Council motion to rezone North West Point Grey for 6-storey rental/ student/ seniors’ buildings (Tues 12-Dec): Clr Hector Bremner

North West Point Grey red circle Google Dec 2017

Image credit Google and Daily Hive

(Update: This motion was defeated by a referral to staff, with some Council members citing a process already underway across the city under the new Housing Vancouver Strategy. Some concerns were raised about an individual councillor attempting to set a precedent circumventing the regular consultation processes and going straight ahead to staff report and public hearing. Also of note, all four NPA councillors supported the proposed motion.)

NPA Councillor Hector Bremner has proposed a motion entitled “West Point Grey Rental Density for Students and Seniors” for Regular Council on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. No speakers signed up to speak, but Councillors have received correspondence for and against, so the motion will be discussed and handled today in Regular Council (if it gets seconded). Below are a short chronology and observations, the text of the motion, then excerpts from letters for (Abundant Housing Vancouver/AHV) and against (West Point Grey Residents Association/WPGRA, and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods/CVN).

Hector Bremner image from campaign site Oct 2017

NPA’s new councillor, Hector Bremner

Chronology (2017)

24-Sept: Abundant Housing Vancouver holds walking tour “Vancouver’s Worst Zoning
14-Oct: NPA Hector Bremner is elected to replace Councillor Geoff Meggs who had stepped down
29-Nov: City Council adopts the Housing Vancouver Strategy 2018-2027
12-Dec: Motion by Clr Bremner to rezone North West Point Grey

Observations

The main rationale of the motion appears to be that 6-storey buildings in this neighbourhood would be a smart and feasible way to create housing for “secured market rentals,” social housing, or seniors supportive or assisted housing. Any of these three options would justify regulatory relaxations.

As far as we can tell, no consideration has been given to:

  • economic viability (e.g., costs per buildable foot of land);
  • restrictions on developers and developments to ensure that any housing produced here would be affordable for typical renters, social housing, seniors, or assisted tenants (see why this is needed – Global TV story on $5400/month rentals);
  • the current context of development consultations and planning, such as the huge developments being considered for nearby Jericho Lands;
  • community consultation.

The motion calls for a staff report as soon as possible, “in order for Council to consider referring the matter to a public hearing.”

WPGRA says the motion should be deemed out of order and dismissed, and states that it is in contradiction with the Housing Vancouver Strategy in terms of consultation processes, points out that the Jericho Lands development falls inside WPG and will be going through a planning process and should be addressed first, and questions the proponents’ claim that it would produce affordable housing.

CVN challenges the motion’s “implied intent to impose a drastic change to the existing zoning without any neighbourhood consultation or involvement in the planning process,” and recommends that the community be meaningfully involved in collaboration with the City for any future planning of the neighbourhood.

AHV says the proposal would allow six-storey buildings on all residential land in NWPG, provided they are rental, social, or seniors’ housing. “Repealing mansion-only zoning is a small but important step towards solving Vancouver’s housing crisis.”

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TEXT OF MOTION Continue reading

VanSplash (Vancouver Aquatics Strategy) goes to Park Board for decision

Kitsilano Pool(Update: Speakers addressed Commissioners on Monday, December 11, and will continue on Tuesday, December 12.)

The long term strategy for Vancouver pools and aquatics goes to the Park Board tonight for a decision. Locals will be happy that the Byng and Templeton pools will be saved. For now. There are over 400 pages of documents. As of late afternoon, nearly 70 people had signed up to speak to Commissioners. Agenda is here (includes Livestream video link) and further below we copy the text of the main staff report, for posterity.

http://parkboardmeetings.vancouver.ca/2017/20171211/index.htm

December 1, 2017

TO: Park Board Chair and Commissioners
FROM: General Manager . Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
SUBJECT: VanSplash: Vancouver Aquatics Strategy

RECOMMENDATION
A. THAT the Vancouver Park Board approve VanSplash: Vancouver Aquatics Strategy, as outlined in this report and attached within Appendix A, to guide the planning of aquatic facilities in Vancouver;
B. THAT the Board endorse the 10-year Implementation Plan attached within Appendix A, as the basis for making submissions to the Cityfs 2019-2028 Capital Strategic Outlook and 2019-2022 Capital Plan processes; and C.
THAT the Board approve the location for a new outdoor pool in South Vancouver per either OPTION 1: Co-located at Killarney Community Centre in Killarney Park, or OPTION 2: Co-located at Marpole Community Centre in Oak Park. Continue reading

Council motion calls for “Reporting Data on Secondary Suites” (Tues 12-Dec): Clr Adriane Carr

Vancouver Councillor Adriane CarrGreen Councillor Adriane Carr has proposed a motion for Regular Council on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 as copied below.

Presuming administrative competence at the City of Vancouver, one would expect that the data she seeks already exists. If it exists but is not provided to the public, or even to City Council, one wonders’s why not. If it does not exist, one wonders about the competence of the government.

Data on secondary suites in Vancouver is important in order to understand the housing situation. The numbers used in her motion suggest that over 25,000 units are “unauthorized.” This means that if they come to the attention of the City, they would likely be shut down immediately. That would be permanent, unless the home owner is able to go through the cost and process of meeting City requirements. In a sense, if there are an average of two persons per secondary suite, that’s over 50,000 people living in precarious housing.

Clr Carr presented another motion on secondary suites in March 2017, and the City of Vancouver adopted the Housing Vancouver Strategy 2018-2027 in November, but secondary suites effectively were given low priority.  Continue reading

City of Vancouver development applications snapshot 1-Dec-2017

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

Our count for 1-Dec-2017 shows 34 “DE” applications and 142 “DP” applications (excluding 4 MMRU applications – Medical Marijuana-Related Use). Of the DE & DP numbers, 15 are “concurrent with rezoning.” The “Centerm Port Expansion Project” is still listed without a number. Three applications are “revised,” one is “on hold,” and 0 are “unscheduled from the Development Permit Board.” Some may have also had a change of address.

Anyone interested in these projects is also encouraged to periodically check the Urban Design Panel (UDP) and Development Permit Board (DPB) schedules, as many projects appear before them as part of the approval pipeline. Check often, as sometimes their agendas appear publicly online as little as one hour before the meeting.

Upcoming UDP meetings: December 13 (agenda not posted as of Dec 1). This is the last one of 2017.

Upcoming DPB dates in 2017: December 11 (agenda not posted as of Dec 1).

Download the official DPB list (as of Dec 1, the version online is dated 16-Nov-2017, with upcoming items as 239 Keefer St, DP-2017-00703, December 11, 2017; 33 W Cordova St (Blood Alley), DE419722, January 8, 2018; 1110 W Broadway, DP-2017-00933, January 8, 2018; 88 Pacific Blvd, DP-2017-00064, January 22, 2017):
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/current-development-applications-development-permit-board.pdf

Consider writing Mayor and Council asking them to make Development Applications archives available online. The City website provides a list of archived Rezoning Applications (here), so why not full information on past Development Applications too?

For current (at time of viewing) full list of applications online, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.
For our PDF version saved December 1, 2017:

For reference, download the full list of development applications we saved on this date:
CoV Development applications snapshot 1-Dec-2017

Continue reading

City of Vancouver rezoning applications snapshot 1-Dec-2017

As a free public service we take a monthly snapshot of the City of Vancouver’s Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website.

A  tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing handy maps of rezoning and development applications (toggle at bottom right):
https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/rezapps.html

Below is the snapshot of the rezoning applications as of December 1, 2017. Listed here are 68 “proposed” rezonings; 55 “approved”; 52 “enacted”; 6 “open houses”; 8 items “referred to public hearing”; 1 “withdrawn”; and 4 “updated.”

The open houses and public hearings deserve special attention. They are key chances for the public to obtain information and give feedback.

If you see any of the rezoning applications that deserve public scrutiny, please feel free to send us an e-mail (citizenYVR@gmail.com) with your concerns and we’ll see if we can look into it further. Or let the media know of your concern.

This list below is simply copied from the City’s Rezoning Centre website. Download anything important for you. For the current official list, click vancouver.ca/rezapps. Note that the Archives link carries links to past rezonings from 2011 onward (though we have a strong sense it is NOT up to date).

Download this list we saved in PDF format:
CoV Rezoning applications snapshot 1-Dec-2017

Continue reading

City of Vancouver $1.4 billion budget 2018. Open house today til 7 pm at City Hall. CFO presentation 6 pm

CoV 2018 operating budget exp and revIt’s 2018 budget time for the City of Vancouver. Below are key dates this month of December 2017, plus a bit of information about the budget, and then links to media coverage, and then text of a City media release.  On Twitter look for hashtag #VanBudget.

DATES

Dec 1 (Fri): Open house 4:30 – 7:30 p.m, City Hall, Main Floor, Town Hall Room 110, 453 W 12th Ave. NOTE: Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Patrice Impey will be presenting at 6pm.

Dec 6 (Wed) Special Council Meeting on 2018 Capital and Operating Budget. 9:30 am: Presentations by staff, discussion by Council. Speakers can address Council. See agenda, documents, instructions to write or speak to Council here.
http://council.vancouver.ca/20171206/spec20171206ag.htm

Dec 12 (Tue) Regular Council meeting, 9:30 am. Council is expected to vote on the budget at this meeting.

THE BASICS

The City of Vancouver’s proposed budgets for 2018 are as follows: $1.405 billion CoV logo for budget 2018operating budget, and $426.4 million capital budget. Added up, this comes to $1.831 billion. property tax increase of 3.9 per cent is proposed. The biggest portion of that increase – 3.3 per cent – “is driven by costs to maintain City services and service levels (i.e. fixed costs such as wages, energy, rent, maintenance and other third-party costs).” According to the City, these additional costs have been “partially offset by internal cost savings (without service impacts), new fees and increased revenue from some existing fees.”

Household impact: The proposed 3.9 per cent property tax increase amounts to an extra $87 per year per median single family home (assessed at $1.823 million), and $29 per median strata unit (assessed at $609,000).

Critics have pointed out that the City’s budgets are difficult to analyze, as the line items are not provided. Even Councillors have complained that they do not receive enough detailed information about the budget.

 

MEDIA Continue reading

Open letter to City Council on Vancouver’s proposed new 10 year Housing Strategy: Don Gardner

City HallPreamble: This week Vancouver City Council is considering a major new set of policies under the Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018 – 2027) and 3-Year Action Plan (2018 – 2020) (meeting agenda and documents). Speakers are addressing Council today.

Long-time Vancouverite Don Gardner wrote his comments to City Council, and shared a copy with CityHallWatch. He makes many valid points after a long and careful read of the nearly 300 pages in the report to Council on November 28, which motivated us to share his letter more broadly in its entirety, and with his permission. Others may wish to follow up with City staff and council on some of the points raised.

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Letter to Vancouver Mayor and Council, 29-Nov-2017

Today you are setting out a 10 year plan to “hopefully” solve a constantly changing problem influenced by many many factors outside of your control. You are also to a large extent relying once again on the same industry that has mislead you in the past into formulating policies that has made affordability worse not better.

I like many others, who care about their communities and affordability, not just ones pocket book, have stood before you at public hearing after public hearing on community plans and rezoning trying without success to get you to listen that supply supply supply is not the wholly grail. But you have repeatedly rejected the collective knowledge and caring of the community for what one could consider as the self-serving propaganda of the development and real-estate industries Continue reading