a vote.

Early on, Louie hit replay on his standard-script whine about how applause for speakers wastes time. Later on, Louie ran on and on about how the audience should respect the “reason” that needed to be brought to bear on the “decision.” With a little less inherent respect, I would have screamed out “whipped caucus” — a phrase embedded in my “presentation.”

After all speakers were heard, staff responded to questions from councillors.

From around 9:45 onward De Genova made multiple requests for a vote to extend the meeting. Even at the verge of 10:00 pm, Louie was insisting on waiting longer. It felt like most of that frustrating quarter-hour consisted of De Genova and Louie acting up like ornery kids in a sandbox. When the vote did come, the required unanimity made it possible for the meeting to continue.

As decorum degenerated, a woman who was a self-declared first-time-ever speaker to Council stood up to object vociferously to what was going on. Louie had her marshalled out of chamber by a security guard.

Deal put forward a motion to approve the rezoning. Her appended rationale predictably boiled down to “any rental construction is always good” — with no concern shown about how existing City of Vancouver “policy” clearly fails to support the particulars. (Memo to Louie: file as case study in Vision’s exercise of “reason.”) No second to the Deal motion was ever apparent.

Following on Deal’s “motion,” Carr detailed at length the reasons that she would be voting against the motion.

Next up in the queue, Stevenson started talking about trees on the site. His concern for prospective tree loss appeared to be heartfelt and straightforward, albeit utterly muddled. Stevenson’s concerns led to some comment offered by the Cressey project arborist.

{I spoke at length with this arborist at the 21 May 2015 open house, and found him human and helpful. The Lawson Cypress trees that Cressey claims to “retain” at the corner of Commercial and East 18th would lose about one-third of root structure and suffer significantly shortened lifespan. Quite possibly, die fast from trauma. The northern trees in the grove would be cut, with the remaining trees left jammed right up against a six-storey building.]

When Stevenson’s concerns began to take on the form of a motion to delay discussion and decision — his words touched on getting information from the City arborist and on seeking pause of “a month” — Carr objected strenuously to the maneuver, asserting that this latitude had routinely been denied to her in past as not allowed by procedure. (How Louie could allow any of this discussion with a sort-of motion from Deal on the floor is not apparent.) Regularly interspersed with the Stevenson tree initiative were De Genova appeals to have a vote on time extension.

Eventually Carr’s series of set-to’s with Louie resulted in his asking the City Clerk for advice. The City Clerk went solo, rummaged and ruminated about procedure for quite a while, and then held a long whispery huddle with Louie as he sat in the mayor chair. Immediately following this private confab came what was arguably the weirdest single moment in a fraught evening. Acting Mayor Louie asked Kent Munro (Assistant Director of Planning — Vancouver Mid-town) for further guidance. Munro tossed that hot potato right back, saying that the City Clerk would know better, and that he was not prepared to say anything additional because of limits on his own grasp of Vancouver’s Procedure By-law.

After this point, memory grows sketchier, due to the acceleration and the frenzy. Ball held the floor, and while speaking, veered off into uncharacteristic venting of spleen over Louie’s treatment of Carr, and his evident violation of customary procedure. Meanwhile, De Genova arose, and Carr interacted with her, perhaps attempting to deter departure. Almost immediately after that, the four non-Vision councillors were acting in concert, standing up and exiting as rapidly as possible from the Council chamber. With little hesitation, the City Clerk declared the meeting terminated due to lack of quorum.

The foregoing narrative, based on my fairly well developed perceptions, leaves me with many questions and speculations and suppositions about the 3365 Commercial public hearing.

1.  How could such a defective report ever have been (a) prepared by planners (b) vetted by bureaucrats (c) referred to public hearing?
The policy failures are evident and stark. Most likely answers: (a) IRP is a vaunted policy falling far short of anticipated take-up. Anything, even if nonsensical, could look better than nothing. (b) Big-party big donors must be rewarded.

2.  Why were Jang, Meggs, Reimer, and Robertson all absent?
My very first thought was that none of these people had the stomach to put their name on a caucus-whipped vote to support a highly dubious implementation of a misbegotten “policy.” Warnings of trouble ahead could be seen in correspondence prior to referral to public hearing, in the formal public hearing correspondence, and in the list of registered speakers.

3.  How could Louie let Deal’s motion to approve the rezoning wander off into the Stevenson tree morass?
This may have been Louie’s single greatest failure as chair. It’s hard to imagine how Louie could ever function as mayor. This episode of “acting mayor” was not a class act.

4.  Why would Stevenson wander off into the tree topic at that point?
Simple, plausible, kind answer: Stevenson cares about trees. (Not forests.)

5.  Why would De Genova press so hard for a time extension and then lead a walk-out?
Possible answer: De Genova is a loose cannon willing to fire in any direction on short notice. Duck.

6.  What next?
Whatever the Vision caucus wants to do. That is the current governing policy in the City of Vancouver. And “legal department” has nothing to do with anything. (“Sue me and see.”)

Concluding thoughts.

1.  The NPA found a politically useful way to sidestep a 6-for versus 1-against vote that would cast a blinding light on the developer-whipped Vision-NPA axis. With more Vision present, NPA could pretend to oppose, and let Vision wear all the shame.

2.  This flame-out public hearing could create the space that Cressey and city planners need to revise the proposal and to rectify their heretofore gross disregard for existing policy. And maybe save the whole grove of Lawson Cypress for a healthy future. (Irrepressible optimism.)

3.  In the wake of the 3365 Commercial debacle, what sane developer would ever embark on the leaky, rotten, uncertain IRP ship?
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

26 May 2016 at 12:15 am

Commercial & E 18th Ave

 
Statements at Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial 24 May 2016

 
Below are reproduced the statements delivered at the public hearing by Joseph Jones as 8th registered speaker and Jeanette Jones as 9th registered speaker. For a separate account of the public hearing evening, see https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/gong-show/.

 
irp-2016-map-640
 
     Map of Six IRP Sites 2012-2016 as Referenced in Statement of Joseph Jones
 

 
jsph-3365-oral
 

 
jntt-3365-oral
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2016 at 11:00 am

3365 Commercial PH

leave a comment »

 
Letters of Joseph Jones and Jeanette Jones
To Mayor and Council on 20 May 2016

 
The following two letters respond to a proposal to approve rezoning of 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue at public hearing on 24 May 2016. Part of Norquay falls within the boundaries of Kensington-Cedar Cottage, the affected Vancouver neighborhood. Beyond this fact, the proposal would set unacceptable precedent for all of the City of Vancouver.

 
Joseph Jones at 3:33 pm
Public Hearing  —  24 May 2016
3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
I Joseph Jones OPPOSE the Cressey proposal to develop the northwest corner of Commercial Drive at East 18th Avenue for the following reasons:

 
1.  The various appeals to a grab-bag of supposedly applicable policies fail to stand up to scrutiny. One immediate piece of evidence for the shaky policy foundation is how the development site has been carved up into kludgy and dodgy subareas.

When I speak to Council at the public hearing, I will focus on outlining the dubious history of the Interim Rezoning Policy (effective 4 Oct 2012 | amended 2 Dec 2013 and 19 Apr 2016). A mapping of 2012-2016 IRP sites is provided as appendix to this letter.

 
2.  The off-arterial extension of non-ground-oriented housing form, into the area along East 18th Avenue, fails to respect the Interim Rezoning Policy requirement to provide

Ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3½ storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses and courtyard row houses (p. 2 of Appendix A: Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160420/documents/cfsc2.pdf)

A simulacrum end-run that proposes design “to emulate the rhythm and width of town homes” (p. 9) violates the Interim Rezoning Policy and is not acceptable. This aspect would set precedent for the entire City of Vancouver. A “3½-storey rental block” (p. 10) clearly is not a ground-oriented form.

 
3.  There is almost no local area support for the use of heritage bonusing in this proposal. To this significant degree of non-support add the fact that the limited assessment from the Vancouver Heritage Commission has been unusually negative. Planners have tellingly avoided taking the insufficient revision of the unacceptable proposal back to the Commission. This willful misuse of “heritage” provision amounts to scam.

 
4.  Discussion with the project arborist at an open house made it clear that keeping the “significant stand of five mature Lawson Cypress trees at the corner of the site” (p. 8) would be an empty gesture. With proposed development, the remaining trees would experience a serious 30% loss of root structure. The trees need more room, and the adjacent Lawson Cypress trees in the grove need to be retained. Unless the trees are given more space, a major existing green amenity will be eradicated (both immediately and by rapid death) from the neighborhood by this development proposal.

 
5.  The City of Vancouver proposes to hand over to big Vision-Vancouver-donor Cressey a piece of public land owned since 1939 — “nine percent of the total subject site area” (p. 16). To allow this would amount to extraction of value from the local area with no payback. This has become a depressing and regular pattern for how the City of Vancouver deals with East Vancouver.

Perhaps that money would be applied to the $55 million purchase price for the Arbutus corridor on the favored side of town? Despite already owning most of the land needed to deliver a Renfrew Ravine linear park (connecting Norquay Park with Renfrew Ravine), the City of Vancouver continues to fail to provide any part whatsoever of the amenity package specified under the 2010 Norquay Plan. A large area of East Vancouver is undergoing massive and rapid redevelopment with none of the promised corresponding improvement to public realm.

 
6.  The lengthy process for the site at Commercial and East 18th Avenue has seemed dominated by back room collusion between developer Cressey and the City of Vancouver. Despite extensive efforts made by local area residents to provide input, the end result has incorporated nothing significant from community feedback.

The City of Vancouver insulted a committed group of people with a stealth posting of 3 December 2015 “revisions to the application” — providing no notification to participants. In light of the foregoing comments, consider how little difference the following minor tweaks have made to address severe policy problems:

Revisions to the Application

December 3, 2015: Revised drawings were submitted on December 3, 2015 to address concerns raised by staff and the community. The overall density was reduced from 2.55 FSR to 2.40 FSR with a corresponding reduction in unit count from 118 residential units to 114 residential units. Increased setback and massing changes are proposed to the rental building, a reduction to the size of the proposed infill building on the heritage site, and the location of the underground parking ramp has been moved closer to Commercial Drive. In addition, the Transportation Study has been updated.

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/3365commercial/index.htm

 
Appendix: Mapping of the Six Proposals under Interim Rezoning Policy 2012-2016

 
irp-2016-map-640
 

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •

 
Jeanette Jones at 4:49 pm
Re: May 24 Public Hearing Item 3. Rezoning: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
I am opposed to the Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue for two main reasons.

 
1.  The 3.5-storey apartment building on East 18th Avenue does not meet the Form of Development/Location criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy.

Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street (i.e. 1.5 blocks), ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses and courtyard row houses  [Appendix A]

The phrase “ground-oriented forms” is commonly understood to mean the housing types listed above. The list does not include low-rise apartment buildings. In the case of this application, the City of Vancouver is implying that the presence of a few units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit, 3.5-storey apartment building a “ground-oriented building form.” This is contrary to accepted usage and to the Interim Rezoning Policy.

Appendix A of the IRP also states:

The intent of this Interim Rezoning Policy is to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground-oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on-going housing opportunities.

Building anything other than small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses or courtyard row houses on East 18th Avenue would defeat the clearly stated intent of the Interim Rezoning Policy. This application is the first under the IRP to include an area off the arterial street. It will set a precedent for future IRP applications across the City of Vancouver.

 
2.  The heritage component of this application does not have the support of the Heritage Commission or of the community.

The Vancouver Heritage Commission at its meeting on May 4, 2015 stated:

THAT the Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition;

FURTHER THAT the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.

The expectation of the community (and very likely, of the Heritage Commission itself) has been that a revised application would go back to the Commission for further review.

However, staff failed to send the revised application, submitted by the developer in December 2015, to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The Staff Report states that “staff have concluded that the revised proposal addresses the Commission’s concerns … ” (p. 11) But the only revisions that have been made to the heritage component of the application are that the massing of the “infill project adjacent” has been slightly reduced and the infill project has been moved a little further toward the back of the site. I do not believe that these small changes adequately address the concerns expressed in the Commission’s initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. Only minimal changes have been made to its new siting. The condition of the house remains very poor. The current treed “semi-rural” location of the “heritage house” is responsible for most of the 26 points it was given in the Statement of Significance, barely enough to assure a place on the “C” list. Moving the house will destroy most of its heritage value.

The community does not believe that the applicant should be given any additional density for moving and rehabilitating this house. The true heritage component of this site is the grove of large trees on the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue. These trees remain under threat because the proposed building envelope encroaches on the space needed by their rootballs if the trees are to survive.

I ask that you DO NOT APPROVE this application for the reasons given above.

 
Jeanette Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

20 May 2016 at 10:13 pm

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