Letter to Council (for June 23): Opposed to ‘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’

June 22, 2020

City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re:  Referral to Public Hearing –10. 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

June 23 Council Agenda: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200623/regu20200623ag.htm
Report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200623/documents/rr10.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is opposed to this controversial rezoning amendments going forward as proposed. The process used to bring this proposal forward to Council was flawed, and it is not appropriate to refer controversial rezoning amendments such as this to Public Hearing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the many concerns we have with the current proposal are as follows:

  • At the November 26, 2019 City Council meeting, Council gave direction to staff to protect existing rentals by bringing forward a report to consider “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. There are many existing rental units in the C2 zones that should be protected by this policy amendment first.
  • This proposal is 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 The other area covered by Interim Rezoning Policy east of Vine for the Broadway Plan is exempt from the proposed C2 changes.
  • No neighbourhood-based context has been considered.
  • There are two parts to the proposed rezoning:
    • The proposal increases outright development for strata by:
      • raising the height of the commercial level that also increases the views of the residential above, increasing both value of units and land,
      • decreases or eliminates setbacks, front and back, that allows more FSR to be landed than would be allowed under current zoning.
    • It adds conditional rental development with relaxations to heights of 72ft. and six-storey without any differentiation between major and minor arterials or consideration of neighbourhood context.
  • No notification has been given to affected or adjacent properties for advanced consultation prior to referral.
  • It increases development pressure, land values and property taxes for small businesses, which undermines those businesses that were already struggling even before COVID.
  • It implements a citywide, complex and controversial rezoning proposal in July in a pandemic with audio only (Council and speakers) in a virtual public hearing.

CVN opposes this referral to Public Hearing and we request that instead the report be referred back to staff for more work and revisions to address the concerns we have raised and to engage in further public consultation.

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair

On behalf of the 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
Norquay Residents
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Association
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association