Bars on the Street
Bad Message: Density Means Increased Danger
The following letter has been sent to our Norquay mailing list. We believe that it identifies an important issue that has implications not only for Norquay, but for all RM-9 zones across Vancouver.
The City of Vancouver is trying to minimize the number of new zones. Rather than writing an entirely new set of zoning regulations and guidelines for each new zone, planning staff where possible are adding a few tweaks to existing regulations and identifying the new zone by a letter behind the number. Hence, RM-9/9N in Marpole, RM-9A-9AN in Norquay, and the proposed RM-9B/9BN in the Joyce Precinct. Any precedent set in one zone will affect all of these zones, as well as any future RM-9 zones. In the same way, precedent set by Norquay in the RM-7/7N zone would affect the proposed RM-7A/7AN zone in the Joyce Precinct.
Please redistribute this letter to your community networks.
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Dear Friends of Norquay,
Two years ago, a precedent-setting development application proposed to fill a front yard with outside stairways to the second storey of the first stacked townhouse development in Norquay’s RM-7 zone. Thanks to letters of opposition from within Norquay and across the City, this proposal was turned around. All of the 20+ stacked townhouse development proposals that Norquay has seen since that time have interior stairways to the upper storeys. Let’s do it again!
The first application under Norquay’s new RM-9A zoning — for 4 storey apartment in the Kingsway transition zone — has been posted on the City of Vancouver Development Application web site. Implementations of a new housing type require close scrutiny, because damaging precedent can be set. Not all details are specified in zoning schedules. Information about this project for 4894 Slocan Street can be seen at:
We are particularly concerned that the applicant is proposing to lock off the entry courtyard behind a “secured gate.” [Shown in the site plan.] The required wide entry courtyard leading to the building entrance is one of the more attractive features of apartment buildings in RM-9 zones. One stated intent of this building form is “to encourage activation of residential street life.” [RM-9, RM-9A, RM-9N and RM-9AN Guidelines, Section 1.1(a)] To set up a locked barrier between this building and the City sidewalk on Slocan Street would do the opposite. This unfriendly and unneighbourly feature has no precedent in any comparable building project in Norquay.
The zoning regulations and guidelines do not expressly prohibit the “secured gate.” A large public outcry against the proposal is the only way to stop this unwelcome precedent being set not only in Norquay, but in all current and future RM-9 zones across the City. RM-9 type zoning has also been applied to Marpole, is proposed for Joyce Station area, and seems probable for Grandview-Woodland. This is a template zoning, with unspecified details likely to spread to all areas.
Please send your comments as soon as possible to:
Official deadline for comment is June 17, 2016, but comments are accepted and considered until the decision date. We expect that the decision on this first RM-9A application will take some time. Although we see the locked-off entry courtyard as the most urgent issue, we encourage you to include any other feedback you would like to give on this application. Our already submitted comment can be seen at:
Yours for a better Norquay,
Jeanette and Joseph Jones