September Letter

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The following letter prepared by Jeanette Jones is being sent on 6 September 2011 to our Norquay contact list. In regard to the most immediate concern, proposed development at 2298 Galt Street, the only information that has been provided so far to the general community is two thin bits with very limited distribution and little prominence:

    •  A yellow notification postcard
    •  A sign board at 2298 Galt Street

Plan now to attend the 13 September 2011 developer open house at 2239 Kingsway and to register your opinion. When this goes to public hearing, your comment will be part of the file. In the case of 2267-2703 Kingsway, Council showed undue respect to a strange comment file: “All 52 comment sheets were in support of the rezoning application.” Earlier, planners threw out a formal Norquay survey of June 2007 when they did not like the result, and complained of “coaching” and “ballot stuffing.” This totally positive result shows far more evidence of skew, yet planners and Council do not question and disparage the result because it says what they want to hear. A file for 2298 Galt Street will be maintained in the Eye on Norquay Rezonings category.

 
Hi Everyone,

We hope all of you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer. We want to bring you up to date on recent developments in the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre.

1.  A development application has been received for a single lot in the transitional “apartment” zone.

The site at 2298 Galt Street (behind the new 4-storey building at 2239 Kingsway, on the north side of Kingsway between Nanaimo and Gladstone) is to be rezoned to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) to allow the construction of a 4-storey residential building with an FSR of 1.19. This “building” would actually consist of two buildings (front 34.6 feet x 37.5 feet; back 34.6 feet x 40.4 feet; height of 38.7 feet) separated by a courtyard space of approximately 25 feet. The building closest to Galt would be four storeys tall and contain two principal dwelling units and be set back approximately 10 feet from the front property line. (This setback is about half of what exists for the front yards of the existing 9 houses to the west and 11 houses to the east.) The other building would be three storeys tall (tops of the buildings would be the same height because the land slopes), would also contain two principal dwelling units, and would be set very close to the rear lane. One of the dwelling units would contain a lock-off suite. Two parking spaces would be included inside each of the buildings (4 in total), accessible from the lane that runs beside the site. Planners have told us that this rezoning application reflects the kind of built-form that they expect will be permitted everywhere under the emerging 4-storey apartment Transition Zone in the Norquay Plan for single-lot developments.

This development application raises several concerns:

A.  There has been no discussion with the community about the Transition Zone. The Open House held in April 2011 dealt only with new housing types in the Duplex, Stacked Townhouse, and Traditional Rowhouse Zones. The Transition Zone was not included in that presentation. Nothing should be built in this zone until the community is consulted. The proposal presented to the Working Group mentioned only 4-storey apartment buildings that would require assembly of at least three lots. Nowhere have design guidelines for this zone been presented to or discussed with the community.

B.  The site at 2298 Galt Street is not a typical lot in the Transition Zone. It is wider [46.4 feet frontage x 102.7 (west) / 121.2 feet (east)] than the standard 33 x 122 ft. lot. There is also a lane running beside the site, which gives more options for parking spaces and allows more light to enter the buildings. This site is not representative enough to act as a “test” — or a precedent for anything permitted elsewhere in the Transition Zone.

C.  Planners tell us that the difference between the Floor Space Ratio permitted on a single lot (1.19) and the FSR permitted on a three-lot parcel (approximately 2.0 FSR) will be incentive enough to encourage developers to assemble three lots. Developing single lots under this zoning does not seem likely to interest developers large enough and experienced enough to build 4-storey apartment buildings on three lots. But single-lot development will be very attractive to smaller developers accustomed to building single family houses or duplexes. Once a block has one or two single-lot developments, it will become much more difficult to assemble three lots. Haphazard and inconsistent development may result in an unattractive streetscape — especially around Norquay Park where so much will be visible at a single glance.

There is an Open House for this development on 13 September 2011, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 2239 Kingsway. Drawings should be available already, but in fact are not. Watch for them at

        http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/2298galt/index.htm

Written comments may be emailed to:  grant.miller@vancouver.ca  It is important to communicate your opinion.

2.  Rezoning has been approved by Council for 2667-2703 Kingsway.

A 12-storey and a 4-storey building are planned for this site. Detailed planning is now underway. The next step is that this plan will be taken to the Development Permit Board, probably sometime in the fall. The development application can be viewed at

        http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/2699kingsway/index.htm

Concerns about this development include:

A.  The Public Amenities and Infrastructure Financing Strategy promised in the Norquay Plan has not been developed. CACs generated by this project (slightly more than $100,000) are going to be used to mitigate the shadowing that this development will cast on the Duke Street daycare.

B.  The 40-foot-wide “plaza” separating the two buildings is to serve as the entrance to the future Renfrew Ravine Linear Park. As currently designed, it will serve primarily as a plaza for the residents of the development, since the main doors to both buildings face the plaza rather than Kingsway. We have suggested that special paving be used to denote the pathway to the park, and that the Duke Street daycare be moved immediately so that the pathway could connect Duke Street to Kingsway even before the rest of the park is built. Planners have assured us that the connection will be wider than the 20 foot opening at the rear of the site that is shown on the development application.

Your input to the final plan can be sent to:  paul.cheng@vancouver.ca

3.  The Canadian Tire Site at Kingsway and Gladstone is in process of being sold to a developer.

We will provide details as they become available.

4.  A development application has been received for 4892 Clarendon.

This is the current site of the Eldorado Liquor Store on the northwest corner of Kingsway and Slocan. A 5-storey building is proposed. We will provide details as they become available.

To keep up with news of what is happening in Norquay, check the Eye on Norquay web site at

        https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com

It is important to continue to let planners know your opinions. Attend Open Houses and fill out comment sheets. If you can’t make the Open House, send an email. Although it may seem as if our comments are usually disregarded, things will become far worse if we say nothing.

 
Yours for a better neighbourhood,

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

6 September 2011 at 10:37 am

Posted in Events, News

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