(Update 8 pm Oct 17 — The briefing was held, many attended, and CityHallWatch will issue a report soon. Please check back for updates.) An observant individual noticed a bulletin entitled “Process for Implementing Iterim Rezoning Policy on Increasing Affordable Housing Choices Across Vancouver’s Neighbourhoods”) posted in an obscure place on the City of Vancouver website (download from CityHallWatch - CoV Bylaw admin bulletin, interim rezoning policy, 4-Oct-2012, i002). The gist of the bulletin that starting already on October 4, the City would consider rezoning proposals, and that information session for parties interested in applying for a rezoning under the yet-to-be written(?) “Interim Rezoning Policy” will be held as follows:
Info Session for Rezonings under Iterim Rezoning Policy
October 17, 2012, noon – 2 pm
City Hall Main Building, Town Hall room
“Staff will be on hand to discuss the interim rezoning policy in more detail and answer questions.”
CityHallWatch offer some questions the public may wish to ask Mayor Gregor Robertson. In a separate post we will offer a few observations regarding Mayor Robertson and the Vision Vancouver Councillors’ (other Councillors voted clearly against this item) actions and plans to reject public consultation and immediately introduce and “interim rezoning policy” to accept proposals up to 3.5 storeys 100 meters from arterial streets, and up to 6 storeys within 500 meters of “neighbourhood centres” and “shopping areas”:
- Due process: Are Mayor Robertson and Vision Councillors violating proper public processes? Municipal lawyer Jonathan Baker has written that … “adopting the policy might offend a few principles of Municipal Law. Zoning can only be done by bylaws and not by resolutions or policies of Council. (The proper method is to hold a public hearing and adopt an Official Development Plan.) The legal issue will be whether, by adapting a policy to rezone in advance of an application to rezone, the Council has evaded statutory requirements.”
- Respect for affected citizens and neighbourhoods: When will the “Interim Rezoning Policy” actually be presented to Council? When will the public have chance to review and comment on it? Is it really appropriate for City Hall to be accepting rezoning proposals for the Interim Rezoning Policy even before it is written, adopted, and made public? Are the Mayor and Vision Councillors functioning in a way that enhances public trust in City Hall?
- Public hearings on interim rezoning policy and actual rezonings: Will Mayor Robertson and the Vision Councillors at least give the public a chance for a public hearing be held on the Interim Rezoning Policy before it can be adopted by Council? Will citizens also have the opportunity to speak at a public hearing on each individual rezoning proposal that comers forward under the “Interim Rezoning Policy”?
- Transparency and fairness: City Hall is giving speculators and prospective developers a briefing about the Interim Rezoning Policy on October 17. The citizens and neighbourhoods of Vancouver also deserve a full briefing. Mayor Robertson, to be fair to Vancouver citizens, when will you arrange a public briefing on the Interim Rezoning Policy– with adequate advance notice, and adequate time for open questions?
For independent analysis of what is going on with the Mayor’s Task Force and its recommendations, and specific issues like the Interim Rezoning Policy affecting “arterial streets” (rezonings up to 3.5 storeys) “neighbourhood centres” and “shopping areas” (up to 6 storeys withing 500 meters), please attend our public forum on October 20.
Forum: “The Future of Vancouver” Community Issues Forum
When: Saturday, October 20, 2012, 3-5 pm
Where: St. Patrick Parish Hall, 2881 Main Street (between 12th & 13th Avenue, Main Street Bus #3 or free parking lot off 13th)