New Housing Types Unveiled
The following notice is being distributed to Vancouver residents through various email networks
New Vancouver Housing Types Will Be Unveiled in Norquay
The City of Vancouver intends to permit the building of new medium density housing types within 1.5 blocks of every street designated as an “arterial” under the provisions of the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordability [ http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Final_task_force_report_brochure.pdf ] The report mentions Norquay as prototype for these new housing types (p. 10).
The Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan [ http://vancouver.ca/docs/planning/norquay-community-plan-2010.pdf ] passed by Council in November 2010 included provision for four new housing types: small house/duplex, rowhouse, stacked townhouse, and four-storey apartment. More than two years later, planners have scheduled two Open Houses in Norquay for Wednesday, January 23 and Saturday, January 26 to inform residents about details for two of the new housing types. The first, designated as RT-11, is a small house/duplex zoning. The second, designated as RM-7, is a stacked townhouse/rowhouse zoning. It appears that two of the new housing types approved in 2010 are being conflated into a single zoning. A second component of the Open House will be information about future public benefits that Norquay could expect to receive from increased density. The Norquay Plan calls for a “Public Benefits Financial Strategy” that explains how these benefits will be paid for.
Norquay residents are concerned that city planners want to make the provisions of the 2010 Norquay Plan less stringent. At the last Open House in April 2011, drawings showed rowhouse units as narrow as 12.5 feet, although the Norquay Plan specified that rowhouse units must be at least 16 feet wide. Stacked townhouses built on two or more lots were shown with 3.5 storeys, rather than the 2 full storeys and partial third storey described in the 2010 Norquay Plan. Although Norquay residents will see no details until the day of the Open House, we fear that this kind of “creep” already experienced may go even farther. At this point there is very little detail available about the public benefits we might expect, or how they would be paid for.
All Vancouver residents will be affected by what happens in Norquay. We ask you to attend one of these Open Houses. Bring your friends and neighbours. Put questions to the planners and make your opinions known. This is your only real chance to affect regulations governing these new housing types that seem destined to land in your neighbourhood as well. By the time these zoning specifications go to Council, it will be very difficult to change anything.
Specific things to look at:
1. Housing Types — Width of the units, FSR, front yard setbacks, backyards (or lack of), roof line, retention of character houses, parking provisions, strata vs. fee simple title.
2. Public Benefits — How much real public benefit is there? How is it to be paid for? Do the benefits match those given priority in the Norquay Plan (a flexible neighbourhood gathering space on the 2400 Motel site, completion of the Renfrew Ravine Linear Park, expansion of green space)?
Please fill out the comment form provided by the City, or write your own observations and ask to have them included with the comment forms. Comments can be submitted online for some time after the open house. If you can’t attend in person, the information should become available after January 26 on the City of Vancouver web site somewhere at http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/norquay-village-neighbourhood-centre-plan.aspx. A detailed analysis of city proposals will be provided at Eye on Norquay [ https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com ] as soon as possible after the Open House.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Jeanette Jones / Joseph Jones — Residents of Norquay
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Norquay Village Plan Open Houses
Wednesday, January 23, 4 pm to 8 pm
Cunningham Elementary School (gymnnasium)
2330 E. 37th Avenue
Saturday, January 26, 11 am to 3 pm
Norquay Elementary School (gymnasium)
4710 Slocan Street