Author Archives: Coalition R

CVN letter to Council (for Oct 5): (opposed) Streamlining Rental around Local Shopping Areas (C-2, C-2B, C-2C, C-2C1 Zones) + New Rental Zones in Low Density Areas

Oct. 4, 2021

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

 Re: Referral Report – Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas – Amendments to the C-2, C-2B, C-2C and C-2C1 Zones and Creation of New Rental Zones for Use in Future Rezoning Applications in Surrounding Low Density Areas Under the Secured Rental Policy

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/spec20211005ag.htm

Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/documents/spec1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly opposed to the referral of this report to public hearing as proposed.

This 348 page report combines two very different types of rezonings that should be separated into two separate reports and public hearings rather than combining them into one as proposed.

The area rezoning of the commercial C2 zones is a specific change to the zoning schedules. This deserves its own report that clearly lays out this proposal for both Council and the public to consider.

The creation of the new rental zones as “off-the-shelf” future  spot rezonings is an entirely new type of zoning that affects RS, RT and RM zones arbitrarily across the city. This is very confusing even for people with planning background, far less the general public. Most people who are affected have no idea this is happening or what it is. There have been no notices provided to these areas during the consultation process to advise those affected of changes to the proposals to allow for their feedback to inform the report.

What little public consultation was done on these two types of rezonings, was done separately so it should follow that the public hearings and reports are also separate.

There has been no neighbourhood-based context considered for either of these proposals. Nor has the Vancouver Plan completed the consultation process or the recalibration of the housing targets based on data that has yet to be provided. This should be all done in advance to inform any proposals and prior to considering referral for such sweeping changes to zoning.

It is completely against every planning principle to be referring this report to public hearing before the larger issues regarding the Vancouver Plan have been addressed, and without neighbourhood-based planning completed. To refer this report now is making assumptions and setting precedents that limit future options in advance of this process.

These proposals are also in conflict with the Interim Rezoning Policy for Kitsilano and West Point Grey that requires a “collaborative neighbourhood-based process” which has not, as yet, taken place. Additionally, the IRP restricts rezoning to projects already approved to proceed, and to future collaborative neighbourhood-based processes that focus on rental-only zoning along Broadway and West 10th Avenue. The other area covered by Interim Rezoning Policy east of Vine for the Broadway Plan is exempt from the proposed C2 changes.

A Change.org Petition: Our Communities Our Plans, is opposed to these arbitrary rezoning policies and is currently over 3,500 signatureshttps://www.change.org/p/city-of-vancouver-council-officials-our-communities-our-plans-99961c91-4a17-497d-86c8-b385b3c0f315

During previous discussions with staff, the public was told that unprotected buildings listed on the heritage inventory would be exempt from these spot rental rezonings as had been in earlier drafts of the proposals. But here in this report, listed unprotected heritage buildings are explicitly included as eligible for rezoning, that is a further incentive for demolition and undermines retention incentives.

We also note that the Climate Emergency Action Plan proposal is to eliminate onsite parking requirements for new development, that offloads those costs and impacts onto the surrounding area. This would affect these rental rezoning proposals.

The related Climate Emergency Parking Program is a City cash-grab that takes advantage of the removal of onsite parking minimums in new development by implementing city-wide pay parking permits, making the city yet more unaffordable and unlivable for the residents. If these changes are implemented as proposed, it would further add increased parking pressure in the surrounding areas where these rental rezonings would occur.  These parking issues should be resolved before referral of this report so those issues can also be considered and addressed in the rezoning reports.

Please refer this report back to staff  to allow for more basic planning work and community consultation, which should be done prior to finalizing proposals for rezoning. Also to direct staff to divide this report into two separate reports and public hearings: one for the  area rezoning of the commercial C2 zones; and the other for the creation of new rental zones for future spot rezonings under Secured Rental Policy.

 Thank you,
Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

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CVN letter to Council (for October 5): Climate Emergency Parking Program (opposed)

Oct. 4, 2021

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Climate Emergency Parking Program

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/spec20211005ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20211005/documents/spec5.pdf

While the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) recognizes that the climate emergency needs to be urgently addressed, CVN is concerned that this Parking Program will not address the climate emergency as proposed. The Parking Program to implement citywide pay parking permits, is a greenwashed City of Vancouver fee-based cash-grab that makes life yet more unaffordable and unlivable for residents. Therefore CVN is strongly opposed to the report recommendations as proposed.

Further, the related Climate Emergency Action Plan proposal to eliminate parking minimums for new development is a giveaway to the development industry while offloading those costs onto the residents and businesses in the surrounding areas. The Parking Program for citywide pay parking permits is a City fee-based cash-grab taking advantage of these offloaded costs and impacts from developers onto the residents surrounding new development. The proposed citywide rental rezoning proposals will exacerbate these impacts.

This will have negative impacts on:
– Seniors, people with disabilities, and families with small children would be less likely to find parking in front of their residence when the area is flooded with vehicles from new development without onsite parking minimums.
– Pay parking unfairly impacts renters who are less likely to have a garage to park in.
– Lower income people will be more impacted since it adds a larger percent to their cost of living.
– While the annual parking permit fees may be relatively low to start, this will escalate quickly. We understand that the West End Parking Permits started at $40 annually and are now $400.
– The transition to electric vehicles will be less viable because there is little to no onsite parking in new development for vehicles to charge.

We also are concerned that the report has misrepresented the feedback from the public. Clearly 80% of the almost 19,000 responses to the city’s survey are opposed to this pay permit parking citywide. It is disingenuous for the city to create selective additional surveys designed for a different predetermined outcome to support the initiative when there is in fact demonstrated to be overwhelming public opposition.

We request that the report recommendations not be approved, and instead, also reconsider the proposed actions to eliminate onsite parking minimums in new development.

Thank you,

Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

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CVN letter to Council (for July 21): Vancouver Plan Update-Quick Starts

July 19, 2021

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Vancouver Plan Update and Quick Starts

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210721/cfsc20210721ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210721/documents/cfsc1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly opposed to the recommendations in this report.  Please refer this report back to staff  to allow for more basic planning work and community consultation which should be done prior to any consideration of Quick Start actions.

The data that Council directed staff to provide has yet to be received and the recalibration of the Housing Vancouver targets have yet to be done.

Further there has been no real neighbourhood-based planning or meaningful consultation with residents. Consultation has emphasized special interest groups so far and avoided most of the population of Vancouver. The city’s consultation process continues to be extremely flawed that is designed for a predetermined outcome.

We are opposed to the following Quick Starts:

1. Streamlining Rental Rezoning Initiative – It is premature to consider this proposed rezoning as a quick start before the end of the City’s survey (July 27). The survey results should be available for Council consideration prior to deciding if this should be a quick start.

A Change.org Petition: Our Communities Our Plans, is opposed to these arbitrary rezoning policies and is currently over 3000 signatures.  https://www.change.org/p/city-of-vancouver-council-officials-our-communities-our-plans-99961c91-4a17-497d-86c8-b385b3c0f315

In addition to our point that no neighbourhood-based planning or meaningful consultation has been conducted, the thousands of individual properties that are affected by the proposed rezoning have not been notified. Most are not aware of this initiative.

2. Downtown Eastside Policy Updates to Increase Social Housing Initiative – This would put more development pressure and land speculation on Chinatown, Strathcona and Gastown for 10 storey and higher towers in the heritage districts, and would undermines their heritage character.

3. Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP) – The proposed amendments would allow bigger towers and have even lower affordability requirements compared to what are already mostly market units under MIRHPP. This program should be cancelled not expanded.

These staff recommendations are premature. Please do not approve the recommendations, and instead, refer this report back to staff  for more planning and consultation work which needs to be done prior to Council consideration of Quick Start actions.

Thank you,

Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for July 7): OPPOSED – Policy Enquiry Process: Approach and Criteria – Policy to Ignore Policy

July 6, 2021
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Policy Enquiry Process: Approach and Criteria – Policy to Ignore Policy

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210707/pspc20210707ag.htm

Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210707/documents/pspc1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly opposed to this proposed policy change.

It suggests allowing spot rezoning proposals to go forward for consideration even if they do not conform to any policy that would allow it. This would undermine all community plans and planning processes so as to make zoning and planning policy meaningless.

While this may benefit the development industry, it would undermine the public interest.

It would make more work for staff, Council and the public to deal with projects that should not be going forward at all.

Please do not approve this report recommendations.

Thank you,

Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for July 6): OPPOSED – Regulation Redesign –Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments

July 6, 2021
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors, 

Re: Public Hearing – Regulation Redesign –Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210706/phea20210706ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210706/documents/phea4report.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is concerned about so many different unrelated issues being combined under one report as an omnibus.  Changes to height regulations are complex and would have impacts on the form of development so should be in a report on its own.

Please do not approve this report and instead send this report back to staff to prepare a separate report for the changes to height regulations so that it goes into more detail as to how the changes will affect the size of buildings in various zones.

Further, please give more explanation in the report recommendations for RM8 zones regarding infill.

Please do not combine unrelated items into one report that would change the form of development.

Each item that proposes changes to form or use need separate reports and more explanation on what these changes mean, with consultation of affected neighbourhoods.

Thank you,
Steering Committee,
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for July 6): OPPOSED – CD-1 Rezoning: 1405 East 15th Avenue and 3047-3071 Maddams Street

July 6, 2021
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors, 

Re: CD-1 Rezoning: 1405 East 15th Avenue and 3047-3071 Maddams Street, 

Public Hearing July 6, 2021

Agenda:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20210706/phea20210706ag.htm
Report:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20210706/documents/phea6report.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) concurs with the concerns raised by our member group Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) in their opposition to this project. Count this letter as opposed.

As noted by CCAN, the project doesn’t conform to the policies under which it is being proposed.

* This project is not on an arterial. There is a lane and City easement between this proposal and the arterial.  All development over the easement is disallowed since 1963 in perpetuity. The easement document from Land Title shows this.

The block faces for this project are on East 15th Avenue and Maddams Street, NOT the arterial.  The City says that if a lot faces off an arterial, within100 m from an arterial, then it can only at most be built to 4 storeys.

* The City’s policy states that only two projects can be built within 10 blocks of each other on ANY arterial to maintain neighbourhood character and this project will make three.

Please refer to the CCAN letter for more information. Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for June 8): RR1-1 – Regulation Redesign –Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments

June 6, 2021
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: RR1-1 – Regulation Redesign –Simplifying Height Regulations and Miscellaneous Amendments

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210608/regu20210608ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210608/documents/rr1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is concerned about so many different unrelated issues being combined under one report as an omnibus.  Changes to height regulations are complex and would have impacts on the form of development so should be in a report on its own.

Please send this report back to staff to prepare a separate report for the changes to height regulations so that it goes into more detail as to how the changes will affect the size of buildings in various zones.

Further, please give more explanation in the report recommendations for RM8 zones regarding infill.

Please do not combine unrelated items into one report that would change the form of development.

Each item that proposes changes to form or use need separate reports and more explanation on what these changes mean, with consultation of affected neighbourhoods.

Thank you,
Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for June 8): OPPOSED to A, B, C on Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task, comments on D

June 6, 2021
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force – First Bi-Monthly Update – Revising Design Guidelines, Tree Protection Bylaw, Zero Emission Buildings Delay

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210608/regu20210608ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210608/documents/p1.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is concerned about so many different unrelated issues being combined under one report as an omnibus.  This makes it much harder to address each issue and the title of the report does not clearly reflect the content.

Reduced Approval Times Generally – The goal to reduce development and permitting approval times is essential. However, this should be done by making the process more efficient as a priority, not by reducing the City’s oversight for quality of design and finished product.

Recommendation A – To not enforce design guidelines in RS-3 and RS-3A, RS-5, RT-3, RT-6, RT-7, RT-8, RT-9 and RT-10 Zoning Districts. Strongly Opposed

* The conditional aspects of the zoning are central to their intent and should not be weakened for expediency.  Staff should streamline the approval process to reduce time without reducing the quality of design that is focused on character and heritage house retention and neighbourhood character. Quality of exterior finishes and windows, including placement for privacy, are an important part of this.

* The proposal would eliminate all landscape review in these zones so that would mean that there would be no requirement for new developments to plant trees or to place planting for privacy screening. This will seriously affect our urban forest over the long term. In one year there can be a lot of damage done. Irrigation systems should be mandatory so that landscaping survives.

* The intent of this pilot appears to be to make these changes permanent. If any temporary changes are approved, they should automatically reverse back after the 12 months.

Recommendation B & C – To amend the Tree Protection Bylaw requirements by redefining the size of trees that would be protected from over 20 cm (8 inches) diameter to over 30 cm (12 inches) while eliminating arborist reports. This would result in a reduction of the number of saved trees. This is proposed as a permanent change to the Bylaw.

* Better to ensure timely review process rather than eliminate review requirements.

* How will the city verify the actual size of trees removed without confirmation by an arborist?

* Will there still be replacement trees required when there is no third party to confirm existing?

* Much of the urban forest is on private property and many trees are at the rear of properties. Allowing trees removed for garages would mean a loss of many of the city’s biggest trees.

* Trees are a major way to mitigate climate change and also reduce run-off into our sewer system.

* Where some flexibility is required for problem trees, there needs to be checks and balances to ensure that the urban forest is retained intact.

Recommendation D – To delay by 12 months the implementation of amendments to the Building By-law, as set out in sections 19 through 42 of By-law No. 12692, relating to mandatory zero emission building construction guidelines for all new homes. While the delay for new homes is questionable given the large amount of new development in the pipeline, there does need to be a delay in how this would affect renovations to existing character and heritage buildings.

On April 29, 2020 Council directed staff to work with stakeholders to update the Bulletin 2014-007 “Conservation of Heritage Buildings and Compliance with Vancouver’s Building By-Law”, to ensure that there is flexibility in the requirements, for modest renovations and additions for heritage and character homes that achieve retention goals, enabling approaches that are compatible with a historic building. Developments and Permits staff have not been available to work on this and need more time.

Staff report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200429/documents/pspc3.pdf
Minutes:  https://council.vancouver.ca/20200429/documents/pspc20200429min_000.pdf

So if this Recommendation D is not passed, there needs to be a delay in the application of zero emission building construction guidelines to heritage and character buildings in the Bulletin 2014-007 until staff can provide more detailed work on the Bulletin for zero emissions as directed by council on April 29, 2020. 

Please do not approve Recommendations A, B and C. Please also consider our comments on D above.

In future, please do not combine unrelated items into one report.

Thank you,

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading

CVN letter to Council (for May 18): OPPOSED to Motion for increases up to 12 storeys for ‘social housing’ in RM-3A, RM-4 and other Zoning Districts City-wide

May 16, 2021

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Motion-Increases up to 12 storeys Social Housing in the RM-3A, RM-4 and other Zoning Districts City-wide

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210518/regu20210518ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210518/documents/b2.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this motion for many reasons.

A summary of the main reasons for opposing this motion are:

* The scale of the proposed buildings are too big at 400% of the outright height and FSR with major negative impacts on existing rentals, land inflation, demoviction and displacement;

* Staff need to provide the data as directed by Council motion in May 2020 to inform the planning for how much social housing is actually needed;

* The city’s definition of “social housing” currently allows 70% of the units at market rent but counts it as 100% social housing when it is mostly market rents. This needs reconsideration and clarification in the near future, as previously considered at Council (see Councillor Fry’s earlier Motion)

* It is undemocratic to allow major increases in height and density without public hearing and undermines community plans.

Social housing with appropriate locations, supports and amenities could be provided in every neighbourhood if the scale, form and context of each neighbourhood were properly considered. This motion doesn’t do this as the proposed scale and form would have major negative consequences for the affected communities without requiring project rezoning public hearings.

Some of the many concerns are as follows:

* The huge increase in scale of up to 400% of that allowed by current outright zoning would increase land lift for the subject property and all of the area around the site. RM-3A and RM4 would go from 3-4 storeys at 1.45 FSR to 12-13 storeys (including exempted top floor amenities) with 6 FSR.

* Staff suggested that with the six storey height limit, the new social housing was only feasible if the land were acquired at no cost, ie already a social housing site. So the new social housing would be at the expense of existing social housing but the number of sites was limited in number. With the increase to 12 storeys, it may well be that redevelopment would be possible with land purchase. This would put many more existing affordable rental units at risk of demolition.

* Going from wood frame construction to concrete would increase costs, rents, embodied GHG emissions and demolition waste in the landfill.

* Regardless of tenure, the physical scale and form would be used as a precedent for future spot rezonings, including market rentals and strata.

* This will increase development pressure, increase rental inflation, gentrification, demovictions, and displacements for existing older more affordable rental buildings. Existing rents in older buildings tend to be much lower than new rentals, sometimes even lower than typical subsidized social housing rents, while existing older units are also generally larger. Most of the city’s existing affordable rental apartment buildings are in RM zones.

* The City defines social housing projects as only requiring 30% of the units subsidized below HILs rates and the other 70% of the units could be market rentals, while 100% of the units are counted as social housing. This motion fails to clarify this important point. While it is true that further subsidies may be granted from other levels of government, there is no guarantee or requirement for this as part of the approval process and is subject to qualification and availability of future programs.

* This motion doesn’t even require a greater level of affordability. All increases in height and density should meet the affordability requirements from BC Housing (20%deep subsidy, 50% moderate subsidy, 30% some subsidy ) rather than the Vancouver Zoning and Development By-law.

* Large increases to height and density in RS, RT, and C zones citywide would have the same effects of inflating land values, increased rents and displacement as described above. Possibly even more so.

* Secondary suites are an important part of the existing affordable rental stock. Large increases in building scales for new social housing, of which 70% of the units could be market rents, will lead to displacement, gentrification and demolition of character buildings.

* Large increases to height, FSR and form without a rezoning public hearing is undemocratic and undermines security that zoning is intended to provide.

* It also undermines neighbourhood character and liveability by allowing much bigger buildings that block views, overshadow yards and buildings for gardens and potential solar panels.

* This motion undermines neighbourhood based planning and pre-empts the outcomes of the Vancouver Plan and the Broadway Plan. Any allowance for buildings of this size, with its effects on a neighbourhood, should be considered through a neighbourhood-based public consultation process. Given that the Vancouver Plan is already looking at planning options, including for social housing, it would seem that this motion is out of order.

* This motion is in conflict with existing Community Plans, including the most recent in Grandview Woodland.

Please do not approve this proposed motion.

Thank you,
Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

 Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

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CVN letter to Council (for Apr-15): OPPOSED to Amendments in RM-4 and RM-3A Zoning Districts

April 14, 2021
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Public Hearing Item 4. Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law to Increase Social Housing in the RM-4 and RM-3A Zoning Districts

Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210415/phea20210415ag1.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20210309/documents/rr6.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to the recommendations in this report to rezone RM3 and RM4 to allow outright 6 storey rental projects without a public hearing.

While purportedly only for social housing projects, the City defines social housing as only requiring 30% of the units to be subsidized, while 70% can be market priced, but all is counted as 100% social housing.

This could lead to these mostly market rental projects putting increased development pressure on older affordable rental buildings, many of which have lower rents than the new “social housing” that would replace it. This will lead to displacement, gentrification and demolition of character buildings.

It also undermines neighbourhood character and liveability by allowing much bigger buildings that block views, overshadow yards and buildings for gardens and potential solar panels.

The rezoning is in conflict with community plans, including the most recent in Grandview Woodland.

Please do not approve this rezoning as proposed.

Thank you,
Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods Continue reading