5441 Wales Street
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