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

Public Hearing Agenda Jan. 21, 2020:

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:
3.2.1 …
the Director of Planning may relax the requirements in the appropriate district schedule, regarding yards, setbacks, site coverage, impermeability, building depth, and side door entrance to the extent necessary to allow such enhanced accessibility; or

(h)for Low Operational Cost Housing containing 6 or more dwelling units, except that permitted floor area or density of units may not be increased or relaxed above the maximum permitted within the district schedule under this Bylaw, and may be granted by the Director after consideration of all Council adopted policies and guidelines. This subsection (h) does not apply to Comprehensive Development zones, and shall not apply to applications made after December 31, 2025.

While the proposed deletion highlighted above is only a few words, it has a major impact on how this zoning change would be applied city-wide. Please do not approve this major change and instead refer it back to staff for public consultation with more consideration given to how it would impact various zones.

Larry Benge, Dorothy Barkeley