Archive for the ‘RM-7 Comment’ Category

4711 Slocan Street

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Comment on Development Application DP-2016-00205
under RM-7 Zoning





4 April 2016

The design of the duplex is acceptable. The lines of the building are clear and relatively simple.

However, the design of the coach house is a jumble. The building has too many fragmented surfaces and discontinuous lines. The varying sizes and crude distribution of the windows do not please the eye. Since this is a corner site, the coach house fronts on a street and is highly visible. It should be redesigned to look more like the duplex.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 April 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

4412 Nanaimo

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Comment on Development Application DP-2016-00558
under RM-7 Zoning



12 December 2016

We have several concerns about this application.


We are particularly concerned about the design of the north side of the building, fronting on East 28th Avenue. The steep front-to-back slope of the site does make it a challenge to locate building fronts and entrances on both streets, as the RM-7 Guidelines specify for corner sites [Section 2.3(b)].

But as much as possible should be done to make this side of the building to look more attractive and to break up its large mass. The articulation shown in the drawings is a start. Improvement should begin with making window sizes more uniform. The black infill panels between windows should be eliminated. An alternate exterior finishing material such as metal panels could be used on the projections. Entrances to the basement units need to be more visible and to look more like main entrances.


There should be 6 parking stalls for the 9 units in this building. The site plan shows only 5, one of which is substandard in size.


It is good to see that there are no small areas of grass in the landscape plan. A sprinkler system needs to be required to ensure that the landscaping is adequately watered.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

12 December 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

5005 Chambers

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Comment on Development Application DP-2016-00066
under RM-7 Zoning


30 May 2016

We have several concerns with this application.


The proposed number and size of bins for garbage, recyclables and compostables is grossly insufficient for a development of ten units intended to house families. The suggested size of garbage and green bin containers on the CoV website is:

       Household size            Suggested garbage bin volume
       Up to 2 people              75 L
       2 to 3 people              120 L
       3 to 4 people              180 L
       4 to 6 people              240 L
       6 or more people           360 L

The inadequate garbage and green bins proposed in this application seem certain to overflow, creating a smelly and unsightly mess. The lids may not shut tightly, making it possible for birds and other animals to gain access to the bins. This is a critical problem that must be dealt with.

Insufficient provision for garbage bins was also a problem for development proposal DE419937 at 2679 Horley Street, designed by the same architect.

Building Design

1.  We support the use of several windows and a doorway to create interest on the north side of the building facing E. 34th Avenue. A window should be added west of the doorway, where there is now an expanse of blank wall.

2.  It looks as if the large decks on the top floor at the back of the building are off the bedrooms of the upper units. They would be more functional if they were off the living area (kitchen, dining area, or living room).


1.  There is only one tree indicated on the site in the landscape plan. This is not enough on a site of this size.

2.  We support the use of plantings rather than lawn on most of the site. However, there should be more plantings, especially in the rear yard. The area around the padmount transformer should be covered with ground cover plants rather than river rock.

3.  If not already specified, an automatic sprinkler system should be required. In stacked townhouse developments in the RM-7 zone, open space is minimal and most of it is shared. The planted areas are small, scattered and often narrow, making it difficult and time-consuming to water them by hand. No individual owner will feel responsible for watering the plantings.

We ask the City of Vancouver to address these concerns before approving the application.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

30 May 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

2719 Ward

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Comment on Development Application DE420070 under RM-7 Zoning


16 May 2016

This project, consisting of 16 units in 2 buildings, would set precedent in the RM-7 zone. Therefore the application deserves careful consideration.


1.  Each unit is a corner unit, allowing good access to natural light and ventilation. This design also makes it easier to achieve wider living spaces.

2.  The enhanced side yard between the buildings is well designed and encourages interaction between the residents.

3.  Bike and storage lockers are located under the decks, making good use of that space. It looks as if this is possible because the decks project into the front yard for a full 6 ft., in line with the new guidelines passed in March 2016.


1.  The entries of the eight back units do not front on the street. Four of these units have entries on the centrally located enhanced sideyard, which is a good alternative. But entries to the four units near the back corners of the site are tucked away close to the rear of the building, next to the fence. Residents of these units will tend to feel peripheral to the community life of the development.

2.  The eight back units face the back lane. The living room windows of the lower units would look out on bare fences, on the parking spaces for this development and on the neighbours’ garages. The lower back unit in the northeast corner of the site would have a direct view of the concrete block wall that partially obscures the garbage area. The evergreen clematis on the trellises over the parking spaces could improve the view somewhat, but not enough.

3.  A new RM-7 guideline passed in March 2016 specifies that a majority of units should be 1200 sq. ft. in area. All units in this development are smaller than 1200 sq. ft., although a majority of them have 3 bedrooms.

4.  The upper units appear to have an adequate amount of private open space in the form of balconies and decks. The lower back units have additional private ground level open space. But deck areas for the lower front units are much more restricted, especially considering that they function in part as entries to the units.

5.  Too much of the site is covered by concrete. Especially objectionable is the 6.5 ft. wide concrete walkway along the inside of the fence across the front of the property. Impermeable material covers 82% of the site, considerably more than the 70-75% allowed.

6.  The location of the access walkways to the bike and storage lockers makes the front and back yards useless for any other purpose. Stepping stones set into grass are a poor choice for walkways in multi-family developments because they are far too difficult to maintain and pose a tripping hazard. Where they are used to access lockers, as they are in this instance, the grass surrounding them will soon be worn away by residents moving bikes and other items in and out of the lockers.

7.  Several areas of lawn, especially along the outer walkways and in the enhanced sideyard, are too small. They are not functional and would be hard to take care of. It is not clear what material covers the space under the stairways. Grass would not be appropriate in
that location.


1.  Many of these concerns could be addressed if the open space in the front and back yards were designed differently. Tiny areas of lawn are difficult to maintain and not very functional. They become even less desirable when one considers the presence of chafer beetles across Vancouver. Several RM-7 projects have eliminated the use of grass altogether (see landscape plans for 5005 Clarendon St. and 2679 Horley Street), or at least in the back yards (see landscape plans for 2115 E. 33rd Avenue, 4740 Duchess St., and 5055/69 Earles St.) In these projects, on-site open space is covered with a combination of paving stones and planting beds, and the use of grass is mostly confined to boulevards. We favour this approach.

If paving stones are used in the front and back yards, they should be different from those used in the enhanced sideyard so that each area is clearly defined. The configuration of the paved areas should allow access to the entry stairways and the lockers and still leave as much space as possible for plantings, especially along the inside of the front and back fences. If there is not room for a planting area at least 2.5 ft. wide inside the front fence, consider eliminating the fence.

2.  If pavers are considered to be impermeable, using them in the front and back yards would result in an even higher percentage of the site being covered by impermeable material. Changing the surface of the parking spaces from asphalt to a permeable material would help to meet the permeability requirement.

We do not have specific suggestions for addressing the other concerns we have raised, but we believe that they are equally important.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 May 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

5005 Clarendon Street

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Comment on Development Application DE418727 under RM-7 Zoning


2 May 2016

[ Note:  An almost identical application has been posted for 2384 East 34th Avenue ]

We are concerned about the size of the units in this development. A “key parameter” of a typical stacked townhouse in the RM-7 zone is an area of 1200 sq. ft. (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan Implementation Report accompanying the RM-7 zoning regulations adopted by Council April 9, 2013, p. 11)

The Guideline adopted by Council on March 8, 2016 for unit density in the RM-7 zone makes this requirement explicit:

New Section:
4.18 Dwelling Unit Density
The maximum number of dwelling units that may be considered in any development is based on the provision in section 4.18 of the RM-7 District Schedule. This maximum may not necessarily be achievable due to considerations of livability and the preference for larger dwelling units that are suitable for families. Typically, the location of the main living spaces (ie. living rooms) should be located at or above grade and a majority of the dwelling units should be large, 3-bedroom units approximately 1,200 ft2 in size.

Of the nine units in this development, only one unit — a very large unit measuring 1655 sq. ft. — meets this requirement. There are five units measuring 900-950 sq. ft., and three units measuring 1030-1040 sq. ft. This makes the mean average size of the units 1045 sq. ft., and the median average size only 935 sq. ft. One very large unit is no substitute for “a majority of units … approximately 1200 sq. ft. in size.” Most of these units are too small to be suitable for families.

The units should be reconfigured to meet the requirement of Guideline 4.18 before this application is approved.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

2 May 2016 at 12:00 pm

Posted in RM-7 Comment

2679 Horley Street

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Comment on Development Application DE419937 under RM-7 Zoning


15 February 2016

We have concerns with this application. Units 3 and 6 are long, narrow units, approximately 45 ft x 13 ft on the eastern side of the building adjacent to the neighbouring property. They have the following problems:

1 —  The layout of these units is unattractive and inefficient. The front entries open into a passageway that passes the laundry area and the bathroom. The living areas in these units are in the centre of the building. Much of this space will need to function as a hallway to access the back half of the units.

2 —  Living area windows of Unit 3 will look out on the 5 ft. fence that separates this site from the neighbouring property. The corresponding windows of Unit 6 will look out on the blank wall or into the windows of the house next door. There will be inadequate light and ventilation, and no view.

3 —  There appear to be no windows in Unit 3 that look out on the street. Please address these concerns before approving the application.

We appreciate being able to view the floor plan — at least for the main floor of the building.

Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

15 February 2016 at 12:00 pm

Posted in RM-7 Comment

4740 Duchess Street

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Comment on Development Application DE419797 under RM-7 Zoning

(Formerly 4730 Duchess St and 2603 Cheyenne St)



8 February 2016

The lot at 4730 Duchess Street was previously approved for 3 traditional rowhouses (DE417498). Shallow, sloping sites like this one are more suitable for rowhouse development. Rowhouses might also be better able to take advantage of the corner location of the site.

If stacked townhouses are to be built, we have two main concerns:

1 —  There seems to be inadequate private outdoor space for the units. The proposed area for balconies and porches is only 1307 sq. ft. rather than the allowable 2105 sq. ft. The balconies at the back of the building are very shallow. Locating sunken patios for the first floor units under the front porches of the units above would severely limit daylight and air circulation.

2 —  Too much of the front yard of the larger building is taken up by sidewalks. The site plan shows 4 single-width sidewalks and 1 double-width sidewalk. An 8-unit building in the RM-7 zone usually has 4 single-width sidewalks. Fewer sidewalks would create more open space and make the areas of lawn larger and easier to maintain. Access to Units 1 and 2 should be reconfigured.

Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

8 February 2016 at 12:00 pm

Posted in RM-7 Comment