CVN letter to Council: Rezoning Application – 1956 – 1990 Stainsbury Avenue (Public Hearing, 21-Jan-2020)

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council.

January 20, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

RE: Item 3. Rezoning Application – 1956 – 1990 Stainsbury Avenue Public Hearing Jan 21,2020
https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1956-1990Stainsbury/index.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes this rezoning application. We are concerned that many issues have been raised by the local community group Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN), including such as the following: Continue reading

CVN letter to Council: Simplified & Expanded Zoning & Development Regulations for Passive House Projects (21-Jan-2020))

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council.

January 21, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

RE: Referral Report 2. Simplified and Expanded Zoning and Development Regulations for Passive House Projects

Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200121/documents/rr2.pdf
Council Meeting Agenda Jan. 21, 2020: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200121/regu20200121ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) requests that this report not be referred to public hearing as it has had no public consultation and would affect all residential RS, RT and RA zones across the city.

While we support the objectives of making new construction more energy efficient, this proposal seeks to allow significant increased FSR for new construction that undermines the character and heritage house incentives in RT and RS zones. The report proposes single-family houses would be eligible for a flat exclusion of 16% and duplexes eligible for an exclusion of 18%. This goes well beyond what is required to make up for extra wall thicknesses and creates a large bonus density that undermines retention incentives.

A change of this scope should have had public consultation with consideration of impacts on other city objectives of reducing demolitions of character houses prior to bringing a report for referral forward to council. Continue reading

CVN letter to Council: Miscellaneous Amendments – Zoning and Development By-law and Sign Fee By-law (Public Hearing Jan 21, 2020))

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council. This item was completed on Jan 21, but note that the meeting reconvenes on 28-Jan-2020 for unfinished business.

January 21, 2020
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

RE: Public Hearing 1. Miscellaneous Amendments – Zoning and Development By-law and Sign Fee By-law

Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191210/documents/rr1.pdf
Public Hearing Agenda Jan. 21, 2020: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200121/phea20200121ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to including major changes to zoning in a miscellaneous amendment report.

The item we particularly are opposed to is as follows:

2) Section 3.2.1(h) – Relaxation for Low Operational Cost Housing
Staff recommend amending the Zoning and Development By-law to give the Director of Planning the discretion to relax the maximum unit density regulations in the district schedules when applying the Zero Emissions Building Catalyst Policy where, due to conditions peculiar either to the site or to the proposed development, literal enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship. In some development scenarios, the current regulation could lead to larger than intended units. The proposed change would permit a greater number of smaller dwelling units to be approved.

This is a major change that applies to all zones city-wide except for CD zones. It should require its own report that discusses the impact this would have on various zones and require consultation with the public in advance. The proposed change is as follows: Continue reading

CVN letter to Council: Items 4 & 5. CD-1 Rezoning: 3600 & 3680 East Hastings Street (Public Hearing Jan 21, 2020)

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council. Note that the meeting reconvenes on 28-Jan-2020.

January 20, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

RE: Items 4 & 5. CD-1 Rezoning: 3600 & 3680 East Hastings Street Public Hearing Jan 21,2020
https://council.vancouver.ca/20200121/phea20200121ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes these rezoning applications for the following reasons:

• these types of rezoning projects render moot the effectiveness of the years-down-the-road mirage of a City-wide Plan
• these would be blockbusters setting a precedent for additional large buildings in the middle of a C-2C zoned area.
• the building height is overbearing to the houses next to it; 48.8 (160.2 ft.) tall, 14 storeys
• the MIRHP Program is giving a bonus to the developer of 10 additional storeys for providing ±20 units of ‘Median Income’ rental. And the taxpayers get to supply the funds for the additional loads onto all neighbourhood amenities and infrastructure, with the added bonus of waiving CACs and DCLs.
• only 47 parking stalls for 94 units (3600) and 61 for 118 units (3680), in an area already overburdened with on-street parking problems
– area schools are already overcrowded; the community centre is too crowded with no space for small children; and with the waiver of CACs as a bonus to developer, no money to change this situation!
• there is nothing that staff can point to indicating general support for this in the ‘community plan’ as there was no household survey
• height is unprecedented in the surrounding Vancouver neighbourhood; Burnaby is irrelevant, as it is a different jurisdictional authority.

Density and affordable housing are good. These buildings, on these sites, are not. The Coalition recommends that these applications be rejected.

Sincerely,
Larry Benge, Dorothy Barkeley
Co-Chairs

CVN letter to Council: RE: Items 6. Rezoning of Certain Properties in Nanaimo Sub-area of Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, etc. (Public Hearing Jan 21, 2020)

The following letter went to Vancouver City Council. Note that the meeting reconvenes on 28-Jan-2020.

RE: Items 6. Rezoning of Certain Properties in the Nanaimo Sub-area of the Grandview-
Woodland Community Plan, and Related Plan Amendments Public Hearing Jan 21,2020
https://council.vancouver.ca/20200121/phea20200121ag.htm

January 21, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

RE: Items 6. Rezoning of Certain Properties in the Nanaimo Sub-area of the Grandview-
Woodland Community Plan, and Related Plan Amendments Public Hearing Jan 21,2020

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes these rezoning applications. We are concerned with the many issues have been raised by the local community group Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) including the following:

• the very long list of amendments to the Community Plan that have been included
• the wider community of Grandview-Woodland never received any public notification of these Plan Amendments
• there were no Open Houses to discuss changes to many sections of the Community Plan that have wide impacts across the neighbourhood
• the full final text and final diagrams for the Plan Amendments have not been included in the report

Community plans should be respected and followed. If the city wants to consider development that doesn’t follow the relevant community plan, there should be a requirement to consult with the local community in a manner consistent with the original process to establish the community plan prior to considering rezoning.

We support the request that Council sever the sections of this item on amending the Community Plan, and at this Public Hearing limit the discussions and final votes to only the rezoning of parcels in the two identified blocks (Kitchener and Nanaimo and E12th and Nanaimo St).

Please vote to delay and defer any changes to the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (GWCP) until a later date, at which time due process can be followed with considering changes to the Community Plan.

Sincerely,
Larry Benge, Dorothy Barkeley
Co-Chairs

 

Coalition letter to Council: Rental Incentives Review Phase II Report Back (in Council 26-Nov-2019)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

November 25, 2019

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Rental Incentives Review Phase II Report Back

Agenda Nov. 26, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191126/regu20191126ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191126/documents/p1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) requests that City Council not approve the recommendations in this report. Many of the recommendations have been brought forward without the widespread public consultation that they require.

If approved, the effects of this 236-page report will be felt broadly across the city in a dramatic and complex way. It is impossible for the public and councillors to adequately read, understand and consider the details and implications of the staff proposals in the few days since the report was made public. Most of the public is likely unaware of it at all.

Adding large-scale new apartment development throughout RS, RT and C2 zones would dramatically reshape these neighbourhoods and render the City-wide Plan process meaningless. It would result in much change before that process even begins.

Council approval of the recommendations at this time would also undermine established local area and community planning in Vancouver. It would also go against general standards for public process and neighbourhood-based planning (e.g. IAP2) to which the City has committed itself.

These proposals need more time to be considered along with other options as part of the City-wide Plan and should not be rushed through as currently proposed. We remind council that the last election signaled the public’s desire for a new approach, not to carry on implementing the former council’s directions and policies. If this report is approved it would undermine opportunities for collaboration. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 21-Oct-2019: Opposed to Rezoning St. Paul’s Hospital – False Cr. Flats (Public Hearing 22-Oct)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council. See also appendices at bottom.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Public Hearing Rezoning St. Paul’s Hospital – False Cr. Flats
Agenda Oct. 22, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191022/phea20191022ag.htm
Item 3: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/documents/p13.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this rezoning above.

We continue to question why the rezoning for this site is proceeding when it is “considered critical infrastructure” that is “vital during and after disasters” but is “located in a flood plain and high-risk seismic and liquefaction zone,” as stated in the report on page 27. See Appendix A. [Below]

The report states that “staff have provided conditions requiring comprehensive all-hazard risk and vulnerability assessments be completed, and that climate and seismic resilience measures be incorporated into the design of the building. As part of the conditions, an expert panel will be struck to evaluate the resilience of the design, and report on the post-disaster functionality of the hospital”. The panel’s recommendations are not binding. (WHY NOT?) A risk assessment should be completed in advance of rezoning, not after. It is hard to imagine a risk assessment concluding that it is acceptable to locate critical emergency infrastructure in an area that is a flood plain, and a high-risk seismic and liquefaction zone.

No matter what they do to the construction of the buildings, it can’t change the fact that the surrounding area and access to the site will be compromised during a major flood, seismic or liquefaction event.

For example, this question was raised at a community planning meeting for the hospital and staff said that the ground floors would have very high ceilings and no sensitive equipment would be located there. This doesn’t address the obvious issue of emergency access to the hospital during a flood/tsunami event as well as how the hospital would function without equipment on the ground floor for emergency, reception, etc.

Almost all of Vancouver is low risk for liquefaction except the False Creek Flats, including the existing site.

We request that this rezoning not be approved until the fundamental issue is addressed: that the False Creek Flats is a completely inappropriate location for a critical emergency response hospital in a major urban centre. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 19-Oct-2019: Opposed to Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles (in Council 22-Oct)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Broadway Plan – Phase 1 Engagement and Proposed Guiding Principles
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191002/documents/cfsc2.pdf
Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191022/regu20191022ag.htm

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to the proposed Broadway Plan principles.

As we have stated previously, we support neighbourhood-based land use planning processes through the City-wide Plan, not corridor-based planning. The current proposal for the Broadway Plan doesn’t meet those criteria.

We also previously raised concerns that the phase 2 extension to UBC should also be planned through the neighbourhood-based City-wide Plan, not the Broadway Plan corridor process.

Please do not approve these planning principles and instead refer this to the City-wide Plan through neighbourhood-based processes, and not through the Broadway Plan corridor process. Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 18-Oct-2019: Support for Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for City of Vancouver (in Council 23-Oct))

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Agenda Item 3 – Establishing an Independent Auditor General Office for the City of Vancouver

Agenda Oct. 23, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/pspc20191023ag.htm
Item 3: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/documents/pspc3.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly in support of this motion above.

We note that Vancouver is the only major city in Canada that doesn’t have an independent Auditor General who is accountable directly to council. This is a very important role for accountability and transparency.

CVN supports measures to ensure accountability to the public and this measure is an important part of the process currently missing. We urge council to approve and implement this important motion as quickly as possible to be part of the 2020 budget process.

Sincerely,

Larry Benge, Co-Chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair

On behalf of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

Coalition letter to Council 19-Oct-2019: Proposed Amendments to Procedure Bylaw No. 9756 & New Pilot Program (in Council Oct 23)

The following letter was sent to all members of Vancouver City Council.

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Proposed Amendments to the procedure Bylaw No. 9756 and New Pilot Program
Agenda October 23, 2019: https://council.vancouver.ca/20191023/pspc20191023ag.htm
Item 2: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/documents/cfsc4.pdf
Redline Version: https://council.vancouver.ca/20190724/documents/cfsc4redline.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes this report’s recommendations and encourages Council to not approve it as proposed, but instead address the many concerns first.

This report has been brought forward without any meaningful public consultation while it greatly restricts democratic processes and the relationship between elected officials and the public they represent. Vancouver has a long history of public participation in the democratic process of governance, but these changes would undermine that participation.

We note that there are numerous concerns to be addressed, of which a few are listed in the attached Appendix A.

For example, the report proposes that Council members’ motions require 2 meetings notice (4 weeks), which is much longer than the current bylaw requirement of only one week ahead, or current pilot of 1 meeting notice (2 weeks). Meanwhile staff reports (which are usually large and complex), and Council agendas, are only required to be provided by noon on the day prior to the Council meeting. Instead, we suggest allowing 2 weeks notice at prior Council meeting and agenda posted the next day. This has been an ongoing concern of both the public and Council.

We urge you to address the many issues raised and revise the bylaw accordingly. We also are opposed to the proposed pilot project that would restrict Councillors from asking speakers questions. Please reconsider. Continue reading