Rezoning of KCC RT-10

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Submission to Mayor and Council Re: Public Hearing 18 September 2018 – Agenda Item 6
REZONING: Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for RT-7 and RT-8 Zones (Kitsilano)
and RT-10 and RT-10N Zones (Kensington-Cedar Cottage) to Increase Housing Choice

The City of Vancouver proposes to rezone the RT-10 District of the Kingsway-Knight Neighbourhood Centre to RT-11. The Report Summary states that this change “will address the concurrent citywide goals of simplifying and consolidating regulations and providing more of the right supply of housing while reflecting different contexts of neighbourhoods.”

The RT-10 zoning schedule requires updating to make it consistent with citywide regulations that have been adopted since 2005. Some RT-11 regulations could be carried back into the RT-10 District. But a wholesale rezoning of the entire RT-10 District to RT-11 fails in “reflecting different contexts of neighbourhoods.”

We live in the small portion of Kensington-Cedar Cottage (KCC) that was rezoned to RT-11 five years ago under planning for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre. We are part of both Norquay and Kensington-Cedar Cottage. But these two neighbourhoods are quite different. The same rules cannot indiscriminately be applied to both.

Here are three probable outcomes of rezoning the RT-10 District to RT-11.

1 — Many more character houses will be demolished.

        RT-11 zoning will imperil the 491 pre-1940 houses — more than 40% of the total — in the
        KCC RT-10 District. The Report states: “The increase to the permitted density for development to
        0.75 FSR may lead to demolition of older homes in favor of a more viable duplex development” (p. 14).
        The large number of character houses in good condition in Kingsway-Knight will face much
        greater risk of being replaced by duplexes. In Norquay’s RT-11 District, most of the older
        houses already have been demolished. Many of the 67 that remain either would not qualify as
        character houses or are in poor condition. Report focus on trade-off ignores this stark asymmetry.

2 — The quality of exterior design will deteriorate.

        At present the RT-10 District has extensive Design Guidelines, even for duplexes. Most new
        development there looks attractive. Replacement of those guidelines with the bare-bones
        RT-11 External Design regulations would lead to the outcome already perceptible in Norquay:
        approximately 1 in 5 duplexes built outright is an eyesore.

3 — Very little conditional development will occur, and many of the small house/duplex projects
       that are built will have problems.

        RT-11 zoning regulations were tailored to areas of Norquay where most parcels are wider than the usual
        33 feet and/or longer than the usual 122 feet. Only one of the 26 conditional development applications
        in Norquay so far has been for an assembly of lots that measure 33 x 122 or smaller.

        Conditional RT-11 development on a single lot most commonly results in a duplex plus a laneway
        house. This works well on wider lots (side-by-side duplex), or on longer 33 ft lots (front/back duplex).
        In the two instances where duplex-plus-laneway has been built on 33 x 122 parcels, the duplexes are
        side-by-side. Units are less than 12 ft. wide. Rooms are narrow and dark, and hallways consume a
        lot of living area.

        Relatively few parcels in Norquay’s RT-11 District measure 33 x 122 or smaller. This is fortunate,
        and may reflect good planning. Lot size would become a much greater problem factor in the
        KCC RT-10 District, where more than half the lots measure 33 x 122 feet and many of the remainder
        are even smaller.

When we take all of these considerations together, we can see an unhappy future for the RT-10 District if the proposal to rezone wholesale to RT-11 is approved. One. There will be very few conditional applications. Two. Character houses, most of them in good condition, will be demolished at an even faster rate and replaced by duplexes built outright. Three. Too many of these new duplexes on single lots will be eyesores.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Staff needs time to work out which RT-11 regulations are appropriate for the RT-10 District and which are not. Everybody needs to slow down. Much more work is required before Council approves the rezoning of the KCC RT-10 District.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

17 September 2018


Written by eyeonnorquay

17 September 2018 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Statements

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