CVN letter to Council (for 17-Jan-2023): Rental Rezoning Policies for RR spot rezonings citywide & referrals to public hearing

January 13, 2023

City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Ken Sim and Councillors,

Re: Rental Rezoning Policies for RR spot rezonings citywide & referrals to public hearing 2023-01-17

Council Agenda:
Council Reports:
6. Rezoning: 1977 West 41st Avenue and 5688 Maple Street
Rezoning of RS3A to the new Rental Rezoning RR3A off-the-shelf rezoning.

7. Rezoning: 807-847 East 33rd Avenue
Rezoning of RS1 to new Rental Rezoning RR2B off-the-shelf rezoning.

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports increasing rental housing in every neighbourhood. However, CVN is opposed to the existing Rental Rezoning Policies from the previous Council and the proposed referral to public hearing of the first RR spot rezonings under these policies 2023-01-17.

We therefore request that you do not refer the RR rezonings to public hearing and instead reconsider how rental housing is planned using a neighbourhood-based process through the Vancouver Plan.

Change of approach needed: Last fall’s civic election sent a clear message that the public wants a change in direction from the previous council. The ABC majority indicated during the election that arbitrary citywide spot rezonings for 6 to 12 storeys would be reconsidered within a neighbourhood-based context through the Vancouver Plan implementation. Yet, these policies remain in place and spot rezonings for RR zoning like the two above are still coming forward for referral to public hearing, in advance of this promised reconsideration.

This letter is to update you on the petition, Our Communities Our Plans, which is opposed to these arbitrary rezoning policies and now has over 4880 signatures.

Neighbourhood-based planning needed: Every neighbourhood can and should be planned within its local context with a meaningful public consultation process.  Many neighbourhoods already have community plans that should be considered.  Rental housing should be incorporated within the scale and context of each neighbourhood’s plan, and such housing should be spread equitably across the city.

Lack of planning and resources for amenities and infrastructure for growth: Of particular concern is the lack of neighbourhood-based planning so that adequate amenities and infrastructure are provided for any approved growth.  These rental projects are exempt from all Development Cost Levies (DCLs) and Community Amenity Contributions (CACs), so therefore it is even more critical that planning includes the resources for schools, health care, daycare, community facilities, amenities and infrastructure in every neighbourhood. Many neighbourhoods are already underserved.

Effects on affordability through speculation and land inflation: Large arbitrary spot rezonings of from 6 to 12 storeys set precedents in lower density areas that inflate land values and put development pressure on the surrounding area. This undermines net affordability if the older more affordable housing is inflated, so strategic development within the local context is vitally important.

Lack of proper approval process: These RR rezonings do not consider the actual form of development for their particular lots and are not consistent with the intent of public hearings. The city needs to move away from so many spot rezonings. Historically, spot rezonings were used only in special circumstances, not as  a means of planning the city as a whole, as is being done under current practices.

Further, the so-called “public consultation” is not clearly disclosed in the reports to show the actual numbers of those who support or oppose a project.

Lack of data for planning: City Council and the public continue to lack the much-needed data to determine how many units are actually required for anticipated growth in our communities. Current rental policies will result in the loss of existing affordable housing, especially in targeted RS, RT, and RM zones.

The current Rental Rezoning Policies should be put on hold: Please do not approve the referral of these RR projects to public hearing. Instead work with the neighbourhoods to reconsider the Vancouver Plan by working  through neighbourhood-based planning that involves the community in determining how growth and affordable rental housing can be accommodated in every neighbourhood within the local context, and with the required amenities and services.

For your reference, please see the previous CVN letters on related topics:

Rental Policies Referral Report: Oct. 2021

Rental Policies Public Hearing: Nov. 2021

Vancouver Plan: July 5, 2022

Steering Committee,
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
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
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association 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
West Southland Residents Association