Archive for the ‘IRP-3365 Commercial’ Category

Hate Speaker

 
 
Gregor Robertson Upholds Hate Speaker

An Open Letter to Vancouver’s Mayor and Council

 
On 23 June 2016, while acting as chair of the public hearing on REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue, Gregor Robertson upheld and validated a speaker who (1) uttered repeated descriptions of “elderly” persons with contempt (2) advocated discrimination against those persons as a class.

 
robertson
 

 
 
Cover Letter

To:    Mayor and Council;  Councillors Individually;
       Sadhu Johnston, City Manager
From:  Joseph Jones
Re:    Gregor Robertson Upholds Hate Speaker
Date:  30 June 2016  [Email Time Stamp: Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 10:17 AM]

Find attached in pdf a detailed, focused, concise, depersonalized account of
the ageist hate speech that occurred at public hearing before Council on
23 June 2016. The hate speech was validated by the chair of the public hearing,
and has had wider effect. The letter concludes with specific request for remedy.
I look forward to receiving a written response from Mayor and Council. After
the upcoming long weekend, the first seven pages of the pdf material will be
made public as an open letter.

Sincerely,

Joseph Jones

 
 
Preliminary

The open version of this letter does not directly name any persons other than Gregor Robertson (in the capacity of his office as chair of a public hearing), Joseph Jones as the writer of this letter, and Councillor Adriane Carr as the only councillor who has specifically addressed the issue of this letter’s concern. A variant version formally submitted to mayor and council on 30 June 2016 differs in no substantial way other than providing an appended key to Twitter substitution codes that is aligned with a listing of the relevant subset of speakers at public hearing held on 23 June 2016. The concern of this letter is not to engage with personalities, nor with the matters of the public hearing, but specifically to address the issue of one particular constellation of ageist public expressions.

 
Summary

The first public hearing on REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue, held on 24 May 2016, was “voided” due to unprecedented irregularities. At the 23 June 2016 second public hearing Mayor Gregor Robertson, while acting as chair, upheld a speaker who was demeaning the “elderly” as a group. Subsequent investigation and analysis of both the mainstream and the social media context reveal that what that speaker expressed was not incidental, nor was it an isolated attitude. About an hour after being validated by Robertson, the offending speaker declared on Twitter that older people “need to die off.” Subsequent Twitter comment included instances of applause for the offender, and aggressive personal challenges to and dismissals of my two at-the-time Twitter comments on the use of hate speech. Those two Twitter observations were not addressed to any individual other than Gregor Robertson. Two CBC interviews with the offending individual (of which there are written, video, and audio records), both before and after the public hearing incident, served to propagate the speaker’s use of ageist invective.

 
What Is Hate Speech?

The balance between free speech and hate speech often presents thorny issues to courts that have to deal with particular cases. The relevant legislation outlined in Exhibit A clearly says that age is a covered “identifiable group” and that such a group is not to be subjected to discrimination, hatred, or contempt. In general, public discourse seems to show far greater sensitivity toward parallel covered groups, such as those identifiable by disability, origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

 
The Incidents at the Public Hearing

Discussion of the following incidents relates to transcriptions in Exhibit B.

Speaker 17 complained about how “these debates are dominated by older residents.” Suppose Speaker 17 had used, instead of “older,” an adjective like one of the following: Chinese, Muslim, gay. If an effective chair had reprimanded this off-topic inappropriate language at the outset, perhaps that message would have inhibited the more outrageous speaker who followed.

Speaker 22 on two occasions — at a separation of about one minute, with distinct escalations in content and tone — disparaged “elderly” speakers and called on Council to “ignore” them. Beyond inappropriately going off-topic to single out a particular age group, the speaker selected an exaggerated and pejorative term. Again, suppose the term had been not just Chinese, Muslim, gay, etc., but a more contemptuous expression. Would the chair have tolerated that?

Only after the second occurrence did I audibly interrupt the speaker with the phrase “hate speech.” Robertson responded: “Please respect the speaker — everyone else is.” After a pause, the audience erupted in brief general outcry. The speaker then continued. This was my only utterance toward any public speaker that evening. In the circumstance, I believe that what I did was restrained and justified. Prior to taking action, I observed distress in facial expressions among older persons in the audience.

 
The Twitter Context

Exhibit C provides in chronological order the content of 26 numbered tweets emanating from 10 tweeters between 8:20 pm on 23 June 2016 and 11:05 pm on 24 June 2016. The selection assembles a core of evidence on what took place during the public hearing and immediately following. The freewheeling ethos of Twitter is not at issue here. This particular social media context elucidates what was happening at the public hearing, and shows some of the consequences of the chair’s lax attitude toward hate speech.

Exhibit C supports the following points:

1.  Six of the tweets demonstrate emergence of a particular lobby group that intercommunicated before, during, and after the public hearing. That group has expressed intentions to continue with the same type of intervention into future public hearings, focusing not on the specifics of particular rezoning applications, but simply on the provision of secured rental housing in whatever form at whatever public cost.
02   06   21   22   24   25   (3 by ddd : 2 by aaa : 1 by iii)

2.  Nine of the tweets express ageist sentiments.
01   03   05   07   08   10   15   20   23   (3 by eee : 2 by aaa : 1 each by bbb, ccc, ddd, hhh)

3.  Three of the tweets manifest a strong degree of vituperation.
05   08   26   (2 by eee : 1 by ccc)

4.  Four of the tweets applaud Speaker 22. The later three of these tweets offer affirmation subsequent to considerations of what might have amounted to hate speech.
04   22   24   25   (1 each by aaa, bbb, ddd, iii)

5.  Two of the tweets aggressively deride the complaint about hate speech.
20   26   (1 each by ddd, eee)

6.  Speaker 22 further indulges in sexist jeer at the notion of hate speech amounting to anything more than free speech.
26   (1 by eee)

 
Aftermath

At the 28 June 2016 discussion and vote, three Vision Vancouver councillors deplored “divisiveness.” This sort of vague reference to turmoil at the event serves oppression by suggesting that conflict should not exist. Worse, this fuzziness masks and excuses the component of the conflict that qualifies as hate speech. In contrast, Councillor Adriane Carr itemized specifics, including age, but then failed to distinguish ageist hate speech from other forms of verbal conflict. Such a lack of distinction also serves oppression, albeit to a lesser degree.

 
Actions Requested as Remedy

1.  That public hearing chair Gregor Robertson issue a formal statement recognizing the serious nature and implications of this instance of failure to reprimand immediately the use of ageist language in Council proceedings.

2.  That Council as part of the same formal statement offer specific assurance that its meeting chairs will exercise full vigilance in monitoring for ageist language in the future.

3.  That Council initiate a standard brief protocol to announce, at the outset of every public hearing and at the outset of every potentially contentious public-speaker item at ordinary meetings, that speech disparaging persons under ANY of the hate speech categories — age, color, disability mental or physical, ethnic origin or ancestry, family status, marital status, national origin or place of origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation — will not be tolerated in any degree whatsoever.

Explanatory: The above alphabetic listing for “hate speech categories” combines the lists of terms found in Exhibit A, setting the local British Columbia language first where there are parallels.

 
Joseph Jones 30 June 2016
 

 
Exhibit A — Hate Speech Legislation

 
The basics are set forth in the Criminal Code of Canada under Sections 318 and 319 titled Hate Propaganda

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-71.html#h-92

318 (4) defines identifiable group as “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability.”

Comment: A key term in 318 (4) is “age.”

 
Under the subtitle Wilful Promotion of Hatred is stated the following:

319 (2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private
        conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable
        group is guilty of
        (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term
            not exceeding two years; or
        (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

 
 
Under the subtitle Defences is listed the following defence that would be most likely in the circumstance addressed:

    (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2) (c) if
        the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion
        of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed
        them to be true;

 
Comment: A key phrase in 319 (3) (c) is “on reasonable grounds.”

 
The British Columbia provincial Human Rights Code [RSBC 1996] Chapter 210 offers similar description under the title Discriminatory Publication:

7 (1) A person must not publish, issue or display, or cause to be published,
      issued or displayed, any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol,
      emblem or other representation that

      (a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against
          a person or a group or class of persons, or

      (b) is likely to expose a person or a group or class of persons to
          hatred or contempt because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of
          origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental
          disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or that
          group or class of persons.

   (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a private communication, a communication
       intended to be private or a communication related to an activity
       otherwise permitted by this Code.

 
http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96210_01#section7
 

 
Exhibit B — Ageist Comments at 24 June 2016 Public Hearing

 
2:08:51 to 2:08:54

Speaker 17: How much of these debates are dominated by older residents

 
2:53:20 to 2:53:25

Speaker 22: This is so clearly a sense of elderly ownership or cheap rental entitlement and young people just trying to make a living

 
2:54:22 to 2:54:40

Speaker 22: I strongly urge you to absolutely — and I mean this — absolutely ignore the concerns of entitled elderly people ruining the future of our city —

Jones: Hate speech [interjection]

[pause]

Robertson: Please respect the speaker — everyone else is

Speaker 22: Absolutely —

[General outcry]
 

 
Exhibit C — Numbered Selection of Tweets in Chronological Order

 
The two following notes are added to the public version of this open letter:

Except for @jonesj and @MayorGregor, three-letter substitution codes have been consistently assigned to all tweeters involved. The issue is a chair’s validation of use of hate speech, not the existence
of identifiable personalities.

Structure of tweets  =  Assigned sequence number  |  Tweeter  |  Date and Time of Tweet  |  Tweet Content

 
01 @aaa 23 June 8:20 pm Most of us YIMBYs are in the antechamber now, marveling at the age split. If you’re under 50 you’re For. #vanpoli [photo]

02 @aaa 23 June 8:55 pm Inaugural meeting of Vancouver YIMBY group. @ddd @jjj @ggg @kkk @lll and @eee

03 @bbb 23 June 8:57 pm Really gripping #VanRE #bcpoli Clearly gen Y affordability vs boomers want density status quo.

04 @bbb 23 June 9:06 pm Wow was that @eee at the hearing? FANTASTIC!

05 @ccc 23 June 10:30 pm 18 is the minimum age for voting. Starting to think there should be a maximum age. How about life expectancy minus 18 years?

06 @ddd 23 June 10:36 pm @aaa @bbb @mmm @nnn @jjj Yeah, this was the best I’ve seen. Thanks everyone for coming out!

07 @eee 23 June 11:11 pm @ddd @ooo It’s 55yr/old+ NIMBYS vs. <40yr/old YIMBYs. YIMBYs wear plaid and have a vision.

08 @eee 23 June 11:13 pm @ddd @ooo YIMBYs are the future. NIMBYs need to die off #YVRYIMBY #VanRE

09 @jonesj 23 June 11:32 pm Several speakers at 3365 Commercial public hearing veered into ageist hate speech while 50+ @mayorgregor … just sat there #eastvan #vanpoli

10 @eee 23 June 11:32 pm NIMBYS in Vancouver are all 55yrs/old+. YIMBYs are all <40yrs/old. We are the future. Become a #YVRYIMBY y’all! #VanRE

11 @fff 23 June 11:46 pm @jonesj R you kidding hate speech and no one said anything

12 @jonesj 23 June 11:57 pm @fff No kidding. Not quite. I shouted «hate speech» at worst offender. Chair Gregor reprimanded no one.

13 @ggg 24 June 8:30 am @jonesj @MayorGregor please be specific

14 @ddd 24 June 8:35 am @jonesj @fff Can you provide a specific example of hate speech? Noting the avg age of the "less housing!" crowd doesn't count.

15 @hhh 24 June 8:54 am @ppp A lot more supporters at this hearing than the 1st go round. Under 40s sick of NIMBYs forcing young people to leave the city.

16 @jonesj 24 June 9:06 am @ggg @MayorGregor See video when available

17 @jonesj 24 June 9:09 am @ddd @fff See video when available

18 @ddd 24 June 9:10 am @jonesj @fff I was there, I spoke, didn’t hear any hate speech.

19 @ggg 24 June 9:43 am @jonesj @MayorGregor I was there and have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe I missed it? Just asking for an example or two.

20 @ddd 24 June 10:54 am @jonesj ~2:54 on vid. You called “the concerns of entitled elderly people (are) ruining the future of our city” hate speech? Hahahaha

21 @ddd 24 June 11:02 am @aaa @jjj @ggg @kkk @lll @eee Vid’s up. [Speaker 22]’s speech 2:52

22 @ddd 24 June 11:02 am @aaa @jjj @ggg @kkk @lll @eee Spoiler: it’s fantastic

23 @aaa 24 June 12:16 pm @qqq @eee @ccc Those against the proposal last night were focused on keeping their remaining ~20 years the same.

24 @iii 24 June 1:17 pm @ddd @aaa @jjj @ggg @kkk @lll @eee Amazing [Speaker 22], thank you!

25 @aaa 24 June 1:19 pm @iii @ddd @jjj @ggg @kkk @lll @eee yeah he’s [Speaker 22] an awesome speaker!

26 @eee 24 June 11:05 pm @ddd @jonesj that was epic. Been laughing ’bout that all day. Man the fuck up Mr. Heckler [emoticon]. Freedom of speech FTW.
 

 
Supplemental Exhibit  —  Not Part of Open Letter Version

 
This material consisted mainly of an eighteen-line table correlating

Number of Tweets in Exhibit C
Masking Code  =  Twitter Identity
Position on Speakers List with Name (9 of 18)
 
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

4 July 2016 at 8:35 am

Seven Big Old Trees

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3365 Commercial Drive at East 18th Avenue

 
A grove of seven Lawson cypress trees is the most visible issue posed by Cressey’s application to develop the site on the northwest corner of Commercial Drive at East 18th Avenue. The account that follows distills a variety of information sources on that magnificent grove of trees. To facilitate focused discussion, the many other trees on the site are not considered here.

 
IMG_4119-648
 

 
Rationale

1.  The cypress grove is a major existing amenity in the heart of East Vancouver. It occupies a special and prominent location

        At the actual geographic center of East Vancouver
        Near the Cedar Cottage site that gave its name to the local area
        Among the intersections of the unusual local street grid
        Along a distinctive curve that connects Commercial to Victoria
        Adjacent to Skytrain and highly visible to thousands daily
        On an irregular narrow extension of property that allows for easy separation
            from surrounding parcel development

2.  Vancouver has suffered accelerated loss of tree canopy because of massive hasty redevelopment.

3.  When compared with west side, East Vancouver is a clear poor cousin in the area of tree provision.

 
Problem

Throughout the refinements of the 3365 Commercial development proposal, the approach to retention of the prominent cypress grove has been consistently grudging, partial, insufficient, and ineffective. Careful examination of the record reveals that all of the cypress trees are under serious threat, with high likelihood that all will die quickly under the existing proposal.

1.  A few glib words tossed around in Council chamber guarantee “absolutely” … nothing (Exhibit A).

2.  The conditions set out in the report of the project arborist offer no substantial assurances (Exhibit G). The track record of tree destruction at the Avalon Dairy site shows how little the “planning” and Council approval matter to what actually happens — Avalon Tree Whack and Avalon Clearer Cut.

3.  The project arborist has indicated on at least two occasions that the plan, in terms of longevity for the trees, amounts to little more than developer window dressing (Exhibit E). His professionalism and frankness is to be commended.

4.  The City of Vancouver has thus far lacked the will to keep the healthy grove whole. City of Vancouver “exploration” has clearly neglected the public interest in favor of serving the developer on bended knee (Exhibit D).

       Mr. King mentioned that staff are exploring retention of two additional
       trees in the stand which would reduce density.

5.  From the outset, unfriendly developer Cressey has made clear its hope that those trees would just disappear (Exhibit H).

 
Solution

1.  The staff presentation on 24 May 2016 identifies the six healthy trees that the developer would pretend to retain — with no guarantees about impacts of building modifications, excavation requirements, etc (Exhibit B).

2.  A marked-up version of the arborist “retention” plan — better termed developer eradication plan — shows how a slight reduction of building footprint could allow for true healthy retention of the entire cypress grove (Exhibit F).

3.  The City of Vancouver owns a crucial piece of land right beside the grove, land that the developer seeks to incorporate into the project. Rather than hand over that piece of land (owned since 1939) and walk away, while extracting yet more resources from an underserved local area, the City of Vancouver needs to negotiate and to use its leverage.

       6. City-owned Lot at 1733 East 18th Avenue
       
       One of the five lots that comprise the subject site (the lot located
       at 1733 East 18th Avenue) has been owned by the City of Vancouver
       since 1939 and has always been vacant. The lot is 295.4 m2 (3,180
       sq. ft.) in area, measures 18.2 m (60 ft.) x 16.1 m (53 ft.) and is
       located mid- block west of Commercial Drive (see Figure 2). The City
       lot represents nine percent of the total subject site area. The City
       has determined this relatively small lot is not required for
       infrastructure purposes nor is it suitable for additional community
       amenities for the area, particularly given the existing supply of
       park space and services in the area. The City has entered into an
       agreement with the applicant to sell the lot, but such purchase and
       sale is conditional on Council’s unfettered consideration and
       approval in principle of the land use matters reflected in this
       rezoning application.

       Policy Report — 11 April 2016 (Exhibit C) — Page 16

4.  Since the City of Vancouver already owns 9% of the land, it should engage in a swap-and-sale deal to genuinely retain the full healthy grove as an ongoing public asset. The mappings cited in items 1 and 2 above make it clear that this is reasonable and possible. This would be done at no “cost” to the City of Vancouver, which could still extract a portion of the land value. The developer could also benefit from giving up a portion of the site that requires the expense of a greater amount of excavation. The developer’s problems of pretending to care for the trees and of needing to be monitored could also be reduced considerably.

Should these dealings with a favored developer mean that the local area only acquires yet more burden and loss, with zero true public benefit? New market rental for a few individuals does not constitute “public benefit” according to any reasonable use of the term.

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

 
Exhibits A – H

 
The following annotated extracts with source citations are presented in reverse chronological order.

 
A.  Heather Deal / Yardley McNeill Exchange — 24 May 2016
 
B.  Staff Presentation — CD-1 Rezoning — 24 May 2016
 
C.  Policy Report — 11 April 2016
 
D.  Urban Design Panel — 3 June 2015
 
E.  Joseph Jones Comment on 21 May 2015 Open House — 1 June 2015
 
F.  Tree Retention Plan of Arborist — 30 April 2014
 
G.  Report from Arborist — 30 April 2014
 
H.  Original Cressey Plan — 7 October 2013



 
 
A.  Heather Deal / Yardley McNeill Exchange — 24 May 2016

Transcription from Council video record — 2:23:45 to 2:24:45
http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver
3.  3365 Commercial Dr & 1695-1775 East 18th

 
Councillor Deal:
Um — you went through some numbers at the beginning — Can we go back again to the tree numbers — those large cedars, I think it’s cedars at the corner — Were those saved in the original plan? Because those are really significant.

Planner McNeill:
With the original inquiry, no, they weren’t. When it came in for an application, they were five of the seven — There’s seven fifty-foot Lawson cypress trees, and two of them are within the building footprint for the rental building. The other five are outside of it, and those are proposed to be retained, in addition to a seventy-five foot tall western hemlock that’s off the northern property line.

Councillor Deal:
Right. So it’s the ones right at the corner that — I’m looking at the air photos — and they’re the ones that from the street are the most significant. So those are being retained at this point?

Planner McNeill:
That’s correct.

Councillor Deal:
And we can put that as an — as an absolute requirement?

Planner McNeill:
Absolutely.



 
 
B.  Staff Presentation — CD-1 Rezoning — 24 May 2016

http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/documents/phea3-Presentation.pdf

Existing Trees — Slide 15

 
phea3-Presentation-15-648
 



 
 
C.  Policy Report — 11 April 2016


http://council.vancouver.ca/20160419/documents/p4.pdf

 
Particularly relevant portions of the following extracts have been marked in boldface.

 
       p. 3
       
       The site is located at the interface between the Cedar Cottage
       neighbourhood and a major arterial route including the elevated
       Skytrain guide-way; as well as a number of significant specimen
       trees. With continuing dialogue with the community, the proposal has
       evolved through the application review process. If approved, the
       proposal will provide affordable rental and family housing in a
       well-located setting. The overall development concept would preserve
       a number of existing mature trees and establish an appropriate
       transition in scale and form along its East 18th Avenue frontage.
       
       
       p. 5
       
       Several of the lots are large and over-grown with trees and bushes
       of varying degrees of health. Notable landscape elements include a
       cluster of large Lawson Cypress trees at the southeast corner of the
       site and a large Western Hemlock near the north property line. The
       ground elevation rises to the west and some sections of the site are
       below the grade level of East 18th Avenue.
       
       
       p. 8
       
       The proposed rental apartment building is comprised of a six-storey
       block facing Commercial Drive and a 31⁄2-storey block fronting East
       18th Avenue, linked by a three-storey glass-enclosed bridge element
       that contains the lobby on the main floor and corridors above. One
       level of underground parking is proposed with access from the low
       point along East 18th Avenue. Retention of a significant stand of
       five mature Lawson Cypress trees at the corner of the site near
       Commercial Drive and East 18th Avenue is proposed. If the
       application is approved along with the proposed conditions of
       enactment, a significant Western Hemlock tree that exists near the
       north property line will also be retained. As such, the built form
       has been sensitively shaped and arranged on the site in order to
       integrate with the existing mature landscaping.
       
       
       p. 9
       
       The distance between the rental building and the closest neighbour
       to the west is 185 feet. The retention of a significant Western
       Hemlock tree in the rear of the subject site will provide a
       screening element, and in conjunction with the oblique views
       generated by the six-storey block (due to the Commercial Drive
       alignment), will result in limited over-look onto adjacent
       properties and an acceptable relationship with the context.
       
       
       p. 12-13
       
       Tree Retention and New Landscaping
       
       As noted, the subject site is significantly vegetated and it
       contains a number of significant specimen trees. A certified report
       by a professional Arborist was submitted with the rezoning
       application. Staff have reviewed the report and confirmed that the
       subject site contains a total of 39 existing trees that are over 20
       cm (about 8 inches) in caliper. Seven trees over 20 cm caliper exist
       within the City-owned street right-of-way (see Figure 7).
       
       The professional arborist has assessed all of the existing trees and
       has determined that the majority of these trees are in poor or
       declining health. Of the total of 46 trees inventoried, only 15 are
       considered to be healthy and can be expected to have a reasonable
       likelihood of longer-term survival. Many of the existing trees have
       suffered from lack of maintenance or neglect, some have been topped
       or have been improperly pruned and others suffer from infestation or
       disease. Several have multiple stems and are not considered
       high-value tree assets suitable for retention. The seven existing
       trees that are currently located within the public street
       right-of-way are not considered to be healthy enough to be safely
       retained and, with future development of sidewalks and curbs will be
       replaced with a double row of new street trees. Of the trees located
       within the five lots that comprise the subject site, 15 are deemed
       to be healthy enough that they could be retained based solely on
       their existing condition.
       
       The rezoning application proposes to retain six of the 15 existing
       on-site healthy trees (of the nine not being retained, four have
       multiple stems and are not considered to be sound candidates for
       retention, the remaining five are within the proposed building foot
       print). Those proposed for retention are some of the largest of the
       existing healthy trees within the subject site and include five of
       the 15 m (50 foot) tall Lawson Cypress trees that are prominent at
       the corner of Commercial Drive and East 18th Avenue as well as the
       23 m (75 foot) tall Western Hemlock that is situated near the north
       property line. To retain the Western Hemlock, the underground
       parking as proposed in the rezoning application will need to be
       reconfigured (see conditions in Appendix B).
       
       As part of the application, a significant number of new trees would
       be planted across the subject site. A total of 81 new trees would be
       planted -- 54 new trees on the private property and 27 new street
       trees within the public road right-of-way. Along with the six
       existing mature trees to be retained, the total number of trees will
       be 87 which is 41 more trees than exist today (see Figure 7).
       
       
       p. 16
       
       The preservation and re-use of the heritage house along with the
       retention of several large specimen trees is generally consistent
       with sustainability goals of the City. Through the conditions of
       this report, and in line with advice sought from the UDP regarding
       sustainability measures, staff are recommending conditions of
       approval that seek consideration of external shading devices on the
       south elevation of the rental building to mitigate solar gain.
       Additionally, the development of an extensive green roof on the
       31⁄2-storey rental block is sought in order to improve the
       sustainability performance of the development.
       
       
       Appendix B.  3 of 12
       
       16. Provision of a "Tree Management Plan".
       Note to Applicant: Provide a large scale tree plan that is separate
       from the landscape plan. The plan should clearly illustrate all
       trees to be removed and retained, including dimensioned tree
       protection barriers and important construction management directives
       drawn out of the arborist report(s) such as clearly illustrating the
       limit of excavation and footing design strategy (i.e. vertical
       shoring, shotcrete).
       
       
       Appendix B.  4 of 12
       
       17. Provision of detailed architectural and landscape cross sections
       (minimum 1/4" inch scale) through tree protection zones, all
       proposed common open spaces and semi-private patio areas.
       Note to Applicant: In tree protection areas, the sections should
       illustrate and dimension the limit of excavation, the slab design
       and location, the soil profile, tree root ball, tree canopy and any
       associated landscaping. For private patios and amenity areas,
       illustrate and dimension planters on slab, planter sizes (inside
       dimension), soil, root ball, retaining walls, steps, patios and
       portions of the adjacent building, such as residential units or
       amenity rooms.



 
 
D.  Urban Design Panel — 3 June 2015

http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/minutes-urban-design-panel-_20150603.pdf

Relevant comment on trees from the Urban Design Panel review is reproduced below:

 
Yardley McNeill, Rezoning Planner:
This site is comprised of five lots, heavily wooded with a variety of specimen trees, most notably a cluster of seven large Lawson Cypress trees at the corner of East 18th Avenue and Commercial Drive and Western Hemlock along the north property line.

 
Colin King, Development Planner:
The site includes significant mature trees, including but not limited to the prominent stand at the corner of the site and two to the rear providing screening to adjacent 2-storey development.

The two trees in the courtyard area could be retained with minimal interruption of the current landscape proposal and deletion of five parking spaces since the current proposed application exceeds required parking. As well these trees have high visibility fr om the north along Commercial Drive.

The massing at the corner is a direct expression of the 6-storey height and has been pulled back to retain a stand of five mature trees. Mr. King mentioned that staff are exploring retention of two additional trees in the stand which would reduce density.

 
Jennifer Stamp, Landscape Architect, [for developer Cressey] further described the landscaping plans and mentioned that the existing trees currently land in the children’s play area which she feels can be easily incorporated as a play element. The existing stand on the corner will have a pathway for the public and some seating on the corner.

 
Urban Design Panel summary comment:
As well they thought there should be solar shading on the south façade although they noted that the existing trees would help somewhat in mitigating the solar gain.



 
 
E.  Joseph Jones Comment on 21 May 2015 Open House — 1 June 2015

https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/six-letters/#2of6

What follows is the portion of comment directly relevant to trees as made by Joseph Jones to City of Vancouver on 1 June 2015 in formal response.

       3.  The retention of cypress trees at the corner is highly
       desirable. Extensive discussion with the project arborist at the
       open house underlies the following recommendations. As presently
       structured, the development adjacent to the retained trees will
       result in a root loss of approximately 30%, significantly impairing
       the longevity of the five trees proposed for retention. Therefore
       the physical structure fronting Commercial Drive should be modified
       to mitigate root loss and to enhance that area’s provision of water
       and nutrients. Slight additional setback of the building should be
       coupled with more extensive foundation setback to accommodate
       existing root structure. Cantilever with design to channel rainwater
       under the sheltered portion should provide a viable option,
       especially considering the large benefit already conferred on the
       developer in the form of requiring no commercial space on ground
       floor. As necessary to achieve this additional root space,
       commensurate reduction in underground parking would be acceptable.
       The existing grove of cypress trees amounts to a major amenity.
       Since absolutely nothing will be coming back to the neighborhood
       from this proposed development, impact on already enjoyed amenity
       should minimized as much as possible.
       
       4.  The weakest, smallest cypress should be removed immediately to
       enhance the viability of the remaining four. The arborist does not
       anticipate a healthy future for the runt. With slight additional
       setback, one additional tree to the north that is scheduled for
       removal could be retained.

Information reported from another person who talked to the arborist paints a grimmer picture: that adjacent excavation for underground parking would likely destroy the root system of the presumably “retained” trees within two years.



 
 
F.  Tree Retention Plan of Arborist — 30 April 2014

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/3365commercial/documents/treeretentionplan.PDF

The graphic below is an extraction of the Lawson cypress grove area from the larger graphic that constitutes the overall arborist plan for tree eradication — since eradication is the net overall effect, that seems a more accurate term.

 
retentionplan-1-648
 

The portion of the proposed “building envelope” that needs to be eradicated is outlined in red. The two grove trees that would be retained are circled in green.



 
 
G.  Report from Arborist — 30 April 2014

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/3365commercial/documents/arboristreport.PDF

The arborist confirmed that all seven Lawson cypress in the grove rate as Normal in condition. The explanation of the rating scale on page 3 makes it clear that “normal” is an understatement, since the only higher category amounts to an exceptional status, in effect an A+ — a status that applies to none of the many trees on the property. Trees numbered 1651 and 1653 are proposed for removal because “in conflict with the proposed building envelope.” The obvious solution is to modify the proposed building envelope. It seems wrongheaded and malicious to impair the grove, when moderate additional setback could save the two additional trees and ensure a healthy root condition for the entire grove.

 
arborist-7cypress-648
 

Section 5.0 Construction Guidelines on p. 18-21 assures “absolutely” nothing beyond observation and reporting. Consider what happened to significant trees at Avalon Dairy subsequent to approval of the report to Council. Essentially, the developer is routinely given a blank cheque to modify plans and to remove significant trees at will, with only pro forma “discussion” and “review” involved — and no consequences for deviating from what Council approved.



 
 
H.  Original Cressey Plan — 7 October 2013

https://ccan2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/area-comp.jpg

At the pre-application open house, Cressey presented plans that showed intent to wipe out the entire Lawson cypress grove at the corner.

 
2013decCresseyplan-648
 

 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

14 June 2016 at 11:13 pm

Six Letters

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Comments to City of Vancouver on
Development Proposed for 3365 Commercial
Made
Prior to Referral to Public Hearing

 
The following six letters 2015-2016 show how little attention City of Vancouver planners paid to extensive, timely, reasoned comment. And perhaps how much planner arms were twisted in the back room by developer-funded civic parties. The 24 May 2016 gong show public hearing on 3365 Commercial did not have to happen. We know that these six letters are only a fraction of the correspondence that the City received from individuals, and from groups such as Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. This case study exposes City of Vancouver claims to engagement and consultation as amounting to little more than cynical misdirection.
 

1 of 6 2015 June 1 Jeanette Jones to Rezoning Planner
     
2 of 6 2015 June 1 Joseph Jones to Rezoning Planner
     
3 of 6 2016 January 9 Jeanette Jones to Rezoning Planner & Assistant Director of Planning
     
4 of 6 2016 January 27 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to Heritage Commission
     
5 of 6 2016 April 15 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to City Manager & City Clerk
     
6 of 6 2016 April 18 Jeanette & Joseph Jones to Mayor & Council
                                                       



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 9:57 PM
Subject:   Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and
           1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 

 
Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
This application should not be approved in its current form for the following reasons:

 
1.  The building form does not meet the criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy. The IRP states that “mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys” may be considered if they front on arterials. In this case, a 6-storey building is proposed to front on Commercial Drive. “Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street” (i.e. behind the apartment building), the IRP permits “ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, and courtyard row houses.” The intent of the IRP is “to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground- oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on- going housing opportunities.”

Until now, the phrase “ground-oriented forms” has been understood to mean the housing types listed above. In the case of this application, I was told at the Open House that three of the ground floor units in the 4-storey wing have ground-level entries, although only one unit is shown on the floor plan. In any case, the City seems to be implying that the presence of a few ground floor units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit 4-storey wing fronting on 18th Avenue a “ground-oriented building form.” Planners have referenced examples in other parts of the City.

This is a false comparison. Yes, there are multi-storey apartment buildings in Vancouver where there are a few ground floor units with private, ground-level entries that could be called “ground-oriented units.” But these units do not define the building form. An apartment building does not become a ground-oriented building form because it contains a few units that have private ground-level entries. It does not meet requirements where City policy specifies that ground-oriented housing types should be built. The 4-storey wing of the apartment building proposed in this application needs to be removed. All housing units behind the 6-storey building fronting on Commercial should be small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, or courtyard row houses, just as the IRP specifies. Otherwise there will be fewer, not more, examples of “ground-oriented affordable housing types” built under the IRP. This would defeat the clearly stated intent of the policy.

 
2.  The 6-storey apartment building is too tall and massive for this site. The height and mass are excessive for a building in the RS-2 zone. The building should be shorter. Failing this, the 5th and 6th storeys should be set back at least 10 feet from the building edge. The building design should be improved to reduce the massing, and to add interest and variety.

 
3.  The 6-storey building is set too close to the property line. The setback is only .2 metres on Commercial and .91 metres on East 18th Avenue. This is not enough. A greater setback would enable landscaping to soften the impact of the building, and make it fit in better with the surrounding residences.

 
4.  More trees should be retained. At a minimum, the fir and hemlock trees (#1677 and #1678) identified by the arborist as being in “normal” condition should be kept. There should be sufficient space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue so that those trees survive undamaged.

 
5.  The “heritage” house should be removed. The house has little heritage value at present. It will have virtually none after it has had its interior gutted and its exterior finishes replaced, and has been moved from its present location onto a new foundation elsewhere on the site.

 
Jeanette Jones

June 1, 2015



 



 

From:      Joseph Jones 
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca
Date:      Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 3:24 PM
Subject:   Comment on 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 

 
To: Yardley McNeill, Rezoning Planner, yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca
From: Joseph Jones
Date: 1 June 2015

 
Please confirm that this comment on the 21 May 2015 open house for development proposed for the above address has been received and put on record.

1.  Comments are listed here in order of decreasing expectation that they will have any impact on the specific development proposal or on City of Vancouver planning practices. This means that comment numbered two seems most likely to result in revision to the proposal, etc.

2.  Under Interim Rezoning Policy, it seems inappropriate to permit development encroachment along East 18th Avenue into a long-established RS area through mere fact of parcel contiguity. The parcel fronting Commercial Drive should constitute the single locus for application of IRP. The East 18th Avenue parcels should emphasize ground-oriented access to dwellings and should give preference to rowhouse form.

3.  The retention of cypress trees at the corner is highly desirable. Extensive discussion with the project arborist at the open house underlies the following recommendations. As presently structured, the development adjacent to the retained trees will result in a root loss of approximately 30%, significantly impairing the longevity of the five trees proposed for retention. Therefore the physical structure fronting Commercial Drive should be modified to mitigate root loss and to enhance that area’s provision of water and nutrients. Slight additional setback of the building should be coupled with more extensive foundation setback to accommodate existing root structure. Cantilever with design to channel rainwater under the sheltered portion should provide a viable option, especially considering the large benefit already conferred on the developer in the form of requiring no commercial space on ground floor. As necessary to achieve this additional root space, commensurate reduction in underground parking would be acceptable. The existing grove of cypress trees amounts to a major amenity. Since absolutely nothing will be coming back to the neighborhood from this proposed development, impact on already enjoyed amenity should minimized as much as possible.

4.  The weakest, smallest cypress should be removed immediately to enhance the viability of the remaining four. The arborist does not anticipate a healthy future for the runt. With slight additional setback, one additional tree to the north that is scheduled for removal could be retained.

5.  The setback from Commercial Drive appears to be insufficient. At an absolute minimum, it should equal that of the Porter STIR project to the immediate south of the site.

6.  It is not apparent that the development or the neighborhood will benefit at all from the extreme relocation and retention of a highly dubious “heritage” facade. This supposed heritage element should in no way benefit the developer in terms of increased FSR or height or transfer allowances.

7.  It seems clear that the City of Vancouver via the Property Endowment Fund is prepared to sell its parcel of land to Cressey and to extract value from the neighborhood with no return whatsoever to the affected location.

8.  This IRP proposal appears to be the fifth that has been entertained by the City of Vancouver since the 2012 inception of an obviously failed policy. It does not go unnoticed that the only IRP rejection so far has occurred on the far west side of Vancouver. Even worse, this particular IRP project is the third to land in Kensington-Cedar Cottage, and lies within less than ten blocks of an IRP site on Knight Street that eliminated existing affordable apartment housing and clearly fudged on the criterion of adjacency to a shopping district. The density dumping and amenity extraction that City of Vancouver fosters in KCC is execrable planning and serves a blatantly classist agenda.

9.  There is evidence that Cressey is an exploitative and abusive landlord. It is unfortunate that the City of Vancouver would permit these operators to concentrate in one local area and to subsidize them handsomely.



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca;
Cc:        kent.munro@vancouver.ca; 
Date:      Sat, Jan 9, 2016 at 9:34 PM
Subject:   Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and
           1695-1775 East 18th Avenue, Revisions of December 3, 2015

 
 
Comment on Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
Revisions of December 3, 2015

 
The changes to the application proposed in the revisions of December 3, 2015 do not adequately address the issues raised in my comments of June 1, 2015 on the original application. These comments are reproduced below, followed by a current response in blue.

This application should not be approved in its current form for the following reasons:

 
1.  The building form does not meet the criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy. The IRP states that “mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys” may be considered if they front on arterials. In this case, a 6-storey building is proposed to front on Commercial Drive. “Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street” (i.e. behind the apartment building), the IRP permits “ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, and courtyard row houses.” The intent of the IRP is “to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground- oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on- going housing opportunities.”

Until now, the phrase “ground-oriented forms” has been understood to mean the housing types listed above. In the case of this application, I was told at the Open House that three of the ground floor units in the 4-storey wing have ground-level entries, although only one unit is shown on the floor plan. In any case, the City seems to be implying that the presence of a few ground floor units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit 4-storey wing fronting on 18th Avenue a “ground-oriented building form.” Planners have referenced examples in other parts of the City.

This is a false comparison. Yes, there are multi-storey apartment buildings in Vancouver where there are a few ground floor units with private, ground-level entries that could be called “ground-oriented units.” But these units do not define the building form. An apartment building does not become a ground-oriented building form because it contains a few units that have private ground-level entries. It does not meet requirements where City policy specifies that ground-oriented housing types should be built. The 4-storey wing of the apartment building proposed in this application needs to be removed. All housing units behind the 6-storey building fronting on Commercial should be small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, or courtyard row houses, just as the IRP specifies. Otherwise there will be fewer, not more, examples of “ground-oriented affordable housing types” built under the IRP. This would defeat the clearly stated intent of the policy.

I do not know how to state this point more clearly. The proposed 4-storey wing that fronts on East 18th Avenue still violates both the intent and the form of development/location criteria of the Interim Rezoning Policy. It does not provide a suitable “transition zone between higher density arterial streets and single family areas.” The additional setback of the 4th storey does not bring the height of the building down to the 3.5 storey maximum specified by the IRP. If the City of Vancouver is determined to allow 4-storey apartment building form in this location, a detailed rationale for this decision needs to be provided in the Report to Council that will accompany the final recommendation of the Planning Department.

 
2.  The 6-storey apartment building is too tall and massive for this site. The height and mass are excessive for a building in the RS-2 zone. The building should be shorter. Failing this, the 5th and 6th storeys should be set back at least 10 feet from the building edge. The building design should be improved to reduce the massing, and to add interest and variety.

The height of this building has not been reduced. Any additional setback of upper storeys seems to be confined to the back of the building. There is no substantial reduction in the mass of the building as seen from the street.

 
3.  The 6-storey building is set too close to the property line. The setback is only .2 metres on Commercial and .91 metres on East 18th Avenue. This is not enough. A greater setback would enable landscaping to soften the impact of the building, and make it fit in better with the surrounding residences.

The setback seems unchanged for either building. Front yards in Marpole’s new RM-9/RM-9N zone have a depth of 4.9 metres. In Norquay’s new RM-9A/RM-9AN zone, they have a depth of 3.7 metres (Guidelines, Section 4.4.1). This should be a minimum setback for 100% residential apartment buildings, especially when they front on residential streets.

 
4.  More trees should be retained. At a minimum, the fir and hemlock trees (#1677 and #1678) identified by the arborist as being in “normal” condition should be kept. There should be sufficient space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue so that those trees survive undamaged.

It does not look as if the two specified trees are being retained. Changes to the 6-storey building seem to reduce rather than expand the space allowed for the root balls of the grove of trees at the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue. The community considers these trees the true “heritage value” of this site.

 
5.  The “heritage” house should be removed. The house has little heritage value at present. It will have virtually none after it has had its interior gutted and its exterior finishes replaced, and has been moved from its present location onto a new foundation elsewhere on the site.

I have heard only one person from the neighbourhood speak in favour of retaining this house. The Heritage Commission has stated that its value (minimal at best) is conditional on its remaining in its current location. None of the costs of retaining and moving this house should be included in the applicant’s pro forma. No additional density should be granted for dubious “heritage retention.”

 
Jeanette Jones

June 1, 2015
January 8, 2016



 



 

From:	   Jeanette Jones (xxx)
To:        heritage.commission@vancouver.ca; james.boldt@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 7:10 AM
Subject:   Comment on 3365 Commercial Drive

 
 
To: Members of the Vancouver Heritage Commission
cc: James Boldt, Heritage Planner

We would like to comment on the revised rezoning application submitted on December 3, 2015 for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 E. 18th Avenue.

At its May 4, 2015 meeting, the Vancouver Heritage Commission voted no on supporting the original application of March 12, 2015. That application proposed to relocate and rehabilitate this house. The no vote responded to “the relocation of the house, its new siting, and its condition.” The minutes of the meeting state “the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.”

We anticipate that the revised application may soon come before the Heritage Commission.

We do not support the relocation and rehabilitation of this house for the following reasons:

1.  The community does not believe that the heritage value of this house can justify the expense of relocating and rehabilitating it. None of the approximately 50 residents who attended a meeting of the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours last summer included the retention of this house in their personal list of interests associated with this application.

2.  The earlier concerns expressed by the Commission have not been addressed by the revised application. Specifically,

(a) Relocation of the house. The Statement of Significance (SOS) states that “3365 Commercial Drive is valued as one of the last examples of the semi-rural, residential heritage of the surrounding area” (p. 2). Its main value will be lost if the house is moved and the “semi-rural” setting is developed.

(b) Siting of the house. The revised application has not changed the new siting of the house. It still proposes to relocate the house very close to a street. Its current location is well back from the street among large trees, as can be see in the pictures on p. 10-11 of the SOS.

(c) Condition of the house. The house has been poorly maintained, and little effort has been put into protecting its heritage value.

3.  The revised “infill project adjacent” remains incompatible with the heritage house. The townhouse building has been reconfigured and moved further away from the heritage house, resulting in more open space between the buildings. But the infill project still consists of a modernist, box-shaped, flat-roofed building that jars with the heritage house rather than complementing it. The design of the apartment buildings containing the 110 rental units is even more incompatible with the heritage house.

The SOS gave the house only 26 points out of a possible 100. The Commission later upgraded this to 31 points. Even when considered in its current location, this house garnered barely enough points to justify putting it on the Commission’s “C” list. We do not believe that any incentives should be given to the developer to preserve and relocate the heritage house at 3365 Commercial Drive.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones 
To:        sadhu.johnston@vancouver.ca;
Cc:        janice.mackenzie@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:53 PM
Subject:   Council agenda item for april 19: 3365 Commercial rezoning

 
To: Sadhu Johnston, City Manager
cc: Janice MacKenzie, City Clerk

Please remove Policy Report #4 (CD-1 Rezoning — 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue) from the agenda for the Council meeting of April 19, 2016. This rezoning application includes a significant heritage component. At its meeting on May 4, 2015 the Heritage Commission stated that “The Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition,” and said that they would be willing to consider a revised application. A revised application was submitted to CoV by the developer in December 2015, but staff has not sent that application to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The application should not proceed to Council until the Commission has had a chance to review the revisions, which we believe do not adequately address the concerns expressed in the initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. The evaluation of the Commission is essential information that needs to be given to Council before they can make a decision on this application.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones



 



 

From:      Jeanette Jones 
To:        gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca;
           clraffleck@vancouver.ca;
           clrball@vancouver.ca;
           clrcar@vancouver.ca;
           clrdegenova@vancouver.ca;
           clrdeal@vancouver.ca;
           clrjang@vancouver.ca;
           clrlouie@vancouver.ca;
           clrmegs@vancouver.ca;
           clrreimer@vancouver.ca;
           clrstevenson@vancouver.ca;
Date:      Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 12:30 AM
Subject:   Policy Report #4: 3365 Commercial Drive

 
 
To: Mayor and Councilors of the City of Vancouver
Re: Policy Report #4 to Council for 3365 Commercial Drive

We ask that you do not refer to Public Hearing Policy Report #4 (CD-1 Rezoning — 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue) at the Council meeting scheduled for April 19, 2016.

This rezoning application includes a significant heritage component. At its meeting on May 4, 2015 the Vancouver Heritage Commission stated:

THAT the Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition;

FURTHER THAT the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.

The phrase “does not support” is the Heritage Commission’s strongest possible expression of non-support for an application. These words have been used only eight times in the past three years. The expectation of the community (and very likely, of the Heritage Commission itself) has been that a revised application would go back to the Commission for further review.

However, staff failed to send the revised application, submitted by the developer in December 2015, to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The Report states that “staff have concluded that the revised proposal addresses the Commission’s concerns … ” (p. 11) The only revisions that have been made to the heritage component of the application are that the massing of the “infill project adjacent” has been slightly reduced and the infill project has been moved a little further toward the back of the site. We do not believe that these small changes adequately address the concerns expressed in the Commission’s initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. The Statement of Significance says that the main value of the house lies in its treed “semi-rural” current location; relocation will destroy most of its heritage value. Only minimal changes have been made to its new siting. The condition of the house remains very poor. Even in its current location, this “heritage house” was given only 26 points in the Statement of Significance, barely enough to assure a place on the “C” list.

This application should not proceed any further until the Vancouver Heritage Commission has reviewed the revisions. The final evaluation of the Heritage Commission needs to be taken into account before Council can make a legitimate decision to refer the application to Public Hearing.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

29 May 2016 at 9:37 pm

Council Chaos

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Transcript of the Final Minutes
24 May 2016 Public Hearing on 3365 Commercial

 
3365-leave
 
     The Majority Opposition Rise in Concert to Walk Out of Council Chamber
 

 
The singular event that took place during the public hearing for

        3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
        http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm

deserves the easiest access that can be provided to residents of the City of Vancouver. A careful transcript of approximately 1500 words takes less time and effort to access and review than would the video record — flawed by splicing and intermittent wild pixellation (see screenshot of acting mayor Raymond Louie provided as appendix to this transcript).

The cast of speaking characters in this segment, in order of appearance, are: Councillor Adriane Carr, Councillor Raymond Louie (Acting Mayor), Councillor Tim Stevenson, Assistant Director of Planning Kent Munro, Councillor Elizabeth Ball, Councillor Melissa De Genova, and the City Clerk. Real-time viewers tweeted about the video feed being cut, and the record for the entire evening originally seems to have terminated at 4:05:06. (Transcription timings belowed are keyed to the video for Item 3, not to video for the entire evening).

 



 

 
Context Below: After Deal’s Motion to Approve the Rezoning

 
3:07:07

 
Carr:
[large omission] So, for those reasons, I will be voting against this app-application.

 
Louie:
Clr Stevenson.

 
Stevenson:
Thanks very much. Well, as I indicated, I-I have a lot of, uh, sympathy around this, uh, issue of, uh, of the trees. I-I just would really like us to have a second look at this. [clears throat] It does make a difference whether there’s mature trees or-or-or not, and, uh, I would like our city arborist to be involved in this. Uh, not that I don’t think that the one, uh, the developer has is, uh, not professional. But I really do think that it would be, uh, helpful to have our own city arborist, uh, look at this. I-I don’t know why the Park Board are not interested in a park. That-that’s too bad, actually. Um, but they have a budget, and I suppose this would be, uh, a fairly high ticket item for them. But one person did, uh, say, please stop and table this and have a second look at this. Uh, and uh, and I’m inclined to do that. Um, and maybe there’s some other, uh, issues we can look at at the same time, but, my real concern is because so many people from the neighborhood talked about how important that was, and how important the two parks were near them. So I would like to refer this back, uh, to staff and ask them to —

 
[Voice: Point of order]

 
Louie:
Sorry, let’s hear what the motion is before you have a point of order. So, let’s hold for a minute. Clr Stevenson, can you just tell us what you’re intending —

 
Stevenson:
Yes, ah, my intent is to have staff, um, uh, have-have another look at this whole issue of the trees and have our own, uh —

 
Louie:
So you referred the motion to — you’re referring to staff for, what, and to when to report back —

 
Stevenson:
I-I-I only want a month’s time. I’m, uh, sure that there’s all sorts of pressures, but, uh, I don’t think a month is too much, to come back —

 
Louie:
Not, not to the merits of the motion, just —

 
Stevenson:
OK. Ah, thank you. In July, uh,

 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

3:09:30

at this point video splicing skips back to Stevenson above at

…  “helpful to have our own city arborist”  [etc]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 
3:11:05

 
[Stevenson continued] with a further detailed report — [Louie: OK] — in particular in regard to this.

 
Louie:
Now in regard to the point of order from Clr Carr. What was your point of order? [indistinct voice — apparently problem with microphone switch-on] Now, just a minute. There you go.

 
3:11:18

 
Carr:
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Um, in previous meetings where I’ve tried to refer a partic — a public — an item at public hearing, I was informed that that is not allowed, and so I would like a ruling from the City Clerk. Um, only — we can only refer — my understanding, uh, is the discussion and the decision to a future council meeting — not refer back to staff.

 
Louie:
Thank you. Um, it’s actually a ruling from the chair, and advice from the Clerk. So, Madam Clerk, can we just get some advice from you? [long pause] Just give us a couple of minutes here.

 
3:11:54

 
[During this 2-3 minute period of silence, the City Clerk rummaged and ruminated, and then engaged in a lengthy whisper huddle with Louie]

 
3:14:15

 
Louie:
So, after [long pause] let’s take some advice from Mr Munro, if you have it, ah, based on your experience. Just before — just before I rule on the matter — here’s-here’s my sense is that we — it would be for further advice from staff rather than, um, hearing further from the public on the matter, and so, when we’re — if it was to defer a decision and-and seek further advice from staff that would seem to fit a pattern, and that — uh, of previous council asking for advice, but what is-is, does — [indistinct voice] Mist-Mr. Munro has the floor. We are working on a point of order right now. Mr. Munro.

 
Munro:
The question, that shall refer to the Clerk in terms of the Procedures Bylaw, um, and I don’t know it intimately to, to really, um, say either way.

 
Louie:
OK. Thank you. Uh, absent, uh, any further advice from s-staff on that side, I will rule, uh, that it — the motion *is* in order for those, as for, for those reasons [clears throat]

— [Carr?: Different rules for you guys and us.] —

Your motion to — Yes. I’ve heard you, Clr Ball.

 
Ball:
Ah, you have often re-, referred to custom in this chamber, and you have consistently over the last many years told Clr Carr and others [Louie: Clr Ball —] that they could not refer dur-, after a public hearing — that they could not do-, do this, and this —

 
Louie:
Two-thirds majority to overrule the ruling of the chair. In this case, that was not present.

 
Ball:
In a pub — [microphone cut?]

 
Louie:
Thank you, Clr Ball. Um, that’s is not the case. It has not told Clr Carr that, ever before, in fact. Not myself, so — So, what I will say is that, I’ve ruled — that Clr Stevenson’s motion which is to seek more information, so —

[indistinct other voice] OK. Clr Carr has challenged the chair [pause] and I’ll just move to the question then. Shall the chair be sustained? All in favor? Those opposed? The requisite votes are there to sus-sustain the chair. Thank you. So, the motion is — [indistinct voices] It requires a two-thirds majority to overturn the ruling of the chair, I’ll remind Council members.

So. Clr Stevenson, your motion to refer — [long pause]

Clr S-Stevenson. Clr, uh, Ball. [indistinct voices] Uh, if you’re unfamiliar with the rules — and for the public, just for your benefit — the rules of the, of — parliamentary rules that we follow under the Procedure Bylaw requires that if a chair has made a ruling, that if someone disagrees, or a member of Council disagrees, that it requires a two-thirds majority overule the, the ruling of the chair. In this case, that was not present, and there — therefore the ruling of the chair is sustained.

I will remind, um, everyone that this is a request for further information on the matter so we can make a, I think, a — a full decision based on full facts, and there was con- some concern, if I understand it, that the arborist was an external arborist rather than, ah, a person on staff with the City that could give that information, and that’s what Clr Stevenson is asking for in this instance. So, if you have issues with asking for further information, certainly you can vote against the referral, and, uh, we will proceed. But Clr Stevenson — it’s absolutely open to him to move that motion.

Clr De Genova. What is your point of order? [long pause] Cou — [Voice: Mike]

 
De Genova:
— and now that we’ve been told that we could have referred, but at the time — and I’ll pull up the tapes — that we were told that that we couldn’t refer —

 
Louie:
Let me — let me rule on your point of order. First — first of all, we are in a separate public hearing, and, in this ins-instance, I have conferred with the Clerk, and, uh, my decision has been made and so I’ve ruled on the matter and so your point of order, which is again, uh, before us, to discuss the ruling is out of order.

Clr Stevenson, did you have anything further on your referral motion? [indistinct voice] Clr De Genova. You’re challenging the ruling of the chair on your point of order. Is that correct? OK. So I will — Madam Clerk, do we have that? Ready for the challenge [to the] chair? Shall the chair be sustained? All in favor? Those opposed? Ah, those opposed, ah, do not have the sufficient weight — ah, sufficient number of votes, so the chair is sustained. OK? Clr Stevenson.

 
Stevenson:
It’s three to four, sir, there’s a chair that gets to vote as well. [indistinct voice from chamber] No.

 
Louie:
No, no, we’re not — we have not sir. [indistinct voice from chamber]

 
Louie:
Sir, there’s been no decision. At this point in time we’re making a decision on whether or not we should refer [pause] the matter.

Clr Stevenson, do you have anything further?

Clr De Genova are you leaving the chambers? [long pause] OK. [long pause] So — [long pause]

[Shout from chamber: What a zoo!]

Yes. [indistinct shout] Apparently. OK. So apparently we have lost quorum. Madame Clerk, could we poll the councillors that have left the council chambers, and see whether or not —? Uh, yes, could you — [long pause]

 
Clerk:
It is 10:21 pm. Clrs Affleck, Ball, De Genova, and Carr have left meeting and we have — and this has resulted in the loss of quorum. Under the Procedure Bylaw I declare this meeting adjourned.

 
Louie:
OK. Thank you. [shout from chamber] I apologize. Unfortunately we have lost quorum and we cannot conclude to a decision this evening — [indistinct voice] and we will see — what, how, uh to proceed after, uh, taking further advice. Thank you.

 
3:21:56
 

 



 

 
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Written by eyeonnorquay

28 May 2016 at 1:03 am

Gong Show

with 2 comments

 
Among the far too many days and evenings spent at Vancouver City Council proceedings over the years, the 24 May 2016 public hearing on

        3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue
        http://council.vancouver.ca/20160524/phea20160524ag.htm

rivals 20 January 2011 for weirdest scene ever encountered at City Hall.

The unfolding of the series of events looks like a set of poor drivers taking turns piling into each other. To perceive execution of a clever political script by any caucus or player seems impossible.

What follows is an eyewitness report from recent memory, supplemented by some research. Efforts are made to stick to certainties, and to label speculations as such. City hall video of the evening mysteriously and conveniently “crashed” at 4:05:06.

 
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     [Image Credit: CityHallWatch]
 

After approximately 2 1/2 hours spent on item 3, the public hearing aborted with a walk-out by four of the seven City Councillors present. Affleck, Ball, Carr, and De Genova left behind the three Vision who were present: Deal, Louie, Stevenson.

The public hearing felt eerie from the very first minute. Four other Vision were visibly “absent”: Jang, Meggs, Reimer, Robertson. Just before I was to be called up to speak, as number 8 on the registered list, the proceedings flipped into indefinite suspension. Stevenson and De Genova stepped out at the same time and killed quorum.

The speakers list showed 24 lines, one blanked as “withdrawn.” Two speakers were no-shows. Three unregistered speakers stepped up at the end. The 24 speakers seemed to sort out as 3 support and 21 opposed. The record of correspondence shows: 6 support, 41 opposed, 2 other.

 
3365agenda
 

All of the foregoing may translate merely into what the City of Vancouver likes to describe as “a degree of support.”

The opposed speakers displayed an impressive range of content, oratory, presence, and style. Ordinary, real, neighborhood folk. Minimal “coaching” and no shills. (I’ve been to a lot of meetings of CCAN — Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours. Most of these faces and names were not familiar.)

Councillors put very few questions to speakers. When Carr asked me about the introduction of Interim Rezoning Policy, I found opportunity to interject my fears that discussion and voting would be deferred forward — allowing absent councillors who faced no speakers to claim to have reviewed video of the meeting and thus merit a vote.

Early on, Louie hit replay on his standard-script whine about how applause for speakers wastes time. Later on, Louie ran on and on about how the audience should respect the “reason” that needed to be brought to bear on the “decision.” With a little less inherent respect, I would have screamed out “whipped caucus” — a phrase embedded in my “presentation.”

After all speakers were heard, staff responded to questions from councillors.

From around 9:45 onward De Genova made multiple requests for a vote to extend the meeting. Even at the verge of 10:00 pm, Louie was insisting on waiting longer. It felt like most of that frustrating quarter-hour consisted of De Genova and Louie acting up like ornery kids in a sandbox. When the vote did come, the required unanimity made it possible for the meeting to continue.

As decorum degenerated, a woman who was a self-declared first-time-ever speaker to Council stood up to object vociferously to what was going on. Louie had her marshalled out of chamber by a security guard.

Deal put forward a motion to approve the rezoning. Her appended rationale predictably boiled down to “any rental construction is always good” — with no concern shown about how existing City of Vancouver “policy” clearly fails to support the particulars. (Memo to Louie: file as case study in Vision’s exercise of “reason.”) No second to the Deal motion was ever apparent.

Following on Deal’s “motion,” Carr detailed at length the reasons that she would be voting against the motion.

Next up in the queue, Stevenson started talking about trees on the site. His concern for prospective tree loss appeared to be heartfelt and straightforward, albeit utterly muddled. Stevenson’s concerns led to some comment offered by the Cressey project arborist.

{I spoke at length with this arborist at the 21 May 2015 open house, and found him human and helpful. The Lawson Cypress trees that Cressey claims to “retain” at the corner of Commercial and East 18th would lose about one-third of root structure and suffer significantly shortened lifespan. Quite possibly, die fast from trauma. The northern trees in the grove would be cut, with the remaining trees left jammed right up against a six-storey building.]

When Stevenson’s concerns began to take on the form of a motion to delay discussion and decision — his words touched on getting information from the City arborist and on seeking pause of “a month” — Carr objected strenuously to the maneuver, asserting that this latitude had routinely been denied to her in past as not allowed by procedure. (How Louie could allow any of this discussion with a sort-of motion from Deal on the floor is not apparent.) Regularly interspersed with the Stevenson tree initiative were De Genova appeals to have a vote on time extension.

Eventually Carr’s series of set-to’s with Louie resulted in his asking the City Clerk for advice. The City Clerk went solo, rummaged and ruminated about procedure for quite a while, and then held a long whispery huddle with Louie as he sat in the mayor chair. Immediately following this private confab came what was arguably the weirdest single moment in a fraught evening. Acting Mayor Louie asked Kent Munro (Assistant Director of Planning — Vancouver Mid-town) for further guidance. Munro tossed that hot potato right back, saying that the City Clerk would know better, and that he was not prepared to say anything additional because of limits on his own grasp of Vancouver’s Procedure By-law.

After this point, memory grows sketchier, due to the acceleration and the frenzy. Ball held the floor, and while speaking, veered off into uncharacteristic venting of spleen over Louie’s treatment of Carr, and his evident violation of customary procedure. Meanwhile, De Genova arose, and Carr interacted with her, perhaps attempting to deter departure. Almost immediately after that, the four non-Vision councillors were acting in concert, standing up and exiting as rapidly as possible from the Council chamber. With little hesitation, the City Clerk declared the meeting terminated due to lack of quorum.

The foregoing narrative, based on my fairly well developed perceptions, leaves me with many questions and speculations and suppositions about the 3365 Commercial public hearing.

1.  How could such a defective report ever have been (a) prepared by planners (b) vetted by bureaucrats (c) referred to public hearing?
The policy failures are evident and stark. Most likely answers: (a) IRP is a vaunted policy falling far short of anticipated take-up. Anything, even if nonsensical, could look better than nothing. (b) Big-party big donors must be rewarded.

2.  Why were Jang, Meggs, Reimer, and Robertson all absent?
My very first thought was that none of these people had the stomach to put their name on a caucus-whipped vote to support a highly dubious implementation of a misbegotten “policy.” Warnings of trouble ahead could be seen in correspondence prior to referral to public hearing, in the formal public hearing correspondence, and in the list of registered speakers.

3.  How could Louie let Deal’s motion to approve the rezoning wander off into the Stevenson tree morass?
This may have been Louie’s single greatest failure as chair. It’s hard to imagine how Louie could ever function as mayor. This episode of “acting mayor” was not a class act.

4.  Why would Stevenson wander off into the tree topic at that point?
Simple, plausible, kind answer: Stevenson cares about trees. (Not forests.)

5.  Why would De Genova press so hard for a time extension and then lead a walk-out?
Possible answer: De Genova is a loose cannon willing to fire in any direction on short notice. Duck.

6.  What next?
Whatever the Vision caucus wants to do. That is the current governing policy in the City of Vancouver. And “legal department” has nothing to do with anything. (“Sue me and see.”)

Concluding thoughts.

1.  The NPA found a politically useful way to sidestep a 6-for versus 1-against vote that would cast a blinding light on the developer-whipped Vision-NPA axis. With more Vision present, NPA could pretend to oppose, and let Vision wear all the shame.

2.  This flame-out public hearing could create the space that Cressey and city planners need to revise the proposal and to rectify their heretofore gross disregard for existing policy. And maybe save the whole grove of Lawson Cypress for a healthy future. (Irrepressible optimism.)

3.  In the wake of the 3365 Commercial debacle, what sane developer would ever embark on the leaky, rotten, uncertain IRP ship?
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

26 May 2016 at 12:15 am

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/.

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

 
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Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2016 at 11:00 am

3365 Commercial PH

leave a comment »

 
Letters of Joseph Jones and Jeanette Jones
To Mayor and Council on 20 May 2016

 
The following two letters respond to a proposal to approve rezoning of 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue at public hearing on 24 May 2016. Part of Norquay falls within the boundaries of Kensington-Cedar Cottage, the affected Vancouver neighborhood. Beyond this fact, the proposal would set unacceptable precedent for all of the City of Vancouver.

 
Joseph Jones at 3:33 pm
Public Hearing  —  24 May 2016
3. REZONING: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
I Joseph Jones OPPOSE the Cressey proposal to develop the northwest corner of Commercial Drive at East 18th Avenue for the following reasons:

 
1.  The various appeals to a grab-bag of supposedly applicable policies fail to stand up to scrutiny. One immediate piece of evidence for the shaky policy foundation is how the development site has been carved up into kludgy and dodgy subareas.

When I speak to Council at the public hearing, I will focus on outlining the dubious history of the Interim Rezoning Policy (effective 4 Oct 2012 | amended 2 Dec 2013 and 19 Apr 2016). A mapping of 2012-2016 IRP sites is provided as appendix to this letter.

 
2.  The off-arterial extension of non-ground-oriented housing form, into the area along East 18th Avenue, fails to respect the Interim Rezoning Policy requirement to provide

Ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3½ storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses and courtyard row houses (p. 2 of Appendix A: Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy
http://council.vancouver.ca/20160420/documents/cfsc2.pdf)

A simulacrum end-run that proposes design “to emulate the rhythm and width of town homes” (p. 9) violates the Interim Rezoning Policy and is not acceptable. This aspect would set precedent for the entire City of Vancouver. A “3½-storey rental block” (p. 10) clearly is not a ground-oriented form.

 
3.  There is almost no local area support for the use of heritage bonusing in this proposal. To this significant degree of non-support add the fact that the limited assessment from the Vancouver Heritage Commission has been unusually negative. Planners have tellingly avoided taking the insufficient revision of the unacceptable proposal back to the Commission. This willful misuse of “heritage” provision amounts to scam.

 
4.  Discussion with the project arborist at an open house made it clear that keeping the “significant stand of five mature Lawson Cypress trees at the corner of the site” (p. 8) would be an empty gesture. With proposed development, the remaining trees would experience a serious 30% loss of root structure. The trees need more room, and the adjacent Lawson Cypress trees in the grove need to be retained. Unless the trees are given more space, a major existing green amenity will be eradicated (both immediately and by rapid death) from the neighborhood by this development proposal.

 
5.  The City of Vancouver proposes to hand over to big Vision-Vancouver-donor Cressey a piece of public land owned since 1939 — “nine percent of the total subject site area” (p. 16). To allow this would amount to extraction of value from the local area with no payback. This has become a depressing and regular pattern for how the City of Vancouver deals with East Vancouver.

Perhaps that money would be applied to the $55 million purchase price for the Arbutus corridor on the favored side of town? Despite already owning most of the land needed to deliver a Renfrew Ravine linear park (connecting Norquay Park with Renfrew Ravine), the City of Vancouver continues to fail to provide any part whatsoever of the amenity package specified under the 2010 Norquay Plan. A large area of East Vancouver is undergoing massive and rapid redevelopment with none of the promised corresponding improvement to public realm.

 
6.  The lengthy process for the site at Commercial and East 18th Avenue has seemed dominated by back room collusion between developer Cressey and the City of Vancouver. Despite extensive efforts made by local area residents to provide input, the end result has incorporated nothing significant from community feedback.

The City of Vancouver insulted a committed group of people with a stealth posting of 3 December 2015 “revisions to the application” — providing no notification to participants. In light of the foregoing comments, consider how little difference the following minor tweaks have made to address severe policy problems:

Revisions to the Application

December 3, 2015: Revised drawings were submitted on December 3, 2015 to address concerns raised by staff and the community. The overall density was reduced from 2.55 FSR to 2.40 FSR with a corresponding reduction in unit count from 118 residential units to 114 residential units. Increased setback and massing changes are proposed to the rental building, a reduction to the size of the proposed infill building on the heritage site, and the location of the underground parking ramp has been moved closer to Commercial Drive. In addition, the Transportation Study has been updated.

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/3365commercial/index.htm

 
Appendix: Mapping of the Six Proposals under Interim Rezoning Policy 2012-2016

 
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•   •   •   •   •   •   •

 
Jeanette Jones at 4:49 pm
Re: May 24 Public Hearing Item 3. Rezoning: 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue

 
I am opposed to the Rezoning Application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue for two main reasons.

 
1.  The 3.5-storey apartment building on East 18th Avenue does not meet the Form of Development/Location criteria set out in the Interim Rezoning Policy.

Within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street (i.e. 1.5 blocks), ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3.5 storeys, which is generally sufficient height to include small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses and courtyard row houses  [Appendix A]

The phrase “ground-oriented forms” is commonly understood to mean the housing types listed above. The list does not include low-rise apartment buildings. In the case of this application, the City of Vancouver is implying that the presence of a few units with ground-level entries makes the entire 23-unit, 3.5-storey apartment building a “ground-oriented building form.” This is contrary to accepted usage and to the Interim Rezoning Policy.

Appendix A of the IRP also states:

The intent of this Interim Rezoning Policy is to encourage innovation and enable real examples of ground-oriented affordable housing types to be tested for potential wider application that will provide on-going housing opportunities.

Building anything other than small house/duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses or courtyard row houses on East 18th Avenue would defeat the clearly stated intent of the Interim Rezoning Policy. This application is the first under the IRP to include an area off the arterial street. It will set a precedent for future IRP applications across the City of Vancouver.

 
2.  The heritage component of this application does not have the support of the Heritage Commission or of the community.

The Vancouver Heritage Commission at its meeting on May 4, 2015 stated:

THAT the Vancouver Heritage Commission does not support the application to relocate and rehabilitate 3365 Commercial Drive due to the relocation of the house, its new siting and its condition;

FURTHER THAT the Commission is willing to consider a revised application that would address the position of the heritage house on the site with a reduced, more compatible infill project adjacent.

The expectation of the community (and very likely, of the Heritage Commission itself) has been that a revised application would go back to the Commission for further review.

However, staff failed to send the revised application, submitted by the developer in December 2015, to the Heritage Commission for reevaluation. The Staff Report states that “staff have concluded that the revised proposal addresses the Commission’s concerns … ” (p. 11) But the only revisions that have been made to the heritage component of the application are that the massing of the “infill project adjacent” has been slightly reduced and the infill project has been moved a little further toward the back of the site. I do not believe that these small changes adequately address the concerns expressed in the Commission’s initial evaluation of May 4, 2015. Only minimal changes have been made to its new siting. The condition of the house remains very poor. The current treed “semi-rural” location of the “heritage house” is responsible for most of the 26 points it was given in the Statement of Significance, barely enough to assure a place on the “C” list. Moving the house will destroy most of its heritage value.

The community does not believe that the applicant should be given any additional density for moving and rehabilitating this house. The true heritage component of this site is the grove of large trees on the corner of Commercial and East 18th Avenue. These trees remain under threat because the proposed building envelope encroaches on the space needed by their rootballs if the trees are to survive.

I ask that you DO NOT APPROVE this application for the reasons given above.

 
Jeanette Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

20 May 2016 at 10:13 pm