CVN letter to Council (Feb 11): 3084 West 4th Ave and 2010 Balaclava St (Public Hearing)

February 10, 2020

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors, 

Re: Public Hearing Item 3. CD-1 Rezoning: 3084 West 4th Avenue and 2010 Balaclava Street



The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) joins the local community and West Kits Residents Association members in opposition to this rezoning proposal.

The proposed building does not conform to MIRHPP policies because:

* there are presently more than 3 rental units already on the site;
* it does not transition to neighbouring residential properties
* it does not fit into the context of the area.

More specifically:

1. A sixth floor is not supportable in view of surrounding scale of development

2. Insufficient rear yard (only 6 feet after balconies) so that the six storey building will overshadow gardens in the Santa Barbara next door in late summer afternoons when people want to sit outside. The 6-foot rear yard means that suggestions for trees and urban agriculture are unrealistic.

3. Balconies that protrude a full six feet rather than being inset into the building decrease the perceived depth of the rear yard , directly affecting neighbouring house overlook

4. Insufficient stepback on the top floor of only 4 feet which results in unusable private space for top floor units.

What we would prefer to see, in support of the work already undertaken by members of the neighbourhood, with Scot Hein, well-known urban designer, and the Owners, is to use this opportunity to build a collaborative process with the developer and owners of the site in order to create a secured rental project that fits into the area, helps meet the City wide goals of more rental housing, meets the financial viability test for the owners, and shows how alternate innovative designs can be used to provide rental housing in a project that will garner neighbourhood  support.

This option will also:

* use a more favourable building typology which

–              provides family oriented townhouses over a number of apartments in a more efficient building form

–               provides more efficient design, as there is almost no unusable space since each unit would have its own entrance, and resulting in almost the same amount of livable floor area being provided in a three and a half storey, 2.1 FSR building

–               would result in a much more Covid-friendly design without requiring shared elevators and stairwells and also uses less concrete and has a lower carbon footprint.

* This alternate design also means that the resulting family oriented units will actually be livable over the longer term for a family unlike the tiny two bedroom units being provided. We note that the so-called family units are mostly less than 600 square feet and only one is over 700 square feet (721 Sq.ft.)

We all have learned through the earlier 1805 Larch St. development permit process, that Council and the public should not rely on the development permit process to deal with the problems inherent in a proposal. And, we do not think that Councilors and the public should be trying to redesign a building in the midst of a Public Hearing. We have also learned that suggestions for further ‘consideration’ of possible improvements does not mean that this will happen.

These buildings, these proposals are not temporary things in our environment. They are going to last in our neighbourhoods for our lifetimes, and beyond. We should treat them as such, with due care and attention.

We strongly oppose this proposal.

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
Residents Association of Mount Pleasant
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