Archive for March 2015
To see the correspondence that is replied to below, see the previous posting titled Going Through the Motions. (The Rezoning Applications web site now [12:30 am March 28] shows a rescheduling to 15 April 2015, but the file for 2312-2328 Galt Street still shows the old date.)
* * * * * *
from: Jackson, Brian (PDS) to: "Joseph Jones" cc: "Robertson, Gregor" , "Reimer, Andrea" , "Deal, Heather" , "Ballem, Penny" , "Munro, Kent" , "Naylor, Michael" , "Zeng, Yan" date: Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 2:00 PM subject: RE: Open letter to Brian Jackson on Notice of Rezoning Application and Community Open House for 2312-2328 Galt Street mailed-by: vancouver.ca
Dear Mr. Jones,
Thank you for your letter concerning the date for the Open House for a rezoning application for 2312-2328 Galt Street. We have taken immediate action as outlined herein.
You are absolutely correct that this date is not appropriate. It is not the City’s practice to schedule consultation events immediately around long weekends, statutory holidays or other significant cultural or religious observances. Staff normally schedule around these known dates; in this particular case, in the haste to secure one of few room bookings at the Renfrew Community Centre, there was an oversight in recognizing that the Friday following the available date was a statutory holiday.
Immediate steps have been taken this morning to reschedule the open house to a more suitable date. We know that the community prefers to have such events at the community centre but it may need to take place at a different venue because of limited availability at the Renfrew Community Centre in April. In any case, residents will be informed of the new event details.
Thank you for bringing this error to our attention and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that this may have caused you. It would be most helpful if you could assist in getting the word out to the community about our error on this by posting this note to your website.
Brian J. Jackson, MCIP
General Manager, Planning and Development Services
CITY OF VANCOUVER | [p] 604 873 7034
* * * * * *
from: Joseph Jones to: "Jackson, Brian (PDS)" cc: "Robertson, Gregor" , "Reimer, Andrea" , "Deal, Heather" , "Ballem, Penny" , "Munro, Kent" , "Naylor, Michael" , "Zeng, Yan" date: Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 12:06 AM subject: RE: Open letter to Brian Jackson on Notice of Rezoning Application and Community Open House for 2312-2328 Galt Street mailed-by: vancouver.ca
Dear Brian Jackson –
Your prompt and helpful response is appreciated. I and others can now look forward to being able to attend a rescheduled and more convenient Open House for 2312-2328 Galt Street.
Since Norquay had experienced a previous problem with a meeting scheduled for Chinese New Year on 3 February 2011, it was not clear that the City of Vancouver had any established practice about scheduling. It is good to hear that such policy exists, and that these two unfortunate instances resulted from oversights.
As you request, I am posting your response to Eye on Norquay with appropriate cross-linking.
For response of 27 March 2015, see Brian Jackson Replies.
26 March 2015
Open Letter to Brian Jackson
General Manager, Planning and Development Services, City of Vancouver
cc: Penny Ballem, City Manager, City of Vancouver
cc: Gregor Robertson, Mayor, City of Vancouver
cc: Andrea Reimer, Deputy Mayor and Appointee to Vancouver City Planning Commission
cc: Heather Deal, Chair, Standing Committee on Planning, Transportation, and Environment
This Open Letter is being posted to Eye on Norquay on the day following email to addressees.
One of the four stated priority issues of the City of Vancouver’s Engaged City Task Force is
Improving the way the City consults with citizens on policy
Consider the following case in light of that “priority.” First, see immediately below exhibit of
Notice of Rezoning Application and Community Open House for 2312-2328 Galt Street
postmarked 19 March 2015 and received 24 March 2015:
Two aspects of this notification demonstrate that the City of Vancouver notion of “engagement” amounts to little more than going through the motions, plodding through a process needed to shove through yet one more Vancouver rezoning application. The subtext: input from residents of Vancouver is NOT WANTED, and we perform this “public consultation” only because we have to.
One — Mailed-to area residents have been given an effective nine days (seven working days) of notice that the open house will be held.
Two — The open house is scheduled for Thursday 2 April 2015 from 5 pm to 8 pm. This is the evening that precedes a four-day long weekend, one of the two most concentrated periods of official time-off for everyone in our annual calendar.
Because of lack of adequate notice coupled with the extremely poor timing, I will not be able to go to this open house in our immediate local area. I would have attended with great interest, since this proposed development will establish crucial precedent for Transition Zone policy under the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre mass rezonings of 2010-2013.
In no way do I hold city planners responsible for this state of affairs. It is apparent that they face extreme pressures from the persons who direct them, which is why this comment is directed to you.
On a previous occasion, all of Norquay was subjected to an even greater lack of consideration. What proved to be our last-ever meeting of Norquay Working Group took place on 3 February 2011 — Chinese New Year. The disrespect that City of Vancouver showed to the 48% Chinese population of Norquay at that time was beyond belief. This open house for 2312-2328 Galt Street continues in that same sad tradition.
Will this abuse by City of Vancouver of its residents ever let up?
As persons responsible for City of Vancouver planning, you need to establish overall policy governing timelines for adequate notification and parameters for acceptable event dates.
Monitoring the Norquay Plan — Report No. 1 (March 2015)
A separate posting of fifteen photos of Norquay duplexes from February 2015 accompanies this evaluation.
This overall review of the 2010-2013 Norquay Plan starts with residential areas, and focuses on the most prevalent new housing type, the duplex. Remark is added for single-family house, a permitted form which is not new. See note appended below on context for brief description of the Norquay Plan and a listing of aspects yet to be reviewed. 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.
A developer can build duplexes outright anywhere in two of three of Norquay’s residential zones (RT-11 and RM-7, but not Transition). Duplex development can include a secondary suite for each unit but not a laneway house. Some sites in RT-11 may qualify for additional infill small houses. There are no formal design guidelines for duplexes in Norquay. However, regulations govern things like height, yards, site coverage of the building, etc. In Norquay, regulations also call for such features as pitched roofs and main doors that face the street. These regulations can be found in Section 4 of the RT-11 and RM-7 District Schedules at
Since 2013, and as of February 2015, the City of Vancouver has issued 44 development permits for duplexes in Norquay. This is by far the most popular form of development to date in our residential zones. Small developers are attracted by the possibility of building denser housing quickly on a single lot.
In general, duplexes with front/back units are being built on narrow, deep lots and side-by-side units on wider lots. The front yard setback is usually in line with neighbouring houses. Back yards are small. The quality of the design varies considerably.
Unit size ranges from approximately 1200 sq. ft. to 2000 sq. ft., with a median size of 1550 sq. ft. The observed asking price range (not inclusive) is $719,000 to $1,098,000, with a median asking price of $899,000 for each unit.
Photos of 15 duplexes completed in Norquay as of February 2015 can be viewed in a separate posting, along with prices and square footages where available.
Single Family Houses
Any residential RT-11 or RM-7 or Transition site in Norquay may be developed outright as a single family dwelling. “Outright” land uses are those that are permitted by the City of Vancouver, provided that all the regulations and provisions of the Zoning and Development Bylaw and the Parking Bylaw are met. The builder does not need to go through a lengthy development application process, where the proposal is evaluated according to formal development guidelines and impact on neighbours is considered. A single family dwelling built in Norquay follows city-wide RS-1 (Single Family Dwelling) regulations. They can be found at
Since Norquay’s new zoning was passed in spring 2013, the City of Vancouver has issued 15 development permits for new single family dwellings. We have not observed any new single family houses being advertised for sale, possibly because these sites are being redeveloped by existing owners.
In addition, we have noticed 3 major renovations of existing single family houses in Norquay since 2013.
Note: Subsequent monitoring reports are anticipated for RT-11 (Small House/Duplex) Zone 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.
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.
The photos below complement a review of new duplexes built since implementation of Norquay Plan zoning in spring 2013. (Half-duplex price and sq ft data is given as discovered, with no specification attempted for particular side or sub-unit.)
Photo 1 of 15 — 2187 / 2189 East 34th Avenue — $899,800 — 1465 sq ft
Photo 2 of 15 — 2457 /2459 Brock Street — $875,000 — 1550 sq ft
Photo 3 of 15 — 2463 / 2465 Brock Street — $888,000 — ??? sq ft
Photo 4 of 15 — 5444 / 5446 Clarendon Street — $ ??? — ??? sq ft
Photo 5 of 15 — 2735 / 2737 Duke Street — $ ??? — ??? sq ft
Photo 6 of 15 — 2795 / 2799 Horley Street — $ ??? — ??? sq ft
Photo 7 of 15 — 4816 / 4818 Earles Street — $899,000 — 1407 sq ft
Photo 8 of 15 — 4888 / 4898 Earles Street — $798,000 — 1420 sq ft
Photo 9 of 15 — 5069 / 5071 / 5073 Nanaimo Street — $898,000 — 1558 sq ft
Photo 10 of 15 — 5092 / 5094 Nanaimo Street — $798,000 — 1417 sq ft
Photo 11 of 15 — 5606 /5608 Rhodes Street — $1,098,000 — 1994 sq ft
Photo 12 of 15 — 4833 / 4835 Slocan Street — $853,000 — 1753 sq ft
Photo 13 of 15 — 5495 / 5499 Slocan Street — $ ??? — ??? sq ft
Photo 14 of 15 — 5551 / 5557 Slocan Street — $1,018,000 — 1960 sq ft
Photo 15 of 15 — 5554 (1 & 2) Wales Street — $1,098,000 — 1994 sq ft
All photos taken on morning of 19 February 2015.
On Friday afternoon 20 March 2015, a sizeable subarea of East Vancouver experienced a 3.5 hour power shutdown between 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm. It took a BC Hydro repair crew about three hours to arrive on scene. Power was lost because a light wind either broke or detached a long protective flag line, leaving two loose ends to snare across high-tension power wires. This failure seems to have resulted either from use of defective/substandard materials or incompetent installation.
If the 2220 Kingsway area has experienced this degree of impact at a very early stage of Westbank’s massive construction project for Kensington Gardens, how much more can local residents expect to suffer in the future?
The story follows in chronological sequence.
On Friday February 13 contaminated sludge went straight into an unprotected sewer grate at 2220 Kingsway. Eye on Norquay reported this event on February 16.
In the two days following the report, electrical contractors appeared to install the multiple transformers needed to power the remediation equipment that had been bypassed in the sludge dump. Below see electricians at work on the afternoon of 17 February 2015. The sign on the truck door says Rokstad.
The protective flag line stretched across Kingsway at that time held up for slightly over one month.
Below see the south end of the tangled flag line prior to crew arrival:
Once the BC Hydro crew arrived on scene, they dealt quickly and efficiently with the problem. But it took about three hours for them to show up. At 4:00 pm the BC Hydro power outage telephone service was estimating a restoration of service by 6:00 pm. By 7:00 pm the timeframe estimate had shifted to 9:00 pm. Here are three photos of the BC Hydro crew in action:
Comment on Development Application DE418640 under RM-7 Zoning
9 March 2015
There are things we like about this application:
1. The bike lockers are hidden inside the building and under the stairs. They do not take up limited open space in the yard.
2. The building is stepped to conform to the grade of the site. This breaks up the building form and makes the building appear less massive.
However, this application fails to respect several RM-7 zoning guidelines:
1. There are no three bedroom units. The RM-7 Guidelines state: “The intent of these Guidelines is to (a) Encourage the development of ground-oriented, medium-density multiple dwellings in the form of rowhouses and stacked townhouses, the majority of which are suitably sized for families (i.e. three bedroom units).” (p. 1)
2. The units are far too small. All ten units are smaller than the 1200 sq. ft. that is a “key parameter” of a typical stacked townhouse in the RM-7 zone (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan Implementation Report adopted by Council after the public hearing of April 9, 2013, p.11). Half the units are less than 1000 sq. ft.
3. Living rooms are too narrow. The RM-7 Guidelines state that for stacked townhouses, “The minimum width of major living spaces (e.g. living rooms) of any dwelling unit should not be less than 4.2 m (14 ft.).” (Section 2.2.2(b)(iv). The living rooms of these units are as narrow as 11.5 ft.
For these reasons, we believe that this application should not be approved in its present form.
Jeanette and Joseph Jones