Archive for July 2015
Proposed for 2395-2443 Kingsway
The City of Vancouver’s Rezoning Applications web site lists a new development application for 2395-2443 Kingsway (north side between Nanaimo and Clarendon Streets). Seven assembled parcels result in a site that measures 297 x 106.5 ft. The proposal includes 126 residential units and 154 underground parking spaces. The developer is Dalit Thind and the architect is Ankenman Marchand.
Here are two sketches of what the project might look like:
The land assembly has occurred in a location that the Norquay Plan specifies for a pedestrian connection between Kingsway and Galt Street. This is one of three places where there is a need to break up very long blocks along the north side of Kingsway. At these three points the Norquay Plan allows for a tower with a maximum height of 12 storeys. The other buildings along the 297-foot frontage show as 4 storeys.
The application can be viewed on the City of Vancouver’s web site at
The development proposal generally seems to conform to requirements of the Norquay Plan. The main area of concern so far is the amount of glass shown for the tower. A recorded preference of the Norquay community was for brick finish for any towers along Kingsway, and for avoidance of green glass. Colours for exterior finish materials have not yet been decided on.
In fall 2015 there will be an open house where City of Vancouver staff and the applicant will be available to answer questions. Eye on Norquay will post this information when it becomes available. Comments can be submitted in writing at the open house, or at any time using the on-line feedback link on the web site.
News broke yesterday that Brian Jackson plans to retire at the end of 2015 after a three-year stint as chief of City of Vancouver planning.
When Jackson arrived in 2012, the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan was in wind-down mode — two-thirds of the way along from November 2010 Council approval to 2013 nail-down with public hearings on new zoning schedules and amenities and benefits strategy.
Jackson’s most significant action in Norquay has been to bow low to every intention that Westbank expressed for the 2.3 acre Canadian Tire site at 2220 Kingsway (within the bare Norquay Plan constraints of tower height and FSR), and to permit serious abuse of the requirement that a “plaza” be provided. Jackson put extra grease on the skids by deciding that one of the three most massive projects that Norquay could experience under the plan did not have to undergo review by the Development Permit Board. (This would have been one of only three opportunities normally provided for public comment, the other two being initial open house and public hearing for rezoning.) One concrete example of the “consultation” style of Brian Jackson.
In a 27 July 2015 interview on CBC Early Edition, Jackson said this:
There have been the large policy initiatives like Marpole, the West End plan, the Downtown Eastside plan, are all now being successfully implemented. The other implementation strategies that have been put in place in Norquay and Mount Pleasant are resulting in development applications in those areas.
As far as implementation of any local area plan goes, it seems clear that all Jackson and his Council masters care about is manufacturing a flow of development applications. There is no talk here of enhancement of amenity to serve new densities of population and traffic. Much less the concurrent provision of amenity promised in the Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision.
And here’s a report on the same day of something Jackson said to the Vancouver Courier:
I’m very proud of landing three very complex area plans [Downtown Eastside, Marpole and West End]. It’s also landing plans that actually have implementation strategies attached to them. It’s really looking at planning, not only in terms of doing bubble diagrams and pretty pictures, it’s devising plans that set out what the future land uses are for an area, set out what the community benefits could be and who’s going to pay for them and when they’ll occur.
What the community benefits could be. That mode of speech is conditional, and the bitter experience so far is no delivery. “When they’ll occur.” Has a clear timeline ever been specified for any local area subjected to a planning process?
The City of Vancouver’s interest seems to lie in ramping up development applications and city revenues from permits, fees, and property taxes. In other words, extracting value from ever more unhappy neighborhoods, not in adding value to them.
Also see: Slapdash Negligence
Comment on Development Application DE418819 under RT-11 Zoning
8 July 2015
We commend the applicant for proposing to retain and renovate one of the very few houses in Norquay that are currently listed on the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Register. However, this development application has several major problems.
The proposed FSR for this application is 1.12. This is 30% more than the zoned FSR of 0.85 for RT- 11. The zoned unit density of 74 units per hectare works out to 8.25 units on this site, and 11 units are proposed. Although additional density is allowed for heritage revitalization, such a bonus would be excessive. This goes far beyond the “bonus of on-site density of approximately 10%” that is cited as “typically yielded” by proforma reviews in the RS and RT zones [Heritage Proforma Review — Interim Policy, Effective June 11, 2014, p. 1]. Livability would compromised, as we detail below.
The overflow from the proposed 8 parking spaces for 11 units (with no visitor parking) will make it difficult for neighbours and their visitors to park on the street. Except for the bus route along E. 41st Avenue, this site is not close to convenient and reliable public transportation. Most residents and their can be expected to use cars.
1. The proposed density results in far too little open space on the site.
(a) It is difficult to determine the dimensions of the enhanced side yard from the site plan, but the proposal does not appear to meet the provisions of the RT-11 District Schedule (Section 4.5). This enhanced side yard is to be “additional” (4.5.3). It should not include any of the area separating the house from the fence along the north or south property lines.
(b) Although the larger duplexes at the front of the site and the heritage house have porches or terraces attached to the primary units, screening of the terraces seems inadequate to ensure privacy. Units in the two smaller duplexes at the back of the site do not appear to have any private open space.
2. All of the walkways consist of crushed limestone. This will make them more difficult to walk on, impossible to shovel effectively when there is snow, and hard to maintain since weeds will grow through the gravel. Permeable paving stones should be used instead. Fruit trees (T5 and T6) typically feature low branches and dropped fruit, and should not overhang walkways.
3. The plantings between buildings and fences will be difficult to access and maintain, and should be limited to hardy ground covers. The planting in the northwest corner of the site is especially invisible and inaccessible. The space might be better used as a terrace for one of the back units. The small area of turf in the back yard should be replaced by plantings.
No city sidewalk exists along the west side of Wales Street between East 38th Avenue and East 41st Avenue. A development application has recently been approved for the site immediately to the south (5473 Wales). At a minimum, a sidewalk should be put in place on the west side of Wales Street between 5473 Wales and East 38th Avenue to improve walkability in the neighbourhood.
Please address these problems before approving the application.
Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones