P.S. on RM-9A

with 2 comments

The following material supplements the 16 September 2015 posting titled September 23rd Open House.

RM-9A is the designation that the City of Vancouver is using for new zoning for the Norquay Village Apartment Transition Area. The regulations for this new Norquay zone therefore derive from the schedule approved in June 2014 for the RM-9 zone in Marpole. We anticipate that details will differ for Norquay’s
RM-9A, but until the September 23 Open House unveiling we cannot know which ones. Relevant specifications for the RM-9 zone in Marpole have now been incorporated into an Eye on Norquay comparison table provided below. This preliminary work should make it easier to assess features proposed for the RM-9A zone in Norquay.

But Norquay is not Marpole.

The RM-9 zone in Marpole permits a variety of building forms, including low-rise apartments, stacked townhouses, and rowhouses. An important difference is that Marpole already has a considerable stock of
low-rise apartments on residential streets. The Marpole Community Plan also provides for other zones that will permit this housing form.

The Norquay Village Apartment Transition Area (to become the new RM-9A zone) is the only place in Norquay that permits low-rise apartments on residential streets.

If developers are from this point forward allowed to build stacked townhouses in this zone, Norquay will likely see very few low-rise apartments. One of the most important stated goals of the Norquay Plan is to increase housing options for residents. To permit stacked townhouses in RM-9A can only reduce or exclude the alternative apartment form.


               Key to Abbreviations in Comparison

        ATARP = Norquay Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy (May 2013)

        RM-7 = Norquay RM-7/RM-7-N Districts Schedule and Guidelines (May 2013)

        RM-9 = Marpole RM-9/RM-9N Districts schedule and Guidelines (June 2014)


Comparison of Current Zoning Guidelines in Norquay and Marpole

Building Form

ATARP   4-storey apartment

RM-7    Stacked townhouse / Traditional rowhouse
        [compared below]    [excluded from comparison]

RM-9    Low-rise apartment (4-storey) / Stacked townhouse / Rowhouse

Amenity Contribution

ATARP   CAC $15.00 per sq ft

RM-7    None

RM-9    Affordable housing or amenity share
        $108 per sq m ($10 per sq ft) for FSR increase between 0.75 and 1.2
        $592 per sq m ($55 per sq ft) for FSR above 1.2

Type of Parking

ATARP   Underground

RM-7    Uncovered surface spaces at lane

RM-9    Underground or surface spaces at lane

Required Parking Spaces

ATARP   Unspecified

RM-7    2 for every 3 units

RM-9    *** See footnote below ***



RM-7    No

RM-9    For apartment only

Maximum Height

ATARP   13.7 m  /  45 ft

RM-7    11.5 m  /  37.5 ft

RM-9    13.7 m  /  45 ft

Minimum Frontage

ATARP   15.2 m / 50 ft   —  except orphan lots
        [proposals so far have assembled 3 or 4 lots]

RM-7    12.8 m / 42 ft
        [12 of 14 proposals so far for 1 or 2 lots]

RM-9    12.8 m / 42 ft

Front Yard Setback

ATARP   3.7 m / 12 ft

RM-7    6.1 m / 20 ft

RM-9    4.9 m / 17 ft   or LESS

Side Yard Setback

ATARP   2.1 m / 7 ft

RM-7    1.2 m / 4 ft

RM-9    2.1 m / 7 ft   or LESS

Rear Yard Setback

ATARP   3.7 m / 12 ft

RM-7    Not applicable

RM-9    1.2 m / 4 ft

Courtyard Width

ATARP   9.1 m / 30 ft

RM-7    Not applicable

RM-9    7.4 m / 24 ft

Maximum Site Coverage

ATARP   Unspecified

RM-7    55%

RM-9    55%   or MORE

Maximum Floor Space Ratio (FSR)

ATARP   1.2 for single orphan lots only
        1.5 for frontage of 15.2 m / 50 ft
        2.0 for frontage of 27.4 m / 90 ft

RM-7    1.2

RM-9    1.2 for frontage of 12.8 m / 42 ft
        1.5 for frontage of 15.2 m / 50 ft
        2.0 for frontage of 27.4 m / 90 ft

Maximum Unit Density

ATARP   180 units per hectare for 1.5 FSR
        240 units per hectare for 2.0 FSR

RM-7    132 units per hectare at permitted 1.2 FSR

RM-9    132 units per hectare for 1.2 FSR
        180 units per hectare for 1.5 FSR
        240 units per hectare for 2.0 FSR

*** Footnote for RM-9 Required Parking Spaces ***

Section of Vancouver’s Parking Bylaw states that the
parking space requirement for RM-9 is

   a minimum of 0.5 space for every dwelling unit with less 
   than 50 sq m of gross floor area, and, a minimum of 0.6 
   space for every dwelling unit with 50 sq m or more of gross
   floor area, plus one space for each 200 sq m of gross floor
   area, except that, for every dwelling unit which has a gross
   floor area of 80 sq m or greater, there need be no more than
   1 space for every dwelling unit.  




Written by eyeonnorquay

19 September 2015 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Apt Zone Comment, News

2 Responses

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  1. I have just moved to the area (having been renovicted from my Riley Park home just last month) and until recently I had no idea what was being proposed at the Norquay area, or what was at stake. As far as I can see, what the developers want to do at Norquay is just as bad as the recently-approved one not far away, at Kingsway and Broadway, called The Rize. This is just as bad, if not worse. Here’s why:

    If I recall correctly, The Rize developers made a great effort to say how they intended to minimize impacts on the character of the adjacent neighbourhoods — although putting in a high rise where previously only mid-rises had existed is in itself a big impact. But at least the remaining residential streets are apparently being left alone. Not so at Norquay.

    At Norquay, not only is there a 404-unit 17 storey tower, Kensington Gardens, which is already underway, but the developers want to rezone several pockets of the small, quiet family neighbourhood that is between Victoria and Nanaimo, to allow for what they are calling an Apartment Transition Zone. This would completely alter the character of the area, which is reminiscent of Chinatown — whose residents have successfully preserved much of the area to remain as single family dwellings and duplexes, with lots of foliage, yards, and there’s a really large park on Prior Street.

    But in Norquay, as I am just discovering, there are very few parks, and Kingsway is already overloaded with demand on transit and parking. Disturbingly, on the map that illustrates the streets earmarked for housing density to be doubled and even quadrupled (with 4 storey and stacked townhouses being proposed) it fails to illustrate the Kensington Gardens development. Anyone who is not familiar with that enormous structure that is currently being built, will not likely look at the rezoning proposal in the real context that is now taking place, and will not make a fully-informed decision when considering the rezoning application, which looks to be very minor on paper. To allow further development and accompanying density would be terrible folly and would not enhance or respect the character of the neighbourhood at all.

    Quite the contrary. It would only place a further drain on the infrastructure of the area, which has few parks or community centres. And a strong urban planning principal is to respect the character of a neighbourhood. Some streets such as 30th Ave and 31st, and others, such as Little Street, are precisely that. They are small and narrow and would be dramatically altered if they were developed as planned in the current proposal. They are good the way they are. That’s why I moved into the area this summer. The houses are quaint and charming. The neighbourhood is green and quiet. There is a strong neighbourhood feeling there. All that would be gone if it was replaced by a bunch of square boxes, impersonal and expensive dwellings, and heavy demand on street parking by friends of all the new residents who will be flooding into the area at Kensington Gardens alone, never mind the occupants of the proposed Apartment Transition Zone.

    And what about the gentrification such development would pose? This is nowhere near my vision of a greenest city. If this rezoning development goes through, it will have a major impact on residents on those streets.

    I live on 32nd Ave near Gladstone on one of the blocks that is adjacent to some of the blocks within the proposed rezoning area. An alteration to those blocks would be completely incongruous with surrounding blocks such as mine, as they are all part of the same neighbourhood. And I dread the noise, high traffic and parking problems that would surely be part of the rezoned scenario and which would undoubtedly spill over onto MY street.

    And what if the rezoning is approved? It would be a matter of time before they propose higher towers or more streets to be part of the rezoned area.

    I could be another resident displaced yet again, because if the house I now live in was no longer there, I would be unlikely able to afford to live in the area anymore — an area I moved to because it offered affordable rent and because it is quiet, with plenty of trees and shrubbery, and with people relaxing in the yards and vegetable gardens they take pride in. But who will benefit if the rezoning happens? As far as I can see, only developers and those who stand to make money at the expense of neighbourhoods like ours and the people who live in them.

    I am only learning about all this now, thanks to a friend who showed me the small ad in the Courier. For an issue with its likely big impact on the Kingsway bus line in particular, there should have been a much better announcement about this. And for them to leave Kensington Gardens off the illustration makes it look like they are trying to hide the fact that there will soon be a big impact on the neighbourhood as it is. I know I am new to this issue, but I also know enough to realize there will be many more people in the area soon and that the area can not accommodate further densification without serious negative impacts on the neighbourhood and the city’s infrastructure resources. I mentioned parks and transit, but I imagine there would also be excessive demand on community centres and schools if the rezoning is approved.

    If you care about the future of our city, it’s time to stand together and say “Enough is enough.” If you can make it to the open house, that would be great. What is vital, however, is to submit your thoughts to the decision makers IN WRITING — that, is, the mayor and council. For the love of our city, and its residents who can’t speak (birds and bees) please stand up and say NO to the rezoning. Whatever you say or whoever you say it to, remember to cc mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca and they will all see what YOU think.

    Marilyn Hogan

    23 September 2015 at 4:41 am

  2. Welcome to Norquay, and thanks for your engagement with our local planning. It’s a busy day with the Sept 23 Norquay Open House coming up this evening, so no time now for anything but this brief response. Maybe we’ll meet you at the Open House.


    23 September 2015 at 10:36 am

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