Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Exemplary

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Resident Concerns Are Heard

 
On rare occasions in Vancouver, at a public hearing for a proposed new development, local area residents may discover that expressed concerns have been both heard and addressed. On 18 October 2016, the rezoning of 2395-2469 Kingsway met with such a happy outcome.

This site has been identified under the Norquay Plan as one of three locations along Kingsway — in very long blocks along the north side — where new development is supposed to provide pedestrian connection to the street that runs parallel. The rezoning application presented a 12-storey tower built on a two-part podium of 4 storeys, with a connecting bridge at an upper level.

In general, the form of development respected the Norquay Plan. But a letter to Council from residents detailed four concerns:

(1)  That more brick be used on the exterior of the buildings.

(2)  That the width of the pedestrian connection be increased from 20 feet to 40 feet.

(3)  That conditions for landscaping and furniture and maintenance be explicitly specified.

(4)  That the “bridge” overhanging the pedestrian connection be removed, with a second elevator provided for the smaller building.

Council members raised all of these concerns at the public hearing. Planning staff responded that the first three items had already been addressed or were in the process of being dealt with. And the applicant affirmed that the bridge would be removed and a second elevator installed in the smaller building.

This is an example of how the development and public hearing process is supposed to work.

The video recording of the public hearing can be seen at

http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver/index.php?clipid=3494605,004
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

25 October 2016 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Events

Blockbustings

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An appeal to write a letter in support of the No Tower Coalition and its long struggle against the Kettle/Boffo collaboration led to the compilation of the following list of blockbustings. For over a decade now, what calls itself “planning” in Vancouver has turned into a mishmash of naked spot rezonings and new local area plans. Sometimes the two are so entangled that it becomes difficult to determine exactly how an addled egg has managed to emerge from a chicken cooped up in an open house. Consider only the tortuous histories of King Edward Village, Rize Alliance, and Joyce Station Precinct.

Amidst the muddle, one thing remains clear. Developers always push for the tallest possible towers. And planners collude to set precedents that can prejudice future area planning to the greatest extent possible.

Concrete proposals for Kettle/Boffo development will be a salient matter on 27 July 2016 as speakers line up to address the new Grandview-Woodland local area plan.

 

Council Date        Storeys     Description


2003 July 24        17          King Edward Village for Kingsway & Knight

2006 Jan  24        22          2300 Kingsway for Norquay

2011 Apr  21        16          8495 Granville (Safeway) for Marpole 

2011 July 19        35          8440 Cambie (Marine Gateway) for Marpole

2011 Nov  01        30          Wall Centre Central Park for Renfrew-Collingwood

2012 June 11        22          1401 Comox for West End

2012 Feb  27        21          Rize Alliance for Mt Pleasant

2012 Oct  16        12          955 East Hastings for Downtown Eastside

2016 June 28        30          5050-5080 Joyce (Westbank at Joyce Station)

2016 July 19        12          155 East 37th (Little Mountain) for RPSC

2016 July 27        12          Kettle/Boffo for Grandview Woodland

 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 July 2016 at 11:21 am

Posted in Events

Big Hit from Rental 100

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A consolidation of 5 parcels with a frontage of 231 feet has occurred on the northwest corner of Kingsway at Gladstone Street, cater-corner from the massive full-block development now underway at 2220 Kingsway.

The letter reproduced below has been received by local area residents, announcing a developer’s pre-application open house:

 
        Gladstone Secondary School
        4105 Gladstone Street
        Thursday  —  19 May 2016  —  5 pm to 8 pm
 

The developer seeks to build approximately 100 units of so-called affordable rental housing in a building of six storeys at an FSR of 3.3. The City of Vancouver “Rental 100” program offers developers massive no-fee gifts (with no honest rental-rate accountability) simply to build rental housing units.

Primary concerns at this point relate to three aspects:

Kingsway and Gladstone sidewalk setbacks. Gladstone Street marks the western boundary for the Norquay Plan. For a development of this scale, the Norquay Plan requires a setback of 25 feet. Does it make sense for the block right beside Norquay to suffer a downgraded “transition” status because that next block has not been “planned”? The stretch of Kingsway between Victoria Drive and Gladstone Street is already more attractive than any comparable segment of Kingsway that falls within the one-mile boundaries of “Norquay.”

Articulation along a 230 foot streetwall. Without good design, the existing building variety could be lost to a deadscape that deactivates current street life. This development needs to look like at least five different buildings.

Amenity delivery failure for Norquay so far. A new massive no-payback development will exacerbate the population pressures already concentrating at the western edge of Norquay. After enduring a great deal of construction activity, and seeing a CAC of $3 million immediately sequestered, Norquay residents have enjoyed none of the major public realm improvements specified by the Norquay Plan. So far that brand-new “neighbourhood centre” to the east — where the City of Vancouver owns three acres of land at 2400 Kingsway — remains a truck-route wasteland despite all the planning. Meanwhile, developers exploit the edge.

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •
 

 
 
Developer’s Letter
 

 
2199kwy-1
 

 
2199kwy-2
 

 
 
2153-2199 Kingsway as Shown on VanMap
 

 
kwy-glad-640
 

 
 
The Five Existing Parcels on Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9366-640
 
     2153 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9367-640
 
     2163 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9368-640
 
     2169 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9369-640
 
     2185 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9370-640
 
     2199 Kingsway
 

 
 

Two Big Wins from Any Redevelopment

 

 
IMG_9371-640
 
     Elimination of Pattison’s Lighted, Noisy Non-Conforming Billboard
 

 
IMG_9372-640
 
     Disappearance of the City of Vancouver Sponsored DUMP
 

However ugly we get treated in the heart of East Vancouver, sometimes there’s unintended upside!
Call it collateral repair?
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

13 May 2016 at 5:33 pm

2308 East 34th Ave OH

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Open House at Cunningham School  —  2330 East 37th Avenue

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm  —  Wednesday 18 November 2015

 
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/2308e34thave/index.htm

 
Streetscape
 

 
This 41.5 x 88 ft. single lot on a corner currently contains a small two-storey “heritage” building which has functioned as a corner store with a housing unit above. The applicant proposes to restore the existing heritage building and to attach a new two-storey infill townhouse on East 34th Avenue. A new three-storey duplex would also be added as infill on Nanaimo Street. Total units proposed are 4 residential and 1 commercial with no parking spaces.

Initial concerns focus on request for an excessive amount of bonus density (approximately 50% rather than the 10% usually granted on residential sites) and on the lack of provision for parking. The public may submit comments by email to the rezoning planner — tiffany.rutherford@vancouver.ca — until a final decision is made. The decision usually occurs several weeks after the Open House.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 November 2015 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Events, News

September 23rd Panels

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At the September 23 Norquay Open House people had to line up to see panels and to talk to planners. The event was busy for all three hours. Shortly after the 5:00 pm opening about sixty people were present. Planners ran out of comment forms. Panel number 3 for Zoning in Norquay Village stayed mobbed for the whole evening.

View the set of panels on the City of Vancouver web site or access the 10-panel pdf now archived at Eye on Norquay. Analysis is underway and comment is being prepared.

 
panel5
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 September 2015 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Events, News

September 23rd Open House

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The City of Vancouver intends to establish a specific new zoning schedule for the Norquay Apartment Transition Zone. This area includes

         Properties that back onto the lanes serving Kingsway businesses
         Most of the properties fronting on Norquay Park
         Some of the properties along Earles Street

New regulations for an RM-9A zone would replace the Norquay Village Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy that was adopted by Council in May 2013. Details will be made available at an Open House scheduled for 23 September 2015.

 
rm9a
 

Perhaps the biggest change is that planners now propose to allow stacked townhouses as well as four-storey apartment buildings to be built in this zone. Stacked townhouses will be cheaper to build, since they do not require an elevator. They may require less property assembly. The provisions for parking are still unclear. A detailed comparison of the two housing types is appended below.

The apartment buildings originally proposed for this zone have several attractive features:

         Multiple exposures to maximize natural light and ventilation
         Courtyard usually provided at the front or rear of the building
         Elevators (especially needed by seniors)
         Units attractive for seniors who want to remain on a residential street in their familiar neighbourhood

Come out to the Open House to learn details of what the City of Vancouver is now proposing and to give your feedback. The Open House is scheduled for

 
        23 September 2015  —  5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
        Norquay Elementary School  —  4710 Slocan Street
 

If you are unable to attend, you can check the City’s web site under the “Progress” tab at

        http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/norquay-village-neighbourhood-centre-plan.aspx

a few days after September 23 for the information that was presented. An on-line comment form should be available.

It is possible to submit a second on-line comment even if you have already filled out the comment form at the Open House. Our analysis will be posted at Eye on Norquay as soon as possible after the event.

 
Note added 19 September 2015:  All material from the table below can be found in expanded form at
P.S. on RM-9A. This revision facilitates comparison with Marpole RM-9 and will provide the expandability needed for point-by-point assessment of the forthcoming Norquay RM-9A.

 


 
 
                                           Comparison of Current Guidelines
 

Specification Compared

Apartment Transition Area Stacked Townhouse RM-7
 

   
Type of Parking

Underground Uncovered surface spaces
Number of Parking Spaces Required

Unspecified 2 for every 3 units
Community Amenity Contribution (CAC)   

$15.00 per sq ft None
Elevator Required

Yes No
Maximum Height

45 ft 37.5 ft
Maximum Floor Space Ratio (FSR)

1.5 (2 lots) to 2.0 (3 lots) 1.2
Maximum Unit Density

240 per hectare 132 per hectare
Minimum Frontage

50 ft (2 lots) to 90 ft (3 lots)   
[proposals so far have
assembled 3 or 4 lots]
42 ft (4+ units)
[12/14 proposals so far
have been for 1 or 2 lots]

 
 


 

 
What guidelines will the City of Vancouver propose for stacked townhouses in the new RM-9A zone?

Norquay does not deserve to end up with the WORSE characteristics of both housing types.
 

 
Come out to the September 23rd Norquay Open House

Protect the Norquay Apartment Transition Zone from Developer Greed
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 September 2015 at 5:18 pm

Brian Jackson’s Exit

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News broke yesterday that Brian Jackson plans to retire at the end of 2015 after a three-year stint as chief of City of Vancouver planning.

When Jackson arrived in 2012, the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan was in wind-down mode — two-thirds of the way along from November 2010 Council approval to 2013 nail-down with public hearings on new zoning schedules and amenities and benefits strategy.

Jackson’s most significant action in Norquay has been to bow low to every intention that Westbank expressed for the 2.3 acre Canadian Tire site at 2220 Kingsway (within the bare Norquay Plan constraints of tower height and FSR), and to permit serious abuse of the requirement that a “plaza” be provided. Jackson put extra grease on the skids by deciding that one of the three most massive projects that Norquay could experience under the plan did not have to undergo review by the Development Permit Board. (This would have been one of only three opportunities normally provided for public comment, the other two being initial open house and public hearing for rezoning.) One concrete example of the “consultation” style of Brian Jackson.

In a 27 July 2015 interview on CBC Early Edition, Jackson said this:

There have been the large policy initiatives like Marpole, the West End plan, the Downtown Eastside plan, are all now being successfully implemented. The other implementation strategies that have been put in place in Norquay and Mount Pleasant are resulting in development applications in those areas.

As far as implementation of any local area plan goes, it seems clear that all Jackson and his Council masters care about is manufacturing a flow of development applications. There is no talk here of enhancement of amenity to serve new densities of population and traffic. Much less the concurrent provision of amenity promised in the Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision.

And here’s a report on the same day of something Jackson said to the Vancouver Courier:

I’m very proud of landing three very complex area plans [Downtown Eastside, Marpole and West End]. It’s also landing plans that actually have implementation strategies attached to them. It’s really looking at planning, not only in terms of doing bubble diagrams and pretty pictures, it’s devising plans that set out what the future land uses are for an area, set out what the community benefits could be and who’s going to pay for them and when they’ll occur.

What the community benefits could be. That mode of speech is conditional, and the bitter experience so far is no delivery. “When they’ll occur.” Has a clear timeline ever been specified for any local area subjected to a planning process?

The City of Vancouver’s interest seems to lie in ramping up development applications and city revenues from permits, fees, and property taxes. In other words, extracting value from ever more unhappy neighborhoods, not in adding value to them.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

27 July 2015 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Events, News