Archive for the ‘East & West’ Category

Kingsway-Knight Area Alert

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On Seeking to Rezone RT-10 to RT-11
in Vancouver’s First Neighbourhood Centre

 
 
Context Note

On 18-19 September 2018 a Vancouver City Council held a lamest-duck-ever public hearing just ahead of shutting down business ahead of the quadriennial municipal election. Two controversial mass rezonings stood as the final items on the agenda.

 

 

During the public hearing on Item 5 it was declared that Item 6 would restart as “a new public hearing” after the upcoming 20 October 2018 municipal election.

 

 

Thus for Item 6, all speaker registrations and all submitted comment were tossed into the wastebasket — a far too typical disrespect shown to the involvements of many Vancouver residents. This was Vision Vancouver’s final sneer at “engagement” before the self-deligitimized “party” met with its decimation in the 2018 election.

That suspension of Item 6 provided time for Eye on Norquay to carry out a detailed survey for Kensington-Cedar Cottage. The problems inherent in the hasty redo called “planning” became apparent. Serious defects became apparent in the broad-brush intent to swap out the RT-10 of the Kingsway-Knight “neighbourhood centre” planning for the later RT-11 zoning of Norquay Village.

The report below was sent to appropriate staff in Vancouver city planning on 10 October 2018. The prefatory letter of transmission is appended. Eye on Norquay hopes that the new City Council will look toward planning that takes into account local area specifics (starting with greatly variant lot size and street configuration) within the Kingsway-Knight area, where 1577 properties were already mass rezoned in the past decade.

To so crudely revisit this Kensington-Cedar Cottage area of East Vancouver ahead of any dealing with the many and massive CityPlan Vision areas (1998-2010) that have been subjected to zero planning implementation displays an ongoing, blatant East-West inequity in Vancouver’s “planning” agenda.

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

 
Rezoning the RT-10 District to RT-11

We live in the portion of Kensington-Cedar Cottage that is included in Norquay’s RT-11 (Small House/Duplex) zone. Since the zoning regulations came into effect in 2013, we have been monitoring development in Norquay by looking carefully at applications posted on the CoV web site, by walking through the entire neighbourhood once a month, and by attending open houses.


 
Norquay Experience of RT-11 Zoning

To date, by our count, 27 conditional RT-11 development applications have been posted on the City of Vancouver web site.

Conditional development in the RT-11 zone of Norquay usually occurs on large single lots. (Smaller lots in Norquay, especially shallow lots with wider frontage, have been zoned for RM-7 Rowhouse/Stacked Townhouse.)

Only 5 of 27 projects have involved assembly.

Only 5 of 27 projects have been built on lots with 33 feet of frontage. Most RT-11 development occurs on lots that are both wider and deeper.

No applications have involved retention and/or multiple conversion of a character house. There are few character houses in Norquay. The one 2015 application that included retention and multiple conversion of one of Norquay’s two heritage houses appears to have stalled.

Most redevelopment on 33 ft. lots consists of outright duplexes. Since Norquay’s RT-11 zoning came into effect in 2013, at least two-thirds of all projects have been outright duplexes.

Under the too-lax RT-11 Exterior Design Guidelines, many duplexes are new eyesores. Pictures of Norquay duplex development — both successes and failures — can be seen at:
http://www.vcn.bc.ca/norquay/duplex-2018.html

Duplexes on lots 33 x 120 ft. or smaller often result in small units with undesirably small rooms. A disproportionate amount of space is required for stairways.


 
Detailed Description of the RT-10 Zone

The recent planning initiative to rezone the RT-10 zone in Kensington-Cedar Cottage to RT-11 inspired a walk-through of that entire area as well. What we discovered is a very diverse “neighbourhood centre.” Sub-areas of the RT-10 zone vary widely by lot size, by age and character of the housing, and by the amount and type of small house/duplex development that has occurred under RT-10 zoning since 2005. Unlike the RT-11 zone, the area currently zoned RT-10 contains many character houses in good condition.

Here are the sub-areas of the RT-10 zone that we have identified. Map references are to the maps in Appendix A of the Report dated July 6, 2018 and referred to Public Hearing on July 24, 2018. The Report can be found at:

https://council.vancouver.ca/20180724/documents/p3.pdf

 
Sub-Area 1: West of Knight Street and North of Kingsway (map: Appendix A, p. 9)

Almost all lots are 122 feet long. Width varies from 25 feet to 50 feet; most lots are 33 feet or wider. Little redevelopment took place here before 2005. The prevalent built form is well cared for, large pre-1940’s houses with mature landscaping. Most would qualify as character houses.

Under RT-10 zoning, we counted 6 new duplexes and only 1 single-lot small house/duplex development. A number of multiple conversions appear to have taken place, but it is difficult to count them by looking at the houses from the street.

 
Sub-Area 2: West of Clark Drive Between Kingsway and King Edward Avenue (map: Appendix A, pp. 10 and 15)

Lots are generally oriented north/south and are 33 x 122 ft. However, along Glen Drive, Inverness Street, and Clark Drive shorter lots are oriented east/west so that all streets have facing houses. Blocks are short. Little redevelopment took place here before 2005. Most houses are pre-1940, 1 or 1 ½ storey character houses. Mature landscaping often includes planted boulevards. This is one of the most charming areas of the city.

 
Sub-Area 3: West of Knight Street Between King Edward Avenue and East 28th Avenue (map: Appendix A, p. 11)

East of Inverness Street, this sub-area consists of long blocks of 33 x 122 ft. lots. West of Inverness Street blocks are shorter, and most lots are shorter and wider. Redevelopment seems to have proceeded at a fairly steady pace. As a result, the area includes generally well-kept houses from multiple decades.

Redevelopment under RT-10 zoning has been primarily as duplex, with a few multiple conversions. We counted 18 new duplexes, and no redevelopment as small house/duplex.

 
Sub-Area 4: East of Knight Street and North of East 22nd Avenue (map: Appendix A, p. 12)

Most lots measure approximately 33 x 122 ft., except for the southeast sector where lots tend to be shorter and wider. Some blocks are very long. The northern part of this sub-area contains steep hills. Like Sub-Area 3, this sub-area has seen steady redevelopment and now includes well-kept houses from every decade.

Redevelopment under RT-10 zoning includes at least 11 duplexes and 8 small house/duplex developments on 2 or 3 lots. Only 1 project was observed to include retention of a character house.

 
Sub-Area 4: East of Knight Street and North of East 22nd Avenue (map: Appendix A, p. 12)

Most lots measure approximately 33 x 122 ft., except for the southeast sector where lots tend to be shorter and wider. Some blocks are very long. The northern part of this sub-area contains steep hills. Like Sub-Area 4, this sub-area has seen steady redevelopment and now includes well-kept houses from every decade.

Redevelopment under RT-10 zoning includes at least 11 duplexes and 8 small house/duplex developments on 2 or 3 lots. Only 1 project was observed to include retention of a character house.

 
Sub-Area 5: East of Knight Street Between East 22nd Avenue and East 28th Avenue (map: Appendix A, pp. 13 and 14)

Almost all lots are at least 30 feet wide, but many are shorter than 122 feet. Lots on several streets are double-fronted. Quite a few lots lack lane access. Blocks tend to be very long. In the eastern part of this area, boulevards are very narrow or non-existent. Many houses are pre-1940, but most of them would not qualify as character houses.

Redevelopment under RT-10 zoning has primarily been in the form of duplexes. We counted 14 duplexes and 4 small house/duplex developments.


 
Likely Outcomes of Rezoning the RT-10 Zone to RT-11

1 — Most redevelopment will be in the form of outright duplexes. Making duplexes outright and increasing the FSR from .60 to .75 will encourage duplex development. Only Sub-Area 1 contains the large lots that developers prefer for RT-11 small house/duplex development.

2 — Many character houses in good condition, together with much mature landscaping, will be demolished. Outright duplex development does not require retention of character houses.

3 — Much of the new development would be unattractive and would not fit with the existing neighbourhood. Norquay provides numerous examples of new duplexes built outright under RT-11 zoning that are eyesores. Increasing FSR and height of buildings (from 1.5/2.0 storeys to 2.5 storeys with or without basement) will result in more massive buildings and reduced open space.

4 — Small duplexes built on small lots may lack liveability. Rooms will likely be tiny. CoV needs to develop guidelines for room sizes that apply to low density housing forms.


 
Recommendations

Sub-Area 1:  This sub-area is very similar in character to the adjacent area of Mount Pleasant that has recently been rezoned to RT-5. The City of Vancouver should extend RT-5 zoning to this portion of Kensington-Cedar Cottage.

Sub-Areas 2, 3 and 4:  RT-10 zoning appears to have been successful in Sub-Areas 2 and 4. The amount of take-up has been considerable. The height and density specified by RT-10 regulations have ensured that new development fits in well with neighbouring single-family character houses. Any newer zoning needs to build on that success. Section 4.7.3 in the RT-5 District Schedule reads: ” … where a Character House is demolished in order to allow for new development, the floor space ratio shall not exceed 0.50 and the use is limited to a One-Family Dwelling or a One-Family Dwelling with Secondary Suite, and Laneway House.”

If Sub-Areas 2, 3 and 4 are rezoned to RT-11, a regulation like this one needs to be added to the current RT-11 District Schedule to discourage the demolition of character houses and their replacement by large outright duplexes.

Given the very small number of character houses in the current RT-11 zone, this provision would apply almost exclusively in the area currently zoned RT-10.

Sub-Area 5: This area presents many challenges: double-fronted streets, lots without lane access, long blocks, and narrow streets with little or no boulevard allowance. Careful study is needed to determine effective zoning regulations. RT-11 regulations and guidelines are inappropriate here.

General

1 — External Design Guidelines for RT-11 zoning need to be strengthened. Otherwise, new development will continue to bring in eyesores.

2 — City-wide guidelines need to be developed for room sizes in low density housing forms. Otherwise, new development will continue to provide very small bedrooms and inadequate living rooms.


 
Conclusion

A broad brush was used in 2005 to rezone residential areas of the Kingsway-Knight Neighbourhood Centre. Narrow strips on either side of Kingsway and of Knight Street were rezoned to RM-1; everything else was rezoned to RT-10. A wholesale rezoning of the RT-10 zone to RT-11 would amount to using an even broader brush on a very diverse area. The City of Vancouver needs to use the opportunity provided by the postponement of this rezoning for more detailed study. A more nuanced rezoning would result in a better outcome for both area residents and for the city as a whole.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

 
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Oct 10, 2018, 9:36 AM

Addressed to Appropriate City of Vancouver Planning Staff

We recognize the Planning Department’s desire to simplify and consolidate regulations. But after walking through the entire RT-10 district, we have become convinced that rezoning the district to RT-11 is not a straightforward housekeeping operation. The area currently zoned RT-10 contains very diverse sub-areas. The area as a whole differs greatly from the area zoned RT-11 in Norquay. A wholesale rezoning of RT-10 to RT-11 could create more problems than it solves. We provide a more detailed analysis below.

The overriding concern is that RT-11 zoning provides no incentives to retain character houses in the case of outright single-lot development. This is not a big issue in Norquay, since there are few remaining character houses and many of those are in poor condition. But in the RT-10 zone, there are hundreds of character houses in good condition that deserve stronger retention measures. Many contain secondary suites that provide affordable housing. We urge you to spend more time on the ground in this area.

Developers should not be allowed to demolish these character houses and replace them with much larger outright duplexes, many of them fated to be ugly without adequate design requirements. We ask that you look at this area more closely and add the regulations needed to prevent an unhappy outcome.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

29 October 2018 at 3:09 pm

Questions to Staff

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A Case Study in “Duplex” Impact on Norquay

 

 

 
Canning the Clarifications

At some undetermined point in the relatively recent past, Vancouver City Council streamlined the “process” of public hearing by having councillors direct “questions to staff” via email for later, canned, premeditated, bulk “response” by staff. This format often leaves the onlooker wondering what the “question” actually was. Most of the verbal exchange between councillor and staff has been killed in the interests of control and speed. This innovation typifies what Vision Vancouver has done to public hearing procedures over the past ten years. Some glutton for wonk could provide a great public service by timelining such changes in procedure.

What follows is a case study in the quality of planning staff response to questions. A comparison with detailed independent data leads to one frightening result. This result brings into question all of the newish mode of planning staff’s rapid-fire bulk-packaged response to “questions to staff.”

 
From and For the Record

On the evening of 19 September 2018, a member of planning staff delivered bulked planning staff answers to questions from councillors as part of the public hearing on

5. REZONING: Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones to Allow
Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/phea20180918ag.htm

Below are three transcriptions, in chronological order, of remarks made during the five minutes that run from 3:00 to 8:00 on the video record at

http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver/index.php?clipid=3496176,005


At what price … Typically in the market we see a lot more of this product on the east side than the west side because zoning enables duplex in a lot more neighborhoods on the east side than the west side.

The neighborhood that is most likely for duplexes to work is in the northeast quadrant
[followed by specific mention of Grandview-Woodland]

In our experience on the east side of Vancouver, where we see a lot more of duplex zoning in place in neighborhoods such as Norquay for example, the uptake of building duplexes in zones where duplex is enabled is quite low, about 1% annually since 2013. It’s happening slowly.

 
Eye on Norquay Direct-Observation Data

 

    New-Build Applications by Type / Zonings (excluding RM-9A)

    Outright Duplexes    Conditional RT-11    Conditional RM-7


2014         26                    5                    5

2015         14                    8                    9

2016          5                    3                    8

2017         13                    4                    3

Totals       58                   20                   25


Note: Conditional RT-11 and conditional RM-7 = More than a duplex

Note: Total land parcels in RT-11 and RM-7 = 1648




       Land Parcels Assembled for Conditional Projects

          20 Assembled RT-11      25 Assembled RM-7
    
          One    Two              One   Two   Three   Four

2014       3      2                2     2      1

2015       6      2                2     6      1

2016       2      1                      7             1

2017       3      1                1     1      1

Totals    14     12  =  26         5    32      9      4  =  50


Total of  20  Building Sites Assembled for RT-11
    from  26  component parcels

Total of  25  Building Sites Assembled for Conditional RM-7
    from  50  component parcels 

 

 
Comments on Assertions and Data

In the “answers to questions,” there seems to be a lack of clarity operating between (1) report on actual experience with duplex in Vancouver, and (2) projection of impact of duplex into existing RS zoning.

It appears that planners anticipate that East Vancouver will continue to be the primary area for construction of duplex, even after the possibility of duplex has been extended citywide. This accords with previous Eye on Norquay analysis in The Duplex Set-Up. The obvious question is, why would City of Vancouver plan for such continuance of inequitable distribution? The most apparent answer is that planning has designed RS duplex specifications to perpetuate inequity in order to avoid or minimize west side blowback.

The 1% per year statistic for Norquay seems decontextualized, minimized, and misleading. If 58 parcels have accommodated outright duplex 2014-2017, there remain an unmentioned additional 45 parcels / assemblies that have accommodated yet more new development. The component number of parcels for those other 45 new strata developments actually calculates to 76. Thus an overall total of 58 + 76 parcels have been affected by new development over the four-year period of 2014-2017. That total of 134 as a proportion of 1648 yields a redevelopment percentage of 8.1%, which annualizes to 2% — double the figure provided by staff. A factor of 100% difference in reported result is not a minor difference. Norquay’s on-the-ground experience is that conversion of more affordable old to far-less-affordable new is NOT “happening slowly.”

Further note that our tabulated data excludes 2013 and 2018. Beyond that, the foregoing analysis takes no account of the other larger-scale redevelopments that have taken place under RM-9A (5 projects) and CD-1 (very large projects = 3 during period and 2 underway) — projects that have added well upward of 500 more dwelling units to the same local area.
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

27 September 2018 at 9:52 am

Posted in East & West, Events, News

The Duplex Set-Up

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Who Benefits?

 
Does this photo of Gregor Robertson look woolly? It was grabbed from defective City Council video on the evening of 18 Sept 2018 during a public hearing on duplex housing in “most RS zones.” What wool is being pulled over whose eyes, and to conceal what?

 

 

First of all, a declaration. Residents of Norquay have little skin in the game when it comes to duplexing the sixty-some thousands of RS (single-family) zoned properties that remain across Vancouver. Norquay and next-door cousin Kingsway-Knight were mass-rezoned out of RS in 2010 and 2004 respectively. The number of those parcels totaled around 3400. This was one-twentieth of the RS that has remained until now. Two working-class immigrant neighbourhoods were conscripted for experimentation. The two adjacent areas constitute the geographic heart of East Vancouver, and sit at the eye of Vancouver’s gentrification hurricane.

That said, it is true that an expanded playing field of sixty-some thousand additional properties might diffuse the speculation frenzy that a series of “new community plans” has fomented over the past decade. Perhaps the storm of noise and traffic and dirt might slacken by finally doing a “Go West” that reduces the concentration effect? Alas, the apparent Duplex Set-Up stratagem suggests otherwise.

 
East and West

News reporting on the approval of duplex in RS has raised a point that merits elaboration. The general point is stated by urban planner Andy Yan in a Vancouver Sun article of 21 September 2018 [1]:

 

 

More than five years ago Eye on Norquay quantified east-west population disparity in Vancouver [2]:

 

 

This new RS-to-duplex maneuver promises to widen that east-west population gap even further.

 
Supplyist Enthusiasms

A recent networking of supplyists has made a thing out of hit-squadding on public hearings. These activists profess a two-fold belief:

        Any form of denser new housing anywhere is a priori good.
        The economics and the social consequences do not matter, since housing is in crisis.

Supplyists front-loaded this public hearing, and may now revel in imagining that they have romped over the enemy in a major skirmish. Perhaps they have, assuming their creed is the only metric.

A bit further into the first evening, one supplyist (with academic background in study of airbnb) offered up a profusive hardshell trickledown credo, and lavished onto the duplex initiative a personal testimony of faith, love, and especially hope. The core of the expressed hope: anyone who buys a new duplex for around $1.5 million will free up other more affordable housing further down the cost ladder. But never mind about what is demolished to build the new. Systematic thinking would recognize that this fervor encompasses the general economics of neoliberal trickledown. But no question about that was put to the speaker.

 
A Few Devilish Details

In a nutshell. The application of duplex potential to existing RS zoning, as presently formulated, seems fated to languish with little uptake. What canny developer would rush to replace RS with duplex at FSR 0.7 [3] when they can instead pillage so much present (and near-term-future) RT zoning for

        7% MORE FSR?

That is 0.75 instead of 0.7. This differential looks like a sneaky way to appease pressures for increased density on paper, yet to maintain west-side privilege on the ground. Meanwhile naive supplyists subside into reveries of recent conquest.

Nailing down the specifics of the zoning details is mind-numbing and time-consuming work. First note that the RT zoning currently set at FSR 0.75 encompasses RT-5, RT-8, RT-9, and RT-11 [4]. Item 6 of the 18 September 2018 public hearing [5] — deferred into the indefinite future during the public hearing on the
RS-to-duplex Item 5 — would have upped to 0.75 the FSR in Kitsilano’s RT-7 and Cedar Cottage’s RT-10.

 
Heaping Density onto Existing Density

The net effect of the RS-to-duplex public hearing is to incentivize builders who operate under the new duplex zoning to zero in on the already denser RT zones.

 

 
     https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Zoning-Map-Vancouver.pdf

 
On the 21 July 2016 zoning map displayed above (the seriously out-of-date version currently provided by City of Vancouver), RT zoning is the yellow sectors that collar the downtown core, stretch along Kingsway, and jump off into Marpole. Vancouver’s last decade of “new community planning” has consistently dumped new density onto existing density, in targeted local areas that already suffer disadvantage. The disparity trend continues under the guise of a specious universality.

 
Equity and “Next Steps”

A true concern for equity would suggest the simple solution of setting FSR at 0.75 for the RS-to-duplex, rather than the 0.7 that was proposed and approved. The problem with that approach is that the 7% increase would generate land lift — a result unwanted by the City — for some sixty thousand properties across Vancouver. That lift would go on top of the land price increase that already seems likely. A priori, how could adding two-for-one opportunity into existing zonings not result in some land value increase?

What is the bottom line of today’s apparent agenda? How to pretend to upzone widely, while preserving traditional east-west disparity. See? That little mass rezoning hardly made any difference at all. You silly fearful people. Now, what’ll we do next?

Sneak preview [3]:

        Floor area allowances combined with parking relaxations could be increased to incentivize
        duplex /triplex/fourplex development while floor area reduced to discourage new single-family
        homes (especially houses built without secondary suites)

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •
 

[1]
Joanne Lee-Young. Developers, candidates and planners argue over Vancouver’s move to allow duplexes. Vancouver Sun (21 Sept 2018)
https://theprovince.com/business/local-business/developers-candidates-and-planners-argue-over-vancouver-councils-move-to-allow-duplexes/wcm/cd951f3a-48ba-4076-989e-57ad72448767

[2]
East Van Gentrification: Norquay at the Eye of the Hurricane
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/gentrification/

[3]
Page 6 of Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180724/documents/p6.pdf

[4]
Zoning schedules (relevant section is 4.7.) are viewable at:
https://vancouver.ca/your-government/zoning-development-bylaw.aspx

[5]
Pages 7-8 and 10-11 of:
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
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180724/documents/p3.pdf
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

23 September 2018 at 4:20 pm

Posted in East & West, Events, Maps, News

Gladstone Secondary

with 2 comments

 
The following letter about the possible closure of Gladstone Secondary was sent to the Vancouver School Board on 19 September 2016. For things you can do see the appended letter sent out by MLA Adrian Dix.

 
To: Mike Lombardi (VSB Chair)
Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Fraser Ballantyne, Janet Fraser, Penny Noble, Christopher Richardson, Stacy Robertson, Allan Wong, Timme Zhao (VSB Trustees)

 
As residents of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre, we are concerned about the impact that the closure of Gladstone Secondary School would have on Norquay. An extensive recent City of Vancouver planning process has defined this area as an integrated new community.

The basic vision for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is for a complete community: a place where people have housing choices that meet their needs, where there are local shops and services that provide the goods of daily life, where there are public spaces and places for people to meet and engage in community life, and where people can move easily and without a car to access places to work, play, and shop. (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, Section 2.2, p. 14. Approved by Council November 2010.)

Norquay has not traditionally included the concentration of amenities and services that many neighbourhood shopping areas can boast. We have no library, no community centre or neighbourhood house, no swimming pool or ice rink.

But Gladstone Secondary School is located only 1 block north of the Norquay boundary. Most of Norquay lies within the Gladstone catchment area, where 71% of Gladstone students live.

 
gladstonemap-1
 

The school acts as an important cohesive force in the Norquay community in several ways.

1.  Teens connect with other teens in their neighbourhood when they attend school classes and extra-curricular activities.

2.  Most Norquay students in the Gladstone catchment area live close enough to walk to school. They become more familiar with their neighbourhood en route.

3.  Families of students connect with other families in their neighbourhood through their involvement in school activities.

4.  Community space is available for meetings and other activities. Together with Norquay’s elementary schools (Norquay and Cunningham), Gladstone provides the only community space in the neighbourhood.

The Norquay Plan strongly encourages new housing types for families. Five thousand new residents are expected to move into the neighbourhood during its 30-year lifespan, a population increase of 50%. By rough estimate, more than 2000 of these expected new residents will be living in Norquay by 2020.

If Gladstone is closed, most Norquay secondary students will live in the extreme southwest corner of the new Windermere catchment area, too far away to walk to school. The Renfrew Ravine and the SkyTrain are barriers that limit access routes to Windermere from Norquay, and make the school feel even farther away than it appears to be on a map. Windermere can never be an effective focal point for Norquay.

We believe that Norquay needs the presence of Gladstone Secondary School to function as a “complete community.” We ask that you remove Gladstone from the list of schools to be considered for closure.
Sincerely,

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

 
 
Letter from Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix

19 September 2016

Dear Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton Supporter,

This is a crucial week for the future of Gladstone Secondary, Graham Bruce Elementary and Carleton Elementary. Next Monday September 26th at 7pm, the Vancouver Board of Education will be voting on whether to move our schools and others on the list onto the next stage of the school closure process. It is our first chance to remove Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton from the list and it is very important that we have a huge turnout.

What can you do?

1.  Attend the VSB meeting on Sept 26th! Bring signs and make your voices heard. Location: Charles Tupper Secondary (419 East 24th Ave), starting at 7 pm.

2.  Write a letter to trustees (by email). Their emails can be found here. There are many arguments that can be made for all the schools, please read the following three op-eds for more information on Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton.)

3.  Sign the Petition. Close to 13,000 people have signed so far!

4.  Take a lawn sign.

In response to the VSB’s staff report, we will be working with parents and students to write a detailed report and release it to the trustees and public by Thurs, Sept 22. Our report will address detailed issues of enrolment (current and future), catchments, development, programs, the vulnerability of school populations, traffic, child care and importance of these schools in the community. We will also be working to meet with trustees face-to-face to make our case.

Here is the schedule of other action items this week:

Tuesday September 20th, 2016 afternoon at Vancouver City Hall: The City Council will be voting on a motion opposing school closures.

Tuesday September 20th, 7 pm: A major rezoning and increase in density as part of the Joyce-Collingwood Precinct Plan will be voted on by Vancouver City Council. This has significant implications for the Graham Bruce, Grenfell and Carleton catchments.

Wednesday September 21st, Gladstone students/parents organizing meeting at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, at 3:30pm. It’s immediately followed by a student-only “presentation skills” session led by Mimi Nguyen of Cedar Cottage.

Thursday September 22nd, Door-to-door petition and letter-writing drive to Save Gladstone. Starting at 4 pm from Nanaimo Skytrain Station.

Thursday/Friday September 22nd-23rd – Presentation of detailed responses, petition and letters to Trustees.

Sunday September 25th – Petition drive and preparation for meeting on Monday September 26th. Location to be determined.

Monday September 26th – VSB School Closure Meeting, Charles Tupper Secondary, 7 pm (419 East 24th Ave).

There are also many other petitioning and organizing meetings all week. Please stay tuned. And we need all of you at Charles Tupper on Monday!

Adrian

Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver-Kingsway
5022 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G6 | Phone: 604-660-0314 | Fax: 604-660-1131
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

20 September 2016 at 9:00 am

Interim Rezoning Policy

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Introduction

The following report on Interim Rezoning Policy makes it possible to assess factors that City of Vancouver obscures in its documents.

Norquay is not affected by the “policy” described below due to its mass rezoning of 1912 properties for Vancouver’s second neighbourhood centre in 2010. But the 1577 properties mass rezoned in 2004 for Vancouver’s first neighbourhood centre at Kingsway & Knight are subject to the policy. This discrepancy is only one of the anomalies that taint the initiative.

Eye on Norquay has taken a particular interest in Interim Rezoning Policy, and in similar provisions of the Rental 100 program which has landed units within Norquay. That interest stems from a broader concern for policies which affect other Vancouver residential areas, especially those that lie in East Vancouver.

On 3 October 2012, Vancouver City Council approved an Interim Rezoning Policy for Increasing Affordable Housing Choices (hereafter cited as IRP).

At this stage, the I for “interim” could stand for indefinite, with regard to both policy specifications and duration of implementation.

 
Public $$$ Handed Out with Little Accountability

IRP and the related Rental 100 program raise huge concerns:

1.  The City of Vancouver makes massive financial concessions to developers to build “secured market rental” — presumably “secured” for the greater of building lifespan or sixty years. Since no present Council can “fetter” a future Council, there is no assurance that any project will not be flipped from rental to strata sale at some point in the future.

2.  Overall concessions in the form of waiver of DCL (development cost levy) and CAC (community amenity contribution) now run toward or beyond $100 million ($54 million for Aquilini alone). These waivers mean that increase in population comes without corresponding funding for amenities and infrastructure. The result will be a strip-mined public realm for Vancouver.

3.  The “affordable” rental scale has imported west side rents into east side projects. This means that developers will concentrate on locations where they can exploit maximized differentials between costs and returns.

4.  The supposed affordable rental scale is not monitored, and evaporates at first rental turnover of a unit. After being handed $54 million in concessions, Aquilini has just implemented a fixed-lease approach that will guarantee 100% turnover after one year (see St. Denis). In effect, the City of Vancouver writes the developer a blank cheque.

 
Problems Specific to IRP

The distinguishing feature of IRP is a de facto rezoning of most of Vancouver with no consultation and no planning. As of 20 April 2016, the policy includes a more detailed mapping. IRP has unleashed widespread speculation and massive land assemblies (see Yaffe).

Unlike Rental 100, IRP can extend off of arterial streets for a distance of “approximately 100 metres” — the length of a football field. Precedent has just been set at 3365 Commercial to push an apartment form into that entire space, contrary to the policy that specifies ground-oriented housing forms for off-arterial locations.

 
sites4irp
 

The City of Vancouver has expressed notions of participating with unit owners in future price appreciation of IRP units designed for ownership. The net result is expansion of conflict of interest — the body that controls zoning will self-deal by sticking its own finger into the pie. For about forty years, the City of Vancouver has already served itself in this fashion with the secretive off-balance-sheet Property Endowment Fund.

 
Six IRP Sites

The current version of IRP states: “As of April 20, 2016, six projects under this policy have been approved or are in process.”

It seems apparent that developer take-up on the policy has been underwhelming. The policy still states:

Once 20 rezoning applications are in process, other proposals will be put on a wait list pending any decision by Council to extend the policy beyond 20 projects.

The six sites listed in the table below appear to be the sites referred to. Passed over in silence by the City of Vancouver is the proposal from Pacific Arbour for a seniors facility on six parcels in the 4600 block on the east side of Dunbar Street. Facing extreme pressure from Dunbar residents, the City of Vancouver rejected the proposal in spring 2013, citing “affordability” concerns.

 
irp-2016
 

To extrapolate from six projects in four years, the City of Vancouver may get around to a “review” of the situation about ten years from now. At that point, developers may have plopped a series of one-off experimental projects mainly into East Vancouver. As it stands now, three of the six have landed in the single local area of Kensington-Cedar Cottage.

Only one of the six IRP’s has so far landed west of Main Street. That atypical project, 1037 West King Edward, displays low FSR, low height, and few units. For this, the developer receives huge upfront financial concessions — waiver of DCL calculated at $374,437 and no levy of CAC.

 
Initial Rents, East and West

 
rents-3365commercial
 
     From page 13 of report on 3365 Commercial
 

 
rents-1037wkingedward
 
     From page 8 of report on 1037 West King Edward
 

 
Tabulated Comparisons

Site Data


                      Site SqFt      FSR     Height     Storeys     Units

1729 E. 33rd             29,587     1.26      37 ft           3        31

3323 E. 4th              36,777     1.45      46 ft           4        54

3120 Knight              17,653     2.08      52 ft           5        51

1037 W. King Edward      19,008     1.48      40 ft       2 - 4        36

3365 Commercial          35,106     2.40      60 ft     3.5 - 6       110

3868 Rupert              29,102     3.60      69 ft           6       112



DCL Waivers


1729 E. 33rd             Not applicable

3323 E. 4th              Not applicable

3120 Knight                    $465,476

1037 W. King Edward            $374,437 

3365 Commercial              $1,077,792

3868 Rupert                         ???



Unit Distributions


                         Studio     1 BR     2 BR     3 BR

1729 E. 33rd             (Strata co-housing plus 2 rental units)

3323 E. 4th  (Life-lease)              8       46      

3120 Knight                   1       32       18

3365 Commercial              31       38       30       11

1037 W. King Edward           8       12       13        3

3868 Rupert                           78       30        4 
 

 
 
References

 
Council Reports for IRP Rezonings

1729 East 33rd
2013 March 12-13
3. REZONING – 1729-1735 East 33rd Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20130312/phea20130312ag.htm

3323 East 4th
2014 March 13
1. REZONING: 3323-3367 East 4th Avenue (Beulah Garden)
http://council.vancouver.ca/20140313/phea20140313ag.htm

3120 Knight
2014 May 20
1. REZONING: 3120-3184 Knight Street
http://council.vancouver.ca/20140520/phea20140520ag.htm

3365 Commercial
2016 May 24
3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm
2016 June 23
1. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160623/phea20160623ag.htm

1037 West King Edward
2016 June 21
3. REZONING: 1037 West King Edward Avenue
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160621/phea20160621ag.htm

 
City of Vancouver Documents on IRP

Final Report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability (2 October 2012)
http://council.vancouver.ca/20121002/documents/rr2.pdf

Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy (4 Oct 2012 / 2 Dec 2013 / 20 Apr 2016)
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/bulletin/i002.pdf

 
Council Meetings about IRP

3 October 2012
4. Final Report of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
http://council.vancouver.ca/20121003/ptec20121003ag.htm

3 December 2013
4. Development Cost Levy By-law Amendments to the Definition of
For-Profit Affordable Rental Housing
http://council.vancouver.ca/20131203/regu20131203ag.htm

20 April 2016
2. Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160420/cfsc20160420ag.htm

 
Rejected IRP for 4600 Block East Side of Dunbar Street

Brent Jang. Plan for Dunbar seniors home way up in the air. Globe and Mail (20 Nov 2012)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/plan-for-dunbar-seniors-home-way-up-in-the-air/article5515372/

Naiobh O’Connor. City rejects seniors housing application in Dunbar. Vancouver Courier (6 Mar 2013)
http://www.vancourier.com/news/city-rejects-seniors-housing-application-in-dunbar-1.389855

 
Legal Challenge to IRP / Rental 100 “Affordability”

Carlito Pablo. City of Vancouver to amend STIR and Rental 100 bylaws after legal fight. Georgia Straight (19 Nov 2013)
http://www.straight.com/news/532601/city-vancouver-amend-stir-and-rental-100-bylaws-after-legal-fight

Bob Mackin. West End Neighbours society wonders what is affordable. Vancouver Courier (10 Apr 2014)
http://www.vancourier.com/news/updated-west-end-neighbours-society-wonders-what-is-affordable-1.950526

 
Speculation (Yaffe) and Aquilini (St. Denis/O’Brien)

Barbara Yaffe. City looks to dismantle land assembly. Vancouver Sun (23 Apr 2015: D3
[Brian] Jackson says the land assembly activity that has been accelerating amounts to property speculation. … The activity is likely the result of an interim zoning policy adopted by the city three years ago.

Jen St. Denis / Frank O’Brien. New Aquilini rental tower uses controversial fixed-term tenancy agreements. Business in Vanocuver (8 July 2016)
https://www.biv.com/article/2016/7/fixed-term-rent-row-heats-metro-vancouver/

 
Related Coverage at Eye on Norquay

Rental 100 Red Flag
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/rental-100-red-flag/

Vancouver CAC 2013
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/vancouver-cac-2013/

Commercial at 18th Ave
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commercial-at-18th-ave/
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

9 July 2016 at 11:14 pm

Posted in East & West, IRP

Commercial & E 18th Ave

 
Statements at Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial 24 May 2016

 
Below are reproduced the statements delivered at the public hearing by Joseph Jones as 8th registered speaker and Jeanette Jones as 9th registered speaker. For a separate account of the public hearing evening, see https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/gong-show/.

 
irp-2016-map-640
 
     Map of Six IRP Sites 2012-2016 as Referenced in Statement of Joseph Jones
 

 
jsph-3365-oral
 

 
jntt-3365-oral
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2016 at 11:00 am

Ten Long Years

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A Decade Plus of Vancouver Local Area Planning

 
As 2015 comes to an end, Eye on Norquay offers up this retrospective — one little history lesson to pin a lot of isolated bits across the framework-of-torture that serves planning hell. Politicians and planners prefer to operate with bits … and especially their analogues, silos and spots. Except when a “plan” makes it possible to grab more, give less, go bigger, and execute faster.

 
tenlongyears-2
 

Besides all that, without an occasional “plan” dress-up, the rest of Vancouver’s development would have to stand naked as a silly opportunistic jumble.
 

 yrs-mos      
           
             Kingsway & Knight Neighbourhood Centre
   2-00      July 2002 to July 2004 (plan)   October 2005 (zoning)
           
             Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre
   4-07      April 2006 to November 2010 (plan)  •   April 2013 (zoning)
             May 2013 (benefits strategy)
           
             West Point Grey Community Vision
   4-08      January 2006 to September 2010
           
             Mount Pleasant
   3-07      April 2007 to November 2010 (plan)
             October 2013 (implementation package)
           
             Cambie Corridor
   1-10      July 2009 to May 2011 (plan)
             April 2015 to ---- [phase 3]
           
             Downtown Eastside
             September 2005 ... August 2011 to March 2014 (plan)
           
             West End
   2-04      July 2011 to November 2013 (plan)  •  January 2014 (zoning)
           
             Marpole
   2-09      July 2011 to April 2014 (plan)  •   May 2014 (zoning)

             Shaughnessy
   1-03      June 2014 to September 2015 (heritage conservation area)
           
             Grandview-Woodland
   4-04+     July 2011 to ???? 

 

The timeline above provides a framework for tales of the local areas that have suffered recent onslaught by City of Vancouver “planning.” Let a Q & A approach test your knowledge of the strung out and the done in.

 
Who got strung out the longest?

Grandview-Woodland will soon overtake Norquay. Downtown Eastside, whose tortuous path is an exemplar of obfuscation, occupies a class all by itself.

 
Who wrung the clearest concessions out of City Council?

Marpole — likely the poorest and most vulnerable westside local area. Two other westside areas receive mention in the timeline because their areas were dealt with as a whole — not because they underwent anything like a mass rezoning for denser and faster redevelopment.

 
Where has City of Vancouver grabbed the most the fastest?

Cambie Corridor, no contest. First and foremost, the “corridor” concept served to simultaneously overwhelm three distinct local areas: Riley Park-South Cambie, Oakridge, Marpole. (Those first two have (had?) community visions, for whatever those exercises are now worth.)

 
Who got the most “consulted”?

Downtown Eastside. See also “strung out” question above. The City of Vancouver delights to boast in its report to Council (p. 7) of intensive engagement with the LAPP Committee with members investing over 470 hours of volunteer time. [Between the lines: Ask a dis-membered former LAPPster how it feels to be “consulted.”]

 
Whose “plan” has been most disrespected so far?

Probably Mount Pleasant — consider only (1) the override of extreme nonsupport for Rize-Alliance at Broadway and Kingsway (2) the impending encroachment of Westbank-Hootsuite on industrial land at Main/Quebec and 4th/5th Avenue.

 
Who stands out for NOT being present?

Most of the “community vision” areas, since the City of Vancouver did a 180 during Norquay planning — and left fifteen years of CityPlan smothered in mothballs. Six of these community vision areas (1998-2010) became hands-off to any subsequent local area planning of the mass-rezone variety: Dunbar (1998), Victoria-Fraserview/Killarney (2002), Sunset (2002), Hastings-Sunrise (2004), Arbutus Ridge/Kerrisdale/Shaughnessy (2005), West Point Grey (2010). Even so, significant portions of three primarily eastside areas got steamrolled: Kensington-Cedar Cottage (1998), Renfrew-Collingwood (2004), Riley Park/South Cambie (2005).

Vancouver’s non-mass-rezoned areas contain the great majority of the remaining 68,282 RS (single-family) zoned properties. The value divergence upward for these properties becomes ever more apparent. The two “neighbourhood centre” mass rezonings of 1577 and 1912 properties blitzed immigrant working-class areas in the heart of East Vancouver.

 
Who suffers the biggest density dump?

West End by a mile. “New planning” for yet more density-dumping has landed on the doorstep of a local area that in 2011 sported a person-per-hectare figure of 218. Downtown had 146. Shaughnessy had 20. The Vancouver average was 53.

 
Who only pretended to get planned?

Kingsway & Knight. King Edward Village concurrently blockbusted the heart of the area, separated from the planning process. The eventual mass rezoning affected 1577 properties. Meanwhile, the “shopping area” part fell off the back of the planning wagon that was racing uphill toward Norquay. Populate your nightmares with what may happen at the Rona site, since future development for the entire commercial part of the first “neighbourhood centre” was never defined.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

29 December 2015 at 12:05 pm

Posted in East & West, History