Letter to Public Hearing (23-July-2020): Opposed to amendments to Zoning and Development By-law (C-2, C-2B, C-2C, C-2C1 Commercial Districts)

July 22, 2020
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Public Hearing – Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law to Increase Rental Housing in the C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 Commercial Districts
Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200723/phea20200723ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200623/documents/rr10.pdf

While the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports adding more rentals, we are opposed to the approval of the recommendations as currently proposed for the following reasons:

  • The City has not yet brought in needed protection for existing rentals in C2 zones as directed by Council in November 26, 2019 as follows: “THAT Council instruct staff to prepare a report for consideration for referral to public hearing to amend the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to extend rental replacement requirements to C-2, C-2C, C-2B and C-2B-1 zoning districts city-wide.”;
  • The proposed amendments to the outright provisions for strata properties will inflate land values, which will increase property taxes for small businesses;
  • There has been no notification of residents and owners living in these areas; and
  • There has been no neighbourhood-based planning process to consider context.

We therefore request that Council refer this report back to staff for more work on neighbourhood-based planning and public consultation, and to report back to Council with amendments to address the concerns raised by the public, after the Rental Housing Stock ODP has been amended as previously directed by Council on November 26, 2019, as quoted above.

Specifically, the proposed rezoning amendments have three components:

  1. Introduce incentives for rental housing by allowing 6-storey market rental development as part of the zoning for local shopping streets
  2. Create ‘rental only’ zoning as part of the city’s zoning by-law to allow the 6-storey developments to be for rental only
  3.  Make other changes to the C zoning by-laws and Design Guidelines for both rental and regular residential development

While #1 and #2 raise concerns as identified above, we are particularly concerned about #3. The considered changes are problematic for the proposed amendments for the outright provisions of the by-laws for strata. The main changes are related to increased height and decreased setbacks, which allows a bigger envelope for more density to be built out, and all of this has broader impacts on the surrounding area.

These are some of the concerns raised by member organizations and we are sure that each neighbourhood will have additional concerns based on their specific context.

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