Letter to Council (16-Sep-2020): Opposed to Motion B3 – “Missing Middle” Housing Pilots

September 15, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Motion B3 –  “Missing Middle” Housing Pilots  
Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200916/cfsc20200916ag.htm
Motion: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200916/documents/cfsc3.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) agrees with the aim of this motion to provide more affordable, innovative housing options. However, CVN continues to oppose this motion, including the Mayor’s reported amendment, based on concerns that this proposed motion will not accomplish the intended goals.

Achieving the stated goal through citywide spot rezoning would contradict the intent of developing a neighbourhood-based citywide plan and could potentially produce unintended consequences leading to the development of more intensive high-end market housing that inflates land values in the areas affected.

Additionally, this would increase speculation and demolition of older, more affordable housing, causing displacement while also undermining the few character house retention incentives currently existing in zoning and City policy. The RT zones in particular have a lot of missing middle character housing already that would be put at risk of demolition.

This displacement, demolition and land inflation would also apply to the Mayor’s proposal. It would significantly increase FSR and the number of strata ownership units with only minor affordability measures, and no requirements for retention of character houses.

Neighbourhood-based planning processes integrated into a citywide plan will deliver substantially better results. There are many options that could be put into place as quick starts once identified through the planning process.

We would be prepared to work with the City on identifying other options that could be put in place to increase affordable housing options.  Any of these approaches should recognize the unique characteristics and needs of each neighbourhood so as to best adapt any actions to that neighbourhood, thus following the intent of zoning by-laws and local community visions and plans.

Seeking truly effective solutions to the need for affordable housing, we oppose this motion.

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

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Joyce Area Residents
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association