Archive for the ‘RM-7 Comment’ Category

2711 Ward Street

with 2 comments


Comment on Development Application DP-2017-01152
under RM-7 Zoning



15 January 2018

Form of Development

1.  The use of different materials on the outside of the building to differentiate the units within is interesting.

2.  The proposed two-bedrooms are appropriate for units of this size. Trying to squeeze three bedrooms into units of less than 1100 sq. ft. usually results in some bedrooms that are far too small.

3.  This is the first application in the RM-7 zone to propose a flat roof on a project located mid-block on a residential street. Norquay contains very few flat-roofed single family houses. Duplexes in Norquay are required to have sloped roofs. The 16-unit RM-7 project under construction at 2719 Ward Street also features sloped roofs.

Because this proposal for Norquay’s first large roof deck is adjacent to a 16-unit stacked townhouse project, we are not objecting to the roof style in this case. But in general, flat-roofed RM-7 projects should continue to be located either on arterial streets or very close (across the street or adjacent) to the 4-storey apartment RM-9 zone. This has been the practice since the RM-7 zoning regulations were approved in 2013. The result is that new projects in the RM-7 zone fit in better with existing neighbourhood context and character than they would if flat roofs were to be approved indiscriminately.


We approve of the use of ornamental plantings and ground covers rather than small areas of grass, which are difficult to maintain. We make the following minor suggestions:

1.  The side yard on the west side of the building is marked as an inaccessible area of gravel. At least limited access will be necessary if that side of the structure work requires work in the future.

2.  English ivy is proposed between a part of the 4-ft. wide east walkway and the fence. Our experience of English ivy is that it will need to be trained to the metal string lattice in front of the fence. Once established, English ivy is a rampant grower that will need frequent pruning to keep it manageable in such a narrow space. As an invasive species, it is generally undesirable. Many new homeowners in Norquay are not gardeners. We suggest eliminating the English ivy along the east fence. There should, however, be plantings to screen the garbage/recycling area from the back patio.

Overall the design of this project shows imagination and care.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones


Written by eyeonnorquay

15 January 2018 at 11:11 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

2725/2731 Duke Street

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Comment on Development Application DP-2017-00819
under RM-7 Zoning



9 October 2017

This development seems to be an acceptable implementation of the RM-7 zoning for stacked townhouses.

We have several comments regarding the landscaping.

1.  We are pleased to see that the large pine tree on city property in front of the house is to be retained. However, we question the plan to plant a considerable area of lawn underneath the tree. Grass cannot compete with a large evergreen for water or nutrients, and the existing grassy area under the tree is in very poor condition. We suggest that a drought tolerant ground cover be planted instead. The ornamental plants specified for this location seem like good choices.

2.  In a similar nearby rowhouse development at 2761-2767 Duke Street, the clematis specified in the landscape plan to cover the wooden trellis over the parking spaces has not been planted. We believe that there has been some confusion over a condition in the Prior-To letter, where the developer was asked to provide “more substantial, woody shrubs … to create unit identity and privacy” (Landscape Review Condition 1.13.1). The developer has planted rows of cedars instead of, and not in addition to, the specified clematis (see photo following). Consequently the trellis remains bare. If a similar condition is imposed for this application, it needs to be carefully worded to avoid a similar outcome.

3.  An irrigation system for the ornamental plantings needs to be specified if this has not already been done.

Please send a copy of the Prior-To letter when it is ready.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones



Written by eyeonnorquay

9 October 2017 at 9:34 pm

Posted in RM-7 Comment

4787 Slocan Street

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Comment on Development Application DP-2017-00412
under RM-7 Zoning



31 May 2017


1.  Siting of Buildings and Parking Spaces.  This application is similar to the completed development at 4571 Slocan Street, designed by the same architect in a sixplex building form. The stairs to the two-level units on the upper storeys are a straight run from a small landing just inside the 2nd-level front door to a small landing on the 3rd level. The stairs then continue in a straight run from that landing on up to the 4th floor. This long, narrow, and dark stairway provides an uninviting entrance to the units. If possible, the stairs between the 3rd and 4th levels should be relocated. The front doors should have large windows so that natural light can reach the stairs. This development appears to have windows on the 4th level near the head of the stairs, which should make the interior stairways somewhat less dark than those at 4571 Slocan Street.

2.  Parking Spaces.  Individual parking spaces should be accessed directly from the lane, as has been done in all previous RM-7 applications. The current configuration paves valuable open space which could otherwise be used for plantings.


1.  Back Yard Open Space.  Reconfiguration of the parking spaces would free up open space for more plantings in the back yard. The currently proposed small area of lawn in the back corner behind Building 2 seems dysfunctional. It should be replaced by plantings unless it can be enlarged and relocated.

1.  Watering System.  A watering system for the plantings should be required if it is not already specified.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

31 May 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

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