5550 Dundee Street
Comment on Development Application DE417599 under RT-11 Zoning
26 February 2014
I. Enhanced Sideyard
The zoning guidelines state that enhanced sideyards in the RT-11 zone
should be designed (i) as a focus of development and an organizing element, not as ‘leftover’ space; (ii) as a primary outlook and entrance for units in the middle and rear sections of a site (iii) to provide sufficient distance, screening, landscape, and outlook considerations for the mutual comfort of dwellings overlooking the space. (Appendix I, 7.2)
The proposed sideyard does not meet these conditions. It is obviously space left over after the applicant has mechanically inserted a variation of his standard infill design (see other Fuho applications for 2748 East 40th Avenue and 4517 Nanaimo Street). The front entrances of neither Building B nor Building C face the sideyard. Placing the “utilities area” (aka garbage and yard waste bins) in the centre of the sideyard certainly does not make it more attractive or usable for anyone.
The application for 2899 East 41st Avenue provides a model for how to deal with garbage in the RT-11 zone. Each unit has a built-in storage area (with doors) for garbage and yard waste bins. This should be required of all RT-11 developments with more than three units.
The peculiar shape of this site creates some challenges for the architect. More work is required to meet those challenges.
II. Unopened Lanes
At present a 10 ft. wide unopened lane exists between 5494 (changed from 5482) Dundee Street and 5550 (changed from 5522) Dundee Street. This lane lines up with an existing paved lane between 5505 and 5511 Killarney Street. Across the street, there is a similar lane between 5495 and 5511 Dundee Street. This lane lines up with an existing paved lane between 5494 and 5514 Earles Street. Both unopened lanes are covered in untended meadow and not usable. The current development applications for both 5494 Dundee Street and 5550 Dundee Street provide an impetus to consider the future of these laneways.
One of the goals of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan is to make our community more walkable (Section 5.0-5.1, p. 61-62). In some parts of Norquay, very long blocks often discourage residents from walking. The unopened lanes on Dundee Street are located in such an area. During the planning process, city staff cited the opening of these lanes as an example of the kind of benefit that would come to Norquay as a result of more dense development.
These laneways could easily be enhanced to serve as pedestrian connectors. At only 10 ft. wide, they are too narrow for two cars to pass. There is little advantage to be gained by making the laneways accessible to cars, since Dundee Street ends at 40th Avenue and does not connect to 41st Avenue. Turning the unopened lanes into a pathway edged by some low maintenance plantings would improve the community’s public realm in an attractive and functional way..
Three development applications under the new RT-11 zoning have been submitted so far in the immediate neighbourhood of these lanes (5494 Dundee, 5550 Dundee and 2899 East 41st), and others can be expected. Here is an opportunity to provide an inexpensive “amenity” to a part of Norquay that is unlikely to see any other benefit from development for some time to come.
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Supplementary Comment on 5500 Dundee Street
(with Attention Also Given to 5494 Dundee Street Redevelopment)
4 March 2014
Since submitting my original comment on the development application for 5500 Dundee Street, I have become aware that regulation 4.11.1 of the RT-11 District Schedule reads as follows:
Dedication of Land for Lane Purposes
Where a site does not abut a lane, or abuts a lane which is less than 6.1 m in width, a portion of the site, as determined by the City Engineer, to a maximum of 3.1 m, shall be dedicated for lane purposes.
There is a 10 ft. wide unopened lane between these two properties. I believe that no land was dedicated for lane purposes when the development application for 5494 Dundee Street was approved recently.
As I stated in my original comment, my personal preference is for the unopened lane allowance between these two properties (together with a similar unopened lane allowance opposite, on the west side of Dundee Street) to become a pedestrian connector. This could be done without widening the lane. This continues to be my personal preference.
However, I am commenting as a Norquay resident concerned about implementation of the Norquay plan and the resulting zoning regulations. I do not live in the immediate vicinity of these properties. If immediate neighbours express a clear preference for widening and paving the lane allowance between 5500 Dundee Street and 5494 Dundee Street, I believe that the City of Vancouver is required to dedicate land for this purpose.
In any case, leaving the unopened lane allowance in its current undeveloped state is not an option.