Eye on Norquay

Looking Out for East Vancouver

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Virtual Tour Spring 2019

 
Implementing the Norquay Plan: An Update on
New Housing Types and Public Space — May 2019

  
Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is the name given by the City of Vancouver to an East Vancouver area of approximately 1.5 square kilometers. The area centers on the 1.3 km of Kingsway that lies between Gladstone Street at the west and Killarney Street at the east. Norquay locates primarily in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver, with a small western portion running over into the Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood.

 

 

The Norquay Plan was developed to help carry out the intent of Vancouver’s CityPlan. Norquay is still the only area in Vancouver to have been completely planned as a neighbourhood centre. Except for Kingsway-fronting parcels, the entire area has been rezoned to low density housing forms suitable for families.

This review looks at the implementation of the Norquay Plan since it was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2010.

 
Section A — Development
 
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses
 
2 of 6 — Outright Duplexes
 
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)
 
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)
 
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)
 
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Area

 
Section B — Amenities and Services
 
1 of 7 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space
 
2 of 7 — Ravine Way
 
3 of 7 — Parks
 
4 of 7 — Childcare
 
5 of 7 — Transportation
 
6 of 7 — Affordable Housing
 
7 of 7 — Heritage Preservation

 
Section C — Summary

1 of 2 — Neighborhood Improvements
 
2 of 2 — Ongoing Concerns


  
Section A — Development — Introduction

Norquay is the second area in Vancouver to have all of its RS-1 zoned single family homes — a total of 1912 — rezoned to include new low-density housing forms.

In March 2013 zoning regulations were approved for two new residential zones: RT-11 (small house/duplex) and RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse).

Also in 2013 a rezoning policy was established for a 4-storey apartment transition zone, most of it paralleling Kingsway. In December 2016 this policy was replaced by the RM-9A (4-storey apartment) zoning.

A rezoning policy for the Kingsway Rezoning Area sets a base height of 8-10 storeys, with up to 16 storeys on special sites.

  

  

Norquay Village Zoning Map


  
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses

 

 

     2010 Residential Streetscape
 

The residential areas of Norquay off Kingsway consisted almost entirely of single family houses in 2010. Redevelopment has been ongoing over the years, so that most streets include houses of various ages. Only three buildings in all of Norquay have been designated as heritage. Many pre-1940 houses are in poor condition and would not merit designation even as character houses.

 

 

     2238 Wenonah Street
 

A single family dwelling (with or without a laneway house and/or a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in any residential zone in Norquay, following the provisions of RS-1 zoning. For the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 24 single family houses completed or under construction, 17 with a laneway house. None of these houses appear to have been advertised for sale. It seems probable that most of them are being built as redevelopments by existing owners.

 

 

     2422 Galt Street
 

In addition, Eye on Norquay has noted 11 major renovations of existing houses.


  
2 of 6 — Outright Duplexes

A duplex (with or without a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in the RT-11 and the RM-7 zones. For the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 67 outright duplexes completed or under construction. Allowable FSR is 0.75. Construction began on approximately 40 of these in 2014 and 2015, with fewer new starts since that time.
 
 
IMG_7837
 
 
     2457/2459 Brock Street
 
 
On narrow, deep lots the duplexes are front and back.
 
 
IMG_7832
 
 
     2735/2737 Duke Street
 
 
Front doors of both the front and back units must face the street. Roofs must be pitched.
 
 
IMG_7816
 
 
     5444/5446 Clarendon Street
 
 
On wider lots the duplexes are side by side.

 
IMG_7829
 
 
     2795/2799 Horley Street
 
 
This duplex is situated on a corner lot.

 

 
 
     4670/4672 Clarendon Street
 
 
Where there is no back lane, garages are attached to the front of the house and the driveway takes up the entire front yard. In this case, a street tree was removed to accommodate the driveway.

 
 
 
 
     4516/4518 Earles Street
 

Duplexes vary in form as well as in the quality of construction.

 

 
 
     2156/2158 Mannering Avenue
 

A change in the roof line, as specified in the External Design Guidelines approved for duplexes on 02 April 2019, will eliminate unattractive designs like this.

 

 
 
     5097 Moss Street
 

The exterior design of this 1226 sf duplex unit on a small lot is attractive. However, the living area is too small to hold a dining table. And the eating area is three stools at the kitchen counter.


  
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)

More than 900 parcels were rezoned to RT-11/RT-11N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are larger lots situated along the edges of Norquay. The number of permitted buildings depends on the size and the location of the site. All principal dwellings may have a lock-off unit; larger duplex units may have a secondary suite. Parking is in garages or open parking spaces, one per unit. Allowable FSR for a conditional application is 0.85. All units are strata-titled.

So far there have been 28 conditional RT-11 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site. Of these, 7 have involved assembly. Most of the other applications have been sited on single large lots and consist of a duplex and a laneway house. There have been no conditional applications involving the retention of character houses.

 

 
 
     4515/4517/4523 Nanaimo Street – 1 of 2
 

On a standard 33 x 122 ft. lot, a duplex is allowed. If the units are side-by-side, they are very narrow.

 

 
 
     4515/4517/4523 Nanaimo Street – 2 of 2
 

A laneway house backs onto Brock Park. The colors are attractive.

  
IMG_9301-640
  
 
     5603/5613 Rhodes Street / 2746 East 40th Avenue – 1 of 2
  
 
This development is on a large corner lot. The duplex faces Rhodes Street.

 

 
 
     5603/5613 Rhodes Street / 2746 East 40th Avenue – 2 of 2
 
 
The laneway house fronts on East 40th Avenue.

 
IMG_9359-640
 
 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 1 of 2
 
 
On this large lot, a duplex is built at the front of the lot …

 

 
 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 2 of 2
 

… and a laneway house at the back of the lot. An infill house (approximately 1500 sq. ft.) is situated in the middle. The units took up to a year to sell and no projects with this configuration have been built subsequently.

 

 
 
     5283/5289 Nanaimo Street / 2293/2297 East 37th Avenue – 1 of 2
 

Another possible development scenario for larger sites in the RT-11 zone is two duplexes. This project is on a large corner lot at Nanaimo Street and East 37th Avenue. The larger duplex fronts on Nanaimo Street.

 

 
 
     5283/5289 Nanaimo Street / 2293/2297 East 37th Avenue – 1 of 2
 

The smaller duplex fronts on East 37th Avenue.

 

 
 
     5651 Earles Street
 

On wider mid-block lots, 2 front/back duplexes may be built beside each other.

 

 
 
     5432/5440 Rhodes Street – 1 of 2
 

A two-lot assembly permits 4 small houses, two at the front of the lot and two at the back.

 

 
 
     5432/5440 Rhodes Street – 2 of 2
 

Parking for all units is attached. This means that much of the open space is taken up by driveways to access the units at the front of the site. This is the only project with this configuration that has been built so far in Norquay.

 

 
 
     2885/2887/2889 East 41st Avenue and 5681/5683/5685/5687/5689 Killarney Street – 1 of 2
 

This development includes 8 units: a cluster of 6 small houses of 1230-1557 sq. ft. and 2 duplex units. It is situated on a self-contained site on the northwest corner of East 41st Avenue and Killarney Streets. To the west is Earles Park and to the north is a similar development. Units in this development were marketed in late 2015 and sold very quickly.

 
IMG_9276-640
 
 
     2885/2887/2889 East 41st Avenue and 5681/5683/5685/5687/5689 Killarney Street – 2 of 2
 
 
Parking is in garages or open parking spaces at the rear of the site.


  
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)

More than 700 parcels were rezoned to RM-7/RM-7N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these lots are situated near the centre of Norquay, fairly close to Kingsway. Typical area for stacked townhouse units in this zone is 1200 sq. ft. The width of rowhouses is specified as 12 ft. clear (wall-to-wall interior). Parking is on open parking spaces, in a ratio of 2 for every 3 units. Allowable FSR is 1.2 for assembled sites or larger lots, and 0.9 for smaller single lots. Buildings are 3.5 storeys. All units are strata-titled.

During the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted 34 RM-7 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site. Up to this point, almost all conditional development in this zone has taken place on shallow lots having a depth of 110 ft. or less.

 
Traditional Rowhouse

 

 

     2759/2761/2763/2765 Duke Street – 1 of 2
 

During the planning process, residents expressed a strong preference that traditional rowhouses be the dominant low density housing form in Norquay. The rowhouse zone and the stacked townhouse zone were described as separate zones in the Norquay Plan. The two zones were conflated when the zoning regulations were written in 2013. So far only 3 applications for traditional rowhouse development have been approved in Norquay. The four traditional rowhouses pictured here are approximately 2000 sf each.

 

 

     2759/2761/2763/2765 Duke Street – 2 of 2
 

Each rowhouse unit may contain a lock-off unit. Parking for rowhouses is one vehicle space per unit in garages or open parking spaces at the back of the site.

 
Stacked Townhouse

Stacked townhouse is the housing form preferred by developers in this zone, accounting for 24 of 34 applications so far. Land assembly is generally required if the project contains more than 6 units. One lock-off unit is allowed for every 3 principal units. Required bicycle parking is 2.25 spaces for each principal unit and 0.75 for each lock-off unit. This requirement was recently increased.
 
 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 1 of 3
 

This project was the first to be completed in the RM-7 zone. It consists of 18 stacked townhouse units in three 4-level (3.5 storey) sixplexes on an assembled 132 x 110 site. There are 6 “garden” units on the lowest level, 6 units on the main floor, and 6 two-level units on the upper floors.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 2 of 3
 

Ground level open space behind the buildings is taken up with infrastructure: parking spaces (2 for every 3 units), garbage bins, an electrical transformer, and bike lockers. The small red buildings house 30 of the required 42 bike lockers.
 
 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 3 of 3
 

Twelve bike lockers are housed behind the white doors under the front stairs.

 

 

     2757-2763 Horley Street
 

The building housing this 10-unit project is close to the maximum length for a single building (70 ft.) in the RM-7 zone. All of the bike lockers have been incorporated into the main building. Units were advertised in late 2018 with prices ranging from $729,00 (for 773 sf) to $1,088,000 (for 1159 sf).

 

 

     2717-2749 Ward Street
 

All of the units are 2-level corner units in the two buildings of this 16-unit development. Space can be better utilized when long hallways are not needed. Unit size is 945-1070 sf. Units were advertised in late 2018 with prices ranging from $799,900 to $949,900, and all have sold.

The superior configuration of units was possible because the site is wide and shallow (132 x 102), there are 16 units instead of the 17 allowed, the bike locker requirement was relaxed to 1.25 (standard elsewhere at the time of application), and there are no lock-off units.

 
Triplex

 

 

     5189/5197 Clarendon Street and 2487 East 37th Avenue
 

A single lot can be developed as a triplex with an FSR of 0.9. Two triplexes have been completed in Norquay, both on wider corner lots. These projects have two units facing one street and one long, narrow unit facing the side street. Two applications with more functional configurations have been approved for mid-block sites, but construction has not yet begun.

 
Fourplex

 

 

     5150 Slocan Street
 

One application for a fourplex has been approved in the RM-7 zone on a mid-block lot with a 52 ft. frontage. Units are large, around 1600 sf.

 
Sixplex

 

 

     2661/2667/2675 Horley Street and 4784/4788/4792 Duchess Street
 

A 50 ft. wide corner site can sometimes be developed as a sixplex. In this project, three 2-level units occupy the lower and ground floors and three 2-level units occupy the third and fourth floors. Two of the units are long and narrow.

 

 

     5011-5021 Slocan Street – 1 of 2
 

On a 60 ft. wide corner site, a more functional design is possible. This development has four 3-level units above two single-level units. Maintenance of landscaping can be a significant problem where open space is shared.

 

 

     5011-5021 Slocan Street – 2 of 2
 

Metal bike lockers occupy much of the back yard.


  
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)

 

 

     2688 Duke Street
 

Approximately 250 parcels were rezoned to RM-9A/RM/9AN under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are located within the half block immediately adjoining the Kingsway Rezoning Policy Area. The buildings in this zone are to be “alphabet-shaped” with an entry courtyard, so that there are more than four corner units on each level. Parking is underground. Maximum allowable FSR is 2.0. One lock-off unit is permitted for every 3 principal units. These apartments are intended to provide “family housing,” with mainly 2 or 3 bedroom units. Typical unit size is specified as 800 sf.

During the period spring 2013 to spring 2019, Eye on Norquay has counted seven applications submitted in the RM-9A zone. Four projects are under construction; three have been approved but construction has not yet begun. Most of the sites are assemblies of 3 or 4 lots. One project on a 6-lot assembly was approved recently.

 

 

     2328 Galt Street
 

This site was rezoned for a 28-unit development under the Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy approved in May 2013. Most units are 2-bedroom. Built under the Rental 100 Policy, this project is the only purpose-built rental in Norquay so far.

 

 

     4888 Slocan Street – 1 of 2
 

On very deep sites stacked townhouses may be built behind the apartment building, separated by a 24 ft. wide “garden courtyard.” This project has 53 units, 37 in an apartment building at the front of the site …

 

 

     4888 Slocan Street – 2 of 2
 

… and 16 in stacked townhouse units at the rear of the site. There are 28 3-bedroom units and 25 2-bedroom units.

  

 
 
     2298 Galt Street
 
 
One 4-unit project was built on a single lot in 2012, before any regulations were written for this zone. It consists of two side-by-side duplex buildings, one at the front of the site and one at the rear, separated by a garden courtyard. Under RM-9A zoning, construction of similar projects will be restricted to orphan lots.


  
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Policy Area

 

 

     2010 Kingsway Streetscape
 

Prior to 2010, the properties along Kingsway were zoned C-2 for 4-storey mixed use buildings. The Norquay Plan (Gladstone Street to Killarney Street) changed the Kingsway base height to 8-10 storeys. Five large sites are allowed additional height in exchange for providing public space in the form of plazas or pedestrian connections to break up long blocks. FSR for the entire Kingsway Rezoning Area is 3.8.

 

 

     2300 Kingsway (Kingsway at Nanaimo) – 1 of 2
 

This site-specific rezoning was approved in 2006, just before the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre planning process began. It consists of 342 residential units, most of them studio or 1 bedroom units, in one 22-storey tower and two 7-storey buildings. Unfortunately, the sidewalk width along Kingsway falls far short of 24 feet. Retail includes a drug store, a bank, and a liquor store.
 
 

 
     2300 Kingsway (Kingsway at Nanaimo) – 2 of 2
 

Two low-rise buildings on this site include townhouses and a daycare. Rumour has it that the planned neighbourhood pub was not permitted because it would have been too close to the daycare facility.

  

 
     2689 Kingsway – 1 of 4
 

This project consists of 129 residential units in two buildings. The brick finish respects the strong preference expressed by Norquay residents for a brick finish on buildings on Kingsway.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 2 of 4
 

A 12-storey tower is separated from a 4-storey building by a 40-foot-wide pedestrian connection, which will function as the entrance to Ravine Way. At present the city-owned Duke Street Daycare Centre occupies the site immediately north of this project. (See further detail on Ravine Way below under Amenities.) The public art is engaging.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 3 of 4
 

Maintenance of the inner row of street trees on the 24 ft. wide sidewalk is the responsibility of the property owner. Several of these trees have died and not been replaced.

 

 

     2689 Kingsway – 4 of 4
 

Parts of the public sidewalk on the property have sunk and been patched over with asphalt.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 1 of 7
 

This 2.3 acre site on the extreme western edge of Norquay was formerly occupied by a Canadian Tire store.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 2 of 7
 

This massive project, completed in Spring 2019, consists of more than four hundred 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units in three 14-storey towers and a 5-storey building on Kingsway. These buildings enclose a raised courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool, situated on the third storey in the centre of the site. The first and second storeys comprise a podium that covers most of the site. Many of the units were marketed to and bought by overseas investors.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 3 of 7
 

To a pedestrian, the development looks out of scale for the neighborhood.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 4 of 7
 

A T&T grocery store provides Asian foods to the large Asian population in Norquay and the surrounding area. The Norquay Plan allows for 4 additional storeys of height in exchange for a public plaza of 6000-8000 sf. The entrance area at the corner of Kingsway and Gladstone became defined as the “plaza” benefit. The 24-foot-wide sidewalks and the double row of street trees make walking along Kingsway more inviting.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 5 of 7
 

Seating often backs onto noisy and smelly air ventilation grids that serve the underground parking.

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 6 of 7
 

The corner of 30th Avenue and Kingsway was planned as the site of a 7500 sq. ft. “park” — but much of this space has been clawed back to function as an outdoor seating area for the adjacent dim sum restaurant. Landscaping of this project lacks imagination – skimmia is widely used. (This low quality choice mimics the landscaping already in use at the nearby Esso filling station at the Kingsway and Victoria intersection.)

 

 

     2220 Kingsway – 7 of 7
 

This 120 foot “ladder to nowhere” is located in a Kingsway median in front of the development. The value of this public art contribution was estimated at $697,000 in the rezoning report to Council.

 

 

     2395 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 

This project, now under construction, will consist of 126 units with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms in a 12-storey tower flanked by 4-storey buildings.

 

 

     2395 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

A formally defined and required pedestrian connection crosses the site. The inappropriate “bridge” that would have shadowed the connection was removed from the final design.

 

 

     2725-2751 Kingsway
 

The site of Harvey’s Furniture and Appliances, a long-standing community retail fixture at 2751 Kingsway, was bought by a developer several years ago. The purchaser has since acquired the neighbouring Tire-O-Rama site. No formal application has yet been submitted. A “for-lease” sign appeared on each building in mid-spring 2019.

 
IMG_8946-648
 
 
     2768 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 
 
This assembled site was rezoned for a 30-unit Rental 100 project in 2014. The buildings were vacant for about 5 years and demolished in spring 2019. Construction was delayed while the owner tried to assemble two more properties on Earles Street.

 

 

     2768 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

Sites that sit empty for long periods of time attract litter and large garbage items. This site has just been cleaned up, and the debris filled a dumpster.
 


  
Section B — Amenities and Public Space

  
New development brings population growth, and an increased population requires increased amenities and public space. The 2004 Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision made proposals for any new housing form “conditional … on an increase in community facilities and programs needed to serve any population growth generated by the new housing type.” (p. 31) The Norquay Plan states: “As the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre grows and evolves over time, new amenities and facilities will be needed to ensure the continued livability and desirability of the area.” (p. 70)

The Norquay Public Realm and Transportation Improvements Plan was approved as part of the Norquay Plan in 2010. The Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy was approved in May 2013. The Norquay Village Public Realm Plan was released in April 2016. These documents provide more detail about the amenities and services that are to be provided as the population grows.

Development is taking place rapidly in Norquay, especially along Kingsway. Projects that have been completed, are currently under construction or are in process are already bringing approximately 2500 new residents to our neighbourhood. This number amounts to 50% of the new residents that are expected to be living in Norquay by 2040.

But very little progress has been made on delivery of the amenities and services promised by the Norquay Plan.


 
1 of 7 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space

 

 

     2400 Kingsway – 1 of 2
 
 
The Norquay Plan specifies 15,000 sq. ft. of new indoor community space and 20,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space as part of the redevelopment of the 3.5 acre site on Kingsway currently occupied by the 2400 Motel. The new development is expected to include 100 units of non-market housing as well as 400 units of market housing. CACs worth $3M from the development at 2220 Kingsway have been reserved, to be delivered when the 2400 Motel is redeveloped.

 

 

     2400 Kingsway – 2 of 2
 

One 16-storey tower and one 12-storey tower can be built on the site. An additional 10-12 storey tower is possible if the corner site now occupied by Church’s Chicken can be incorporated.

Community space on this site was rated the number one amenity choice of Norquay residents. Our neighbourhood has no community centre or neighbourhood house, no library, no skating rink or swimming pool. Gladstone High School, whose catchment area includes most of Norquay, is being considered for closure. So is Cunningham School, one of our two elementary schools. The need for community space in Norquay is urgent.

The City of Vancouver already owns the 2400 Motel site. During the planning process Norquay residents asked the City to retain ownership and to develop housing and amenities. We urge the City to proceed as quickly as possible with redevelopment in order to deliver our most essential amenity.


  
2 of 7 — Ravine Way

Ravine Way is the name given to a proposed linear park that would follow the undergrounded portion of Still Creek flowing through a culvert from Norquay Park to Slocan Park. Most of the properties that would be incorporated into the park are already owned by the City of Vancouver, but City social agencies currently lease purpose-built buildings on some of these sites. Two of the properties currently function as a community garden and a community orchard. Two properties still need to be acquired.
 
 

 

This amenity was rated the number two choice by Norquay residents. The City of Vancouver describes Ravine Way as a “long-term vision.”

Two ongoing concerns are (a) the amount of land that will be allocated to Ravine Way, and (b) the temporary use of the land until assembly is completed. The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy states: “Prior to completion of the entire park route, sections would function as pocket parks, mid-block connections or … community gardens.” (p. 10) We encourage the City to allocate all of the land it now owns along Ravine Way to the proposed park, and to repurpose the sites for public use as leases expire.


  
3 of 7 — Parks

Norquay encompasses three neighbourhood parks: Norquay Park, General Brock Park, and Earles Park.

Increasing densification does more than increase the number of residents who use neighbourhood parks. It also transfers many activities that have traditionally taken place in private backyards to these parks. Norquay’s new housing forms leave very little room for green space on private property. Neighbourhood parks are becoming the “shared backyard” where residents are looking to play, exercise, garden, and socialize.

New developments along Kingsway are having a significant impact on Norquay Park and General Brock Park. The area around Earles Park has experienced much less densification at this stage.

 

 

     Norquay Park
 

This park received a substantial upgrade in 2011. The Park Board’s initial $300,000 budget was supplemented by a $500,000 grant of federal stimulus money for “shovel ready” projects. This made possible construction of a new playground, a basketball court, a water park and picnic tables. The park is very well used.

 

 

     General Brock Park – 1 of 2
 

The renewal of General Brock Park was the number three amenity choice of Norquay residents, and is identified as a priority in the Public Benefits Strategy.

Several large developments are being built close to this park: 2300 Kingsway (completed), 2239 Kingsway (completed), 2220 Kingsway (completed), 2395 Kingsway (under construction), 2153 Kingsway (approved). Numerous smaller developments are also located near Brock Park.
 
 

 

     General Brock Park – 2 of 2
 

The Park Board has begun to assemble four adjacent properties on Wenonah Street to expand this park and to make it more visible. Funding to develop a concept plan for renewal of Brock Park has been included in the 2019-2022 Capital Plan. Actual construction will likely come in the following 2023-2026 Capital Plan.


  
4 of 7 — Childcare

 

 

     Terry Tayler Early Learning and Care Centre
 
 
Redevelopment of 2300 Kingsway included the construction of 37 childcare spaces, funded by the $2.4M CAC generated by the development. The CAC of $105,846 from 2689 Kingsway was allocated to the adjacent Duke Street Childcare Centre on the stated basis of mitigating new overshadowing of the play area. Beyond the simple fact of fund transfer to the daycare, an Eye on Norquay FOI was unable to confirm how these funds actually were applied.


  
5 of 7 — Transportation

 

 

     Clarendon Connector
 

The Clarendon Connector, one block of Clarendon Street at the north end, now extends the street from East 34th Avenue to East 33rd Avenue. This project was initiated prior to the Norquay Plan.

 

 

     New Traffic Signals
 

Two new traffic signals have been installed on Kingsway near Norquay Park. A third new signal on Kingsway between Nanaimo Street and Gladstone Street was required by the development at 2220 Kingsway. Other signals have been installed at the intersections of Nanaimo Street and Brock Street, and at East 33rd Avenue and Gladstone Street.

 

 

     Kingsway Median
 

Kingsway streetscape improvements have included a new centre median (in five sections), several curb bulges on intersecting streets, new lighting and street furniture, and new median and boulevard street trees. Approximately half of the street trees in the median died several years ago. The dead trees have been removed, so far without replacement.

 

 

     Baldwin Street
 

A few short sections of new sidewalk have been installed. There are still numerous locations in Norquay where no sidewalk exists on either side of the street. This situation is particularly evident in the Galt Street area west of Nanaimo, despite a heavy concentration of new development in that area.

 

 

     Kingsway Sidewalk in Front of 2689 Kingsway
 

The new 24-foot-wide sidewalks in front of new developments along Kingsway make walking safer and more pleasant, although the state of upkeep and repair on the private property side is deplorable.

 

 

     Gladstone Traffic Diversion
 

This traffic diverter was funded from CAC contributions as a public amenity. It diverts traffic from the Kensington Gardens development at 2220 Kingsway away from residential Gladstone Street and onto Kingsway.


  
6 of 7 — Affordable Housing

 

 

    
Lock-Off Units at 5005 St. Margarets Street

 

The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy targets achieving 100 units of non-market housing on the 2400 Motel site when it is redeveloped.

The new housing forms introduced by the Norquay Plan were expected to provide affordable housing for families. The steep increase in Vancouver land prices since 2010 has rendered this goal a mere aspiration.

One 28-unit Rental 100 project is near completion at 2328 Galt Street. A second 27-unit building has been approved on Kingsway, but construction has been delayed.

Secondary suites and lock-off units are expected to produce additional rental accommodation. However, lock-off units can be used for short-term rental and many of them appear purpose-built for that undesirable use.


 
7 of 7 — Heritage Preservation

 
Only three buildings in Norquay are on the Vancouver Heritage Register. Two development applications in Norquay have involved heritage preservation. Neither of these projects has begun construction.

 

 

     5771 Wales Street
 

This 1920s house was on the Vancouver Heritage Register before planning began in Norquay. An application for development of a two-lot site that included moving and preserving this building was submitted in June 2015. No work has begun. Eye on Norquay understands that the amount of bonus density requested by the developer is at issue.

 

 

     2308 East 34th Avenue
 

A development application that involved restoring this building and adding two infill buildings on the site was also submitted in 2015. A subsequent rezoning designated this building as Heritage. The developer has been trying to sell the site for several years.
 


  
Section C — Summary

 
Nine years into the 30-year Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, implementation receives mixed reviews.


 
1 of 2 — Neighborhood Improvements

 

 

     Sidewalk in Front of 2689 Kingsway
 

1 of 3 —  Improved Kingsway Boulevard
The public realm along Kingsway is becoming more attractive and functional. Noteworthy are the 24-foot-wide sidewalks in front of new developments and the 3 new traffic signals. These improvements make it more pleasant to walk along Kingsway and may have contributed to more pedestrian traffic. New street trees have been planted.

 

 

     Shoppers Drug Mart in 2300 Kingsway
 

2 of 3 —  New Retail
It is easier to buy groceries and personal care products in Norquay …

 

 

     Demise of Harvey’s Furniture and Appliances
 

… but more difficult to buy household goods and hardware. Up to this point, Norquay has lost as much as it has gained.

 

 

     “Before” at Killarney Street and East 41st Avenue
 

3 of 3 —  More Varied Housing Forms

 

 

     “After” at Killarney Street and East 41st Avenue
 

Low density multi-family housing forms provide a needed type of housing that previously was unavailable in Norquay. Some of these projects have improved the streetscape. Many residential properties that have been redeveloped were formerly occupied by older houses in poor condition.


 
2 of 2 — Ongoing Concerns

 

 

     2400 Motel
 

1 of 4 —  Slow Delivery of Amenities
The promised community space connected with redevelopment of the 2400 Motel site is urgently needed. No staff seems to be assigned specifically to monitor and encourage timely implementation of this aspect of the Norquay plan.

 

 

     5005 St. Margarets Street

2 of 4 —  Lack of Affordability
The new family housing units are not affordable to many Vancouver families. Older, more affordable housing has been replaced by new but less affordable housing. A 933 sf unit in this stacked townhouse complex was advertised at $899,900 in spring 2019. Very little purpose-built rental housing has been constructed. Lock-off units meant to provide low cost housing for singles are often being used as short-term rental.

 

 

     4521/4523/4529 Nanaimo Street
 

3 of 4 —  Small Room Sizes
Multi-level housing units with individual ground-level entries often result in long, narrow units with too much space allocated to stairs and bathrooms. Staff is currently working on guidelines for room sizes.

 

 

     Landscaping Approximately One Year After Planting
 

4 of 4 —  Lack of Landscape Maintenance
Green space is at a premium. In many cases, new landscaping both in the public realm and on private property is not being adequately maintained. Pavers are sinking, plantings are not being watered, and street trees are dying and not being replaced.

 
Conclusion

 

 

Norquay Assembled and Targeted for Massive Rapid Redevelopment
 

Norquay’s single family housing is rapidly being replaced by new low density housing forms. This experiment will succeed only if problems are addressed as they become evident and if new amenities are delivered in a timely manner as the population grows.
 
 
 
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

24 May 2019 at 2:41 pm

Rezoning of RS for Duplex

with one comment

 
Submission to Mayor and Council Re: Public Hearing 18 September 2018 — Agenda Item 5
REZONING: Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones
to Allow Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice

 
Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre in East Vancouver includes 1.5 sq km or 370 acres. Since 2013, 1911 lots in Norquay have been rezoned from RS-1 to new low density housing zones that allow for duplexes, triplexes, rowhouses, stacked townhouses and 4-storey apartments. All of the new zones permit duplexes to be built outright on single lots. During the last 5 years more than 60 duplexes have been built or have started construction. Today Norquay amounts to a City of Vancouver demonstration project.

Most Norquay residents do not object to allowing duplexes in our community. There is a completed duplex on our block. We are fine with this.

However, Norquay’s experience shows that more regulation for outright duplexes is needed. There are three major concerns.

One problem has been very large lock-off units. We have seen several lock-off units that are really one-bedroom suites. Appendix B of today’s Report proposes a maximum size of 350 sq. ft. for lock-off units. We support this change. But two other major problems remain unaddressed.

First, living rooms and bedrooms are usually too small. Living rooms typically accommodate only a couch (and sometimes a chair). Second and third bedrooms often measure less than 60 sq. ft. We saw one unit with 4 bedrooms all measuring 8 x 7. These are not livable family dwellings. At present, no regulations govern room sizes in Vancouver. The 1992 High Density Housing for Families with Children Guidelines document is being updated. But these guidelines apply only to apartments, not to lower density housing forms.

The second problem is inadequate attention to external design. The External Design criteria now proposed for all RS zones are essentially the same as what is being applied in Norquay today. These requirements are a good start, and they have resulted in acceptable external design for approximately 80% of our new duplexes. But that is not good enough. Our Norquay neighbourhood deteriorates when 1 out of 5 new duplexes is an eyesore.

Look at these paired pictures of duplexes built outright in Norquay — visual successes and visual failures.

http://www.vcn.bc.ca/norquay/duplex-2018.html

Staff have confirmed that building duplexes in RS zones will not provide substantially more housing units or increase affordability. This is all about increasing housing choice. Is this worthwhile goal urgent enough to sideline the two major problems that I have described? No. Before approving any proposal to build duplexes outright in RS zones, Council needs to direct staff to develop and bring forward for approval (1) guidelines for room sizes that apply to low density housing forms, and (2) additional regulations to govern external design.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones

17 September 2018
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

17 September 2018 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Photos, Statements

Two Major Deficiencies

leave a comment »

 
… Likely to Carry Over into Current Citywide Planning

 
The following open letter is sent to the following named City of Vancouver officials and simultaneously posted to the Eye on Norquay web site at https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/two-major-deficiencies/.

 

To:  Gil Kelley — Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability
     Kaye Krishna — Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing
     Anita Molaro — Assistant Director: Urban Design
     Dan Garrison — Assistant Director: Housing Policy
     Kent Munro — Assistant Director: Vancouver Midtown
CC:  Sadhu Johnston — City Manager

From:  Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Subject: Two Major Deficiencies Evident in Norquay RT-11

Date:  4 September 2017

 

The Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is the second large area of Vancouver to have all RS parcels rezoned to allow for new forms of low-density housing. Between 2013 and 2015 the City of Vancouver rezoned 1,912 parcels of land in the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre from RS-1 to three new specifications: RT-11 (small house/duplex), RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse), and RM-9A (4-storey apartment). As of 30 August 2017, fifty development applications have been posted on the City of Vancouver’s Development Applications web page. Eleven projects have been completed so far in the RT-11 zoned areas and two in the RM-7 zoned areas. The first RM-9A project on assembled parcels has recently begun construction.

In this way, our entire neighbourhood has become a demonstration project for the City of Vancouver designated “missing middle” housing forms that seem destined for other RS-1 zoned areas across the city. Problems associated with these new housing types are showing up first in Norquay.

At this point, two major deficiencies are clearly evident in many of the completed projects.

 
1.  Living rooms and bedrooms are often too small.

A large number of units, especially in the RT-11 zoned area, are 3–bedroom units expected to house families. In small house, duplex and townhouse units of less than 1500 sq. ft., the kitchen area and the living/dining area usually occupy a single room. After space has been allocated to the kitchen and dining functions, the remaining space can often only hold a 3-seater sofa. This amount of living room is inadequate for families.

Bedrooms in these units tend to be extremely small. A recent RT-11 application shows bedrooms that are 8 x 6 ft. or 8 x 7 ft. This space is barely large enough to accommodate a single bed. Many 3-bedroom units have at least one bedroom smaller than the 92 sq. ft. specified in the BC Housing Design Guidelines as a minimum bedroom size for social housing units.

It seems that no guidelines govern room sizes in Norquay’s RT-11 zone or in the proposed RT-5/5A and RT-6 zones for Grandview-Woodland and Mount Pleasant. The city’s Housing Design and Technical Guidelines apply only to social housing units. The High-Density Housing for Families with Children Guidelines apply only to “residential development, both market and non-market, of 75 and more units per hectare in density.” (p. 1) Units in the RT-11 zone and in the proposed RT-5/5N and RT-6 zones have a maximum unit density of 74 per hectare. The City of Vancouver urgently needs a new set of guidelines for low-density housing forms.

 
2.  Landscaping is not being maintained.

For the most part, landscaped areas are being planted with drought-tolerant plants. But these new plantings are not being properly watered. In some cases, the developer fails to water and the landscaping shows signs of severe stress even before the units are ever occupied [photos 1 and 2]. In other cases, the new residents fail to water the plantings, either through ignorance or lack of interest [photo 3]. In a worst-case scenario, both the developer and residents have failed to water. Irrigation systems usually have not been required. Failure to water and otherwise care for the landscaping is especially evident where there is shared “semi-private” open space. No one appears to feel responsible for these, or for city boulevards [photos 4 and 5].

Much of the sod that has been laid down does not look as if it will survive [photo 6]. Many trees have dead branches, and some entire trees have died but have not been replaced [photos 7 and 8]. While established plantings may recover to a large extent after a hot summer like this one, new plantings are much more vulnerable.

These problems can be anticipated to be even more acute in the RM zones, where units are likely to be smaller and virtually all ground-level open space will be semi-private shared space.

RT-11 zoning is referenced in the report “Increasing Housing Choice and Character Retention Incentives in the Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland Communities – Proposed Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law,” as presented to Council on 13 July 2017 and referred to Public Hearing of September 19. What is happening in the RT-11 and RM-7 zones will also be relevant when the final Housing Reset strategy is presented to Council later this year.

Solutions need to be found to the two serious problems outlined above before these new housing forms are allowed in other areas of Vancouver. Staff have assured us that these problems are “on the radar,” but they need to become more than a blip. They need to be given urgent priority. We understand that cooperative effort between staff working in different areas may be required, and workable solutions may take some time to find. In the meantime, substandard projects proliferate in Norquay, exacerbated by failed plantings that are never remediated. Failure to address these issues in a timely fashion could spread similar degradation across Vancouver.

Please keep us updated on what is being done to ensure that living rooms and bedrooms are adequately sized and that landscaping is maintained in low-density housing developments.

Note: Photos are provided only on the web site version of the letter and may be viewed at https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/two-major-deficiencies/.
 

 
Photos

 

 
     Photo 1 — 22 Aug 2017 — 2297 East 37th Avenue
 

 

 
     Photo 2 — 22 Aug 2017 — 5197 Clarendon Street
 

 

 
     Photo 3 — 22 Aug 2017 — 4573 Slocan Street
 

 

 
     Photo 4 — 22 Aug 2017 — 2297 East 37th Avenue
 

 

 
     Photo 5 — 22 Aug 2017 — 2273/2275/2277 Slocan Street
 

 

 
     Photo 6 — 16 May 2016 — 4521 Nanaimo Street
 

 

 
     Photo 7 — 16 May 2016 — Killarney Street at East 41st Avenue
 

 

 
     Photo 8 — 16 May 2016 — 5689 Killarney Street
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

4 September 2017 at 10:11 pm

Virtual Tour Spring 2017

with 4 comments

 
Update on New Housing Types and Amenity Sites

 
Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is the name given by the City of Vancouver to an East Vancouver area of approximately 1.5 square kilometers. Norquay lies primarily in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver, with a small western portion in the Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood.

The Norquay Plan was developed to help carry out the intent of Vancouver’s CityPlan. Norquay remains the only area in Vancouver to be completely planned as a neighbourhood centre.

This review looks at the implementation of the Norquay Plan since it was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2010.

 
Section A — Development
 
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses
 
2 of 6 — Duplexes
 
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)
 
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)
 
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)
 
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Area
 
Section B — Amenities and Services
 
1 of 6 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space
 
2 of 6 — Ravine Way
 
3 of 6 — Parks
 
4 of 6 — Childcare
 
5 of 6 — Transportation
 
6 of 6 — Affordable Housing
 


 

 
Section A — Development — Introduction

Norquay is the second area in Vancouver to have all of its RS-1 zoned single family homes — a total of 1912 — rezoned to include new low-density housing forms.

In March 2013 zoning regulations were approved for two new residential zones: RT-11 (small house/duplex) and RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse).

Also in 2013 a rezoning policy was established for a 4-storey apartment transition zone, most of it paralleling Kingsway. In December 2016 this policy was replaced by the RM-9A (4-storey apartment) zone.

A rezoning policy for the Kingsway Rezoning Area sets a base height of 8-10 storeys, with up to 16 storeys on special sites.

 

 

Norquay Village Zoning Map


 
 

 
1 of 6 — Single Family Houses

A single family dwelling (with or without a laneway house and/or a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in any residential zone in Norquay, following the provisions of RS-1 zoning. Eye on Norquay has counted 17 single family houses completed or under construction since 2013, 9 with a laneway house. None of these houses appear to have been advertised for sale. It seems probable that most or all of them are being built by existing owners.


 
 

 
2 of 6 — Duplexes

A duplex (with or without a secondary suite) may be built outright on a single parcel in the RT-11 and the RM-7 zones. Eye on Norquay has counted 52 duplexes completed or under construction on single parcels since 2013. Allowable FSR is 0.75. Construction began on approximately 40 of these in 2014 and 2015, with fewer than 10 new starts in 2016.

 
IMG_7837
 
     2457/2459 Brock Street
 
On narrow, deep lots the duplexes are front and back. Designs are fairly similar and generally acceptable.

 
IMG_7832
 
     2735/2737 Duke Street
 
Front doors of both the front and back units must face the street. Roofs must be pitched.

 
IMG_7816
 
     5444/5446 Clarendon Street
 
On wider, shallow lots the duplexes are side by side.

 
IMG_7829
 
     2795/2799 Horley Street
 
This duplex is situated on a corner lot.

 
IMG_7827
 
     4816/4818 Earles Street
 
There is considerable variation in the form of side by side duplexes as well as in the quality of construction.
 


 
 

 
3 of 6 — Small House / Duplex Zone (RT-11)

More than 900 parcels were rezoned to RT-11/RT-11N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are larger lots situated in the northwestern, northeastern, and southern edges of Norquay. The number of permitted buildings depends on the size and the location of the site. Allowable FSR for a conditional application is 0.85.

So far there have been 19 conditional RT-11 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site, mostly in 2014 and 2015.

 

 
     4515/4519 Nanaimo Street
 
On a standard 33 x 122 ft. lot, a front and back duplex is allowed …

 

 
     4523 Nanaimo Street
 
… together with a laneway house. This site backs onto Brock Park. The colours are attractive.

 
IMG_9301-640
 
     5603/5613 Rhodes Street
 
This development is on a corner lot. The duplex faces Rhodes Street.

 

 
     2746 East 40th Avenue
 
The laneway house fronts on East 40th Avenue.

 
IMG_9359-640
 
     2355/2357 East 41st Avenue — 1 of 3
 
On this large lot, a duplex is built at the front of the lot …

 

 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 2 of 3
 
… and a laneway house at the back of the lot. An infill house (approximately 1500 sq. ft.) is situated in the middle.

 

 
     2353/2355/2357/2359 East 41st Avenue — 3 of 3
 
The zoning allows for a minimum separation between the buildings of only 8 feet. Two developments with this configuration have been built in Norquay and both were first marketed in early 2016. The laneway houses seem to have sold quickly. The duplexes took much longer to sell, and one of the four duplex units is still an active listing. Neither of the infill houses in the centre of the developments has been sold.

 

 
     2293 East 37th Avenue
 
Another possible development scenario for larger sites in RT-11 is two duplexes. This project is under construction on a large corner lot at Nanaimo Street and East 37th Avenue.

 

 
     2293 East 37th Avenue
 
The smaller duplex fronts on East 37th Avenue.

 

 
     5432 Rhodes Street
 
A two lot assembly permits 4 small houses, two at the front of the lot and two at the back.

 

 
     5432 Rhodes Street
 
Parking for all units is attached. This means that much of the open space is taken up by driveways to access the units at the front of the site.

 
IMG_9272-640
 
     2885 East 41st Avenue — 1 of 4
 
(This site includes 2885, 2887 and 2889 East 41st Avenue; 5681, 5683, 5685, 5687, and 5689 Killarney Street.) This development includes 8 units: a cluster of 6 small houses of 1230-1557 sq. ft. and 2 duplex units. It is situated on a self-contained site on the northwest corner of East 41st Avenue and Killarney Streets. To the west is Earles Park and to the north is a similar development (see below). Units in this development were marketed in late 2015 and sold very quickly.

 

 
     2885 East 41st Avenue — 2 of 4
 
This photo shows one of the small houses.

 

 
     2885 East 41st Avenue — 3 of 4
 
Although these houses are only 8 feet apart, they are carefully situated so that windows do not line up with the windows of the house next door. This was possible because the developer built only 8 units rather than the allowed 9 units.

 
IMG_9276-640
 
     2885 East 41st Avenue — 4 of 4
 
Parking is in garages or open parking spaces at the rear of the site.

 

 
     5653 Killarney Street
 
This project is currently under construction. It is located beside the development described above at 2885 East 41st Avenue, and consists of 7 units: 2 duplexes and 3 small houses. The two projects were designed by the same architect, although built by different developers. The sites are designed so that there is a small shared courtyard in the centre. A private school is situated directly north of this site.


 
 

 
4 of 6 — Rowhouse / Stacked Townhouse Zone (RM-7)

More than 700 parcels were rezoned to RM-7/RM-7N under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are situated near the centre of Norquay, fairly close to Kingsway. Typical stacked townhouse units in this zone are to be 1200 sq. ft. in area. The width of rowhouses is to be 12 ft. clear (wall-to-wall interior). Parking is on open parking spaces, 2 for every 3 units. Allowable FSR is 1.2 for assembled sites or larger lots, and 0.9 for smaller single lots.

During the planning process, residents expressed a strong preference for traditional rowhouses to be the dominant low density housing form for Norquay. The rowhouse zone and the stacked townhouse zone were described as separate zones in the Norquay Plan. The two were conflated when the zoning regulations were written in 2013.

So far there have been 22 RM-7 applications posted on the City of Vancouver web site, mostly in 2015 and 2016. Only 2 of these applications have been for rowhouse developments.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 1 of 6
 
This project is the first RM-7 project to be completed. It consists of 18 stacked townhouse units in three 4-level sixplexes on an assembled 132 ft. x 110 ft. site. There are 6 “garden” units on the lowest level, 6 units on the main floor, and 6 two-level units on the upper floors. The “garden” units contain lock-off units. The units are well laid out, but the usable living room space is very small.

To access the upper level units, a single stairway with a landing at the third level runs from the ground level entrance to the fourth floor bedroom.

The developer presold some of the units on the lower and the main floors in 2015. On multiple recent occasions, we have observed lower and main floor units being marketed without advertised open house to sizeable groups of what looked like offshore investors. The upper 6 units are currently being advertised with open houses, and by March 3 one of these 1270 sq. ft. units had sold. Asking price is $869,000.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 2 of 6
 
Ground level open space behind the buildings is taken up with infrastructure: parking spaces (2 for every 3 units), garbage bins …

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 3 of 6
 
… an electrical transformer, and bike lockers. The small red buildings house 30 of the required 42 bike lockers. The requirement for 2.25 bike lockers per unit applies only in the RM-7 zones; the standard requirement in all other RM zones is 1.25 per unit.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 4 of 6
 
Twelve bike lockers are housed behind the white doors under the front stairs.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 5 of 6
 
Canada Post requires a bank of letter boxes for these units. This structure has been inappropriately placed in the centre of the front yard.

 

 
     4573/4575/4577 Slocan Street — 6 of 6
 
Private open space has been provided in the form of 6 ft. wide balconies and porches for the main floor and upper level units. The lower “garden” units, which also contain the lock-off suites for this development, have only very small and dark patios.

 

 
     5178 Chambers Street
 
An 11-unit development in two sixplexes is under construction.

 

 
     5189 Clarendon Street
 
This 3-unit development is on a single 44 ft. x 89 ft. corner lot. All units are on three levels. Two units front on Clarendon Street and one unit fronts on East 37th Avenue. This project includes two garages and one open parking space.

 

 
     2759 Duke Street
 
These four traditional rowhouses of approximately 2000 sq. ft. are the only ones built in Norquay so far. They are on an assembled 66 ft. x 110 ft. site. Parking for rowhouses is one space per unit in garages at the back of the site.

A second similar application on the same street by the same developer has been approved. However, that site is currently being advertised for sale.
 


 
 

 
5 of 6 — Four-Storey Apartment Zone (RM-9A)

Approximately 250 parcels were rezoned to RM-9A/RM/9AN under the Norquay Plan. Most of these parcels are located within the half block immediately adjoining the Kingsway Rezoning Policy Area. Smaller areas of RM-9 zoning are found on Wales Street and on Rhodes Street across from Norquay Park, and on Earles Street immediately north of the Purdy’s factory.

The buildings in this zone are to be “alphabet-shaped” with more than 4 corner apartments. They should have a 26-ft. wide entry courtyard. On very deep sites stacked townhouses may be built behind the apartment building, separated by a 24 ft. wide “garden courtyard.” All parking is underground. Minimum frontage of 42 ft. is required. Allowable FSR is 1.2 with a minimum frontage of 42 ft., 1.5 with a minimum frontage of 50 ft., and 2.0 with a minimum frontage of 90 ft. They are intended to be “family housing,” with most of the units including 2 or 3 bedrooms. A typical unit is specified as 800 sq. ft. in area.

Four applications have been approved in the RM-9A zone, but construction has not yet begun on any of them. All of the sites are 3 or 4 lot assemblies. One additional small project was built on a single lot in 2012, before any regulations were written for this zone.

 

 
     2328 Galt Street
 
This site was rezoned for a 28-unit Rental 100 development under the Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy approved in May 2013. Most units were 2-bedroom. The site has recently been resold.

 

 
     4869 Slocan Street
 
This project has 44 units including 10 3-bedroom units. 24 2-bedroom units, and 6 1-bedroom units.

 

 
     2688 Duke Street
 
This project has 23 units, including 5 3-bedroom units, 10 2-bedroom units, and 8 1-bedroom units.

 

 
     4888 Slocan Street
 
This project has 53 units, 37 in an apartment building at the front of the site and 16 in stacked townhouse units at the rear of the site. There are 28 3-bedroom units and 25 2-bedroom units.

 

 
     2298 Galt Street
 
This 4-unit project is situated on a single lot. It consists of two side by side duplex buildings, one at the front of the site and one at the rear, separated by a garden courtyard. Under RM-9A zoning, construction of similar projects on a single lot will be restricted to orphan lots.
 


 
 

 
6 of 6 — Kingsway Rezoning Area

The Norquay Plan defines base height of buildings along Kingsway as 8-10 storeys. Three sites on the north side of Kingsway are allowed 12 storeys, and development there is to incorporate pedestrian connections to break up the very long blocks. Two large sites at either end of Norquay are allowed 14 storeys, and development there is to incorporate plazas of 6000-8000 sq. ft. One site (the 2400 Motel) is allowed one 16-storey tower and one 12-storey tower, and development there is to incorporate 15,000 sq. ft. of new indoor community space, a 20,000 sq. ft. outdoor community gathering space, and a smaller public plaza.

 

 
     2300 Kingsway — 1 of 2
 
This site-specific rezoning was approved in 2006, just before the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre planning process began. It consists of 342 residential units, most of them studio or 1 bedroom units, in one 22-storey tower and two 7-storey buildings.

 

 
     2300 Kingsway — 2 of 2
 
Two low-rise buildings on this site include townhouses (shown here) and a daycare.

 

 
     2689 Kingsway
 
This project consists of 129 residential units in two buildings. A 12-storey tower is separated from a 4-storey building by a 40 ft. wide pedestrian connection, which will function as the entrance to Ravine Way. (See further detail on Ravine Way below under Amenities.) The brick finish is in line with the strong preference expressed by Norquay residents for a brick finish on buildings on Kingsway.

 

 
     2220 Kingsway — 1 of 3
 
This massive project consists of more than four hundred 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units in three 14-storey towers and a 5-storey building on Kingsway. These buildings enclose a courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool, situated on the third storey in the centre of the site. The entire first and second storeys occupy a podium that covers most of the 2.3 acre site. Construction is to be completed in 2017.

 

 
     2220 Kingsway — 2 of 3
 
The 4700 sq. ft. open space in front of the grocery store entrance at the corner of Kingsway and Gladstone is defined as the “plaza.”

 

 
     2220 Kingsway — 3 of 3
 
The corner of 30th Avenue and Kingsway was to be the site of a 7500 sq. ft. “park” — but much of this space has been reclaimed to function as an outdoor seating area for the adjacent dim sum restaurant.

 

 
     2395 Kingsway — 1 of 2
 
This project will consist of 126 units with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms in a 12-storey tower flanked by 4-storey buildings.

 

 
     2395 Kingsway — 2 of 2
 
A pedestrian connection runs through the site. The bridge over the connection was later removed from the design.

 

 
     2751 Kingsway
 
The site of Harvey’s Furniture and Appliances at 2751 Kingsway was sold recently.

 
IMG_8946-648
 
     2768 Kingsway
 
This assembled site is currently for sale.



 
 

 
Section B — Amenities and Services

 
New development brings population growth, and an increased population requires increased amenities and services. The Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision made proposals for any new housing form “conditional … on an increase in community facilities and programs needed to serve any population growth generated by the new housing type.” (p. 31) The Norquay Plan states that “As the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre grows and evolves over time, new amenities and facilities will be needed to ensure the continued livability and desirability of the area.” (p. 70)

The Norquay Public Realm and Transportation Improvements Plan was approved as part of the Norquay Plan in 2010. The Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy was approved in May 2013. The Norquay Village Public Realm Plan was released in April 2016. These documents provide more detail about the amenities and services that are to be provided as the population grows.

Development is taking place rapidly in Norquay, especially along Kingsway. Projects that have been completed, are currently under construction, or are in the application/permitting stage are already bringing more than 2000 new residents to our neighbourhood. This number amounts to 40% of the new residents that are expected to be living in Norquay by 2040.

But almost no progress has been made on delivery of the amenities and services promised by the Norquay Plan.


 
 

 
1 of 6 — Community Facility with Indoor and Outdoor Space

 
The Norquay Plan mandates 15,000 sq. ft. of new indoor community space and 20,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space, as well as a smaller plaza, as part of the redevelopment of the 3.5 acre site currently occupied by the 2400 Motel. The new development is expected to include 100 units of non-market housing as well as 400 units of market housing.

 

 

This community space was rated the number one amenity choice of Norquay residents. Our neighbourhood has no community centre or neighbourhood house, no library, no skating rink or swimming pool. Gladstone High School, whose catchment area includes most of Norquay, has been considered for closure. The need for community space in Norquay is urgent.

The City of Vancouver already owns the 2400 Motel. We encourage the City to proceed as quickly as possible with redevelopment of this site to deliver our most essential amenity.


 
 

 
2 of 6 — Ravine Way

 
Ravine Way is the name given to a proposed linear park that would follow the undergrounded portion of Still Creek that flows through a culvert from Norquay Park to Slocan Park. Most of the properties that would be incorporated into the park are already owned by the City of Vancouver, but City social agencies currently lease purpose-built buildings on some of these properties. Two of the properties currently function as a community garden and a community orchard. Two properties still need to be acquired.

 

 

This amenity was rated the number two choice by Norquay residents, even though the City of Vancouver describes Ravine Way as a “long-term vision.”

Two ongoing concerns are (a) the amount of land that will be allocated to Ravine Way, and (b) the temporary use of the land until assembly is completed. The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy states: “Prior to completion of the entire park route, sections would function as pocket parks, mid-block connections or … community gardens.” (p. 10) We encourage the City to allocate all of the land it now owns along Ravine Way to the proposed park, and to repurpose the sites for public use as leases expire.


 
 

 
3 of 6 — Parks

 
Norquay encompasses four parks: Norquay Park, General Brock Park, Earles Park, and Slocan Park..

Increasing densification does more than increase the number of residents who use neighbourhood parks. It also transfers many activities that have traditionally taken place in private backyards to these parks. Norquay’s new housing forms leave very little room for ground level open space on the property. Neighbourhood parks are becoming the “shared backyard” where residents are looking to play, exercise, garden, and socialize.

The new development along Kingsway is having a significant impact on Norquay Park and General Brock Park. The areas around Earles Park and Slocan Park have experienced much less densification at this stage.

 
Norquay Park

 

 

 
This park received a substantial upgrade in 2011. The Park Board’s initial $300,000 budget was supplemented by a $500,000 grant of federal stimulus money for “shovel ready” projects. This made possible construction of a new playground, a basketball court, a water park and picnic tables.

 
General Brock Park

 

 

The renewal of General Brock Park was the number three amenity choice of Norquay residents, and is identified as a priority in the Public Benefits Strategy.

Several large developments are being built close to this park: 2300 Kingsway (completed), 2239 Kingsway (completed), 2220 Kingsway (under construction), 2395 Kingsway (approved), 2153 Kingsway (application submitted).

The Park Board has begun to assemble four adjacent properties on Wenonah Street to expand this park and to make it more visible. We anticipate funding for significant renovation under the 2019-2022 Capital Plan.


 
 

 
4 of 6 — Childcare

 
Redevelopment of 2300 Kingsway included the construction of 37 childcare spaces.


 
 

 
5 of 6 — Transportation

 
The Clarendon Connector, a one-block long extension of Clarendon Street that joins East 33rd Avenue and East 34th Avenue, has been completed. This project was underway prior to development of the Norquay Plan.

Two new traffic signals have been installed on Kingsway near Norquay Park. A third signal has been installed at the intersection of East 33rd Avenue and Gladstone Street, but is not yet activated.

Kingsway streetscape improvements include a new centre median (in five sections), several curb bulges on intersecting streets, new lighting, and new median and boulevard street trees. Approximately half of the street trees in the median have died and been removed, but they have not yet been replaced.

A few short sections of new sidewalk have been installed. There are still numerous locations in Norquay where no sidewalk exists on either side of the street.


 
 

 
6 of 6 — Affordable Housing

 
The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy targets achieving 100 units of non-market housing on the 2400 Motel site when it is redeveloped.

The new housing forms introduced by the Norquay Plan were expected to provide more affordable housing for families. The steep increase in Vancouver land prices since 2010 has made this goal very difficult to achieve. Duplex units are currently listed at $1.2 to $1.4 million, and a stacked townhouse unit of 1270 sq. ft. is listed at $869,000.

One Rental 100 project has been approved in Norquay. That property at 2328 Galt Street has just been resold. Lock-off suites in the new housing forms are expected to produce additional rental accommodation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

13 March 2017 at 11:35 am

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
 

 
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2153-2199 Kingsway as Shown on VanMap
 

 
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The Five Existing Parcels on Kingsway
 

 
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     2153 Kingsway
 

 
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     2163 Kingsway
 

 
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     2169 Kingsway
 

 
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     2185 Kingsway
 

 
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     2199 Kingsway
 

 
 

Two Big Wins from Any Redevelopment

 

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

 
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     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

Avalon Tree Whack

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Despite multiple communications to various City of Vancouver authorities on Saturday 12 March 2016, treewhackers returned to the Avalon Dairy site on Monday 14 March 2016 to make irreversible their damage to the large fir tree. In a few hours, the crew did a hit and run. The short time span and the unfinished work make the “job” look like nothing but haste and spite. Even as lumber, the old tree has been wasted.

 
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A local area resident offered up a cellphone photo of part of the text of what appears to be a permit dated 30 November 2015:

Pursuant to the protection of trees by-law, the following work is hereby authorized:

Removal of nine trees for development, including two City trees …
Sixty-four new site trees plus 10 street trees to be planted with …
Six site trees and three City trees to be retained and protected …
SUBSTANTIAL ARBORIST SUPERVISION REQUIRED DURING ANY WORK WITHIN … ZONES

 
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The supposed permit enumerates some numbers of trees for removal and others for retention. That vague language would allow the whackers to take out any trees they feel like, since no specific trees are identified. If a traffic cop wrote you a ticket like that, do you think a traffic court would do anything but laugh and let you go? That seems to be the Vancouver approach to letting developers eradicate trees.

Here’s the telephone number that was displayed on the “permit”: 604-687-4741. So telephone the City of Vancouver and ask for specific descriptions of the “six site trees and three City trees to be retained and protected.” Two bets: (1) They can’t or won’t tell you, except maybe after a $500 FOI, if you’re lucky. (2) There will not be “six site trees and three City trees” left standing.

 
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Be glad you are not a tree in the City of Vancouver. You have two feet. You can flee the chainsaw … provided you hear it coming.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

14 March 2016 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Heritage, News, Photos

Avalon Clearer Cut

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Saturday morning, 12 March 2016, around 11:00 am. The phone rings. I hear from distressed neighbors of the Avalon Dairy development project that some “work crew” has just had a go at cutting down the huge old fir tree at the southeast corner of the site. Police have been on scene. The tree cutters have departed. I tweet out what I can on the situation right away. After lunch I go out to make an eyewitness inspection. Now it’s Saturday night. This feels like the opposite of a party.

Start with this summary photo of the scene:

 
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The lower limbs of the tree have been whacked off and superficial slicing has been inflicted on the lower trunk. Whatever else may be the case, this does not look like a responsible or a professional approach to tree removal.

The irresponsibilities appear to have included

        Failing to justify the activity by timely posting of a permit
        Failing to inform local area residents of time and nature of anticipated work
        Failing to put in place safe-area markers (tape, pylons, etc.)
        Exposing objecting residents to physical danger (as a threat?) by continuing to cut and drop branches

Earlier tree cutting at the Avalon Dairy site was covered by Eye on Norquay on 18 December 2015 in the posting Avalon Clearcut. Review this extract from Conditions of Approval of the Form of Development (Appendix B, Page 2 of 10) in the report to Council:

 
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At this point it is difficult to imagine that the developer and/or the City of Vancouver care to retain any of the trees that may have enhanced the developer case for heritage density bonus. This starts to look like a programmatic part of the City of Vancouver’s ongoing destruction of tree canopy in East Vancouver.

While on that theme, the heritage farmhouse building itself seem imperiled. A neighbor reports that the building survived an unsuccessful arson attempt in November 2015. Now the structure, with unnecessarily open windows, suffers exposure to weather — and perhaps provides easy access to a future arsonist. If the house happened to go up in flames, would the City of Vancouver impose any penalty on the developer? After all, the supposed heritage that generated the bonus would have gone up in smoke.

Let the following photos enable you to conduct your own site inspection. Start with this contributed photo of the large tree, as it used to be, on a much sunnier day:

 
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Next, see mistreated house in background, with today’s tree damage in foreground.

 
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View below is from east toward west. Notice how this site as developed will not line up with houses along the street in the distance.

 
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View below is from west toward east. At this stage, it’s easy to imagine how much better off the neighborhood might have been if the developer had not succeeded in scamming extra density off of the old farmhouse.

 
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View below is from northeast corner of site to the south.

 
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Does this final photo below look like a professional approach to cutting down a big tree, or does it look like a hasty attempt to do real damage to a tree that someone has hopes of saving?

 
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Written by eyeonnorquay

12 March 2016 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Heritage, News, Photos