Heads up: Special Council meeting July 31 to change start time of Sept 18 public hearing

CoV Council meeting schedule as of 30-Jul-2018

With no further explanation for its rationale, a Special Council meeting for July 31 suddenly appeared on the City of Vancouver web page showing the schedule of upcoming meetings. There is just one item on the agenda, to move the start time of the Sept 18 Public Hearing up by 3 hours (from the 6 pm start, up to 3 pm). This is probably the last public hearing before the month long election period leading up to the October 20 election. What business will appear on the agenda?

The agenda for July 31, starting at the unusual time of 5:30 pm, is simply as follows:

1. Public Hearing Start Time – September 18, 2018
The purpose of this meeting is to obtain Council approval of the following:
THAT Council adjust the start time of the Public Hearing meeting to be held, Tuesday, September 18, 2018, from 6 pm to 3 pm.

CityHallWatch brings attention to the highly irregular and aggressive Public Hearing schedule from June to September, with four nights in June, six in July, one in August, and five in September. Recently the actual full documentation for a public hearing made public just a matter of days before the public hearing, and we also have witnessed last-minute staff reports known as “yellow memos” going to Council with new information (and responses to Council questions), as well as motions being proposed by the ruling regime shortly before the end of the public hearing, and then quickly voted through. Watch out for the “shock doctrine” effect in Vancouver civic affairs.

Vision Vancouver is trying to tidy up many loose ends in the final days of this four-year cycle, which is also the end of ten years with absolute control of City Council. Be prepared for surprises. Continue reading

Watch out: Vision Vancouver using the “shock doctrine” to force through massive zoning and policy changes before Oct 2018 election?

storm flash

Photo by Martinus on Pexels.com

(Update 1) We just want to put this here as a reference point to come back to in upcoming posts and discussions.

Naomi Klein is “Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of capitalism.” In 2007 she came out with “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Her focus is on neoliberal free market policies leading to a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy,” exploiting a national crises to push through controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance.” (See Wikipedia)

The crises could be caused by by any form of disruption, such as war, invasion, economic crisis or natural disaster. Her hypothesis is that during a crisis, the dominant forces in a power structure exert excessive influence to have decisions and policies made in their favor, whether it be greater profit, power or other form of advantage.

This appears to be precisely what is happening now during the summer of 2018 with Vision Vancouver pushing through dramatic changes in zoning guidelines and policies without meaningful public consultation. The vast majority of affected residents don’t know the details of what is going on, nor do they know the implications of policy changes being rushed through, and the financial and other costs and changes to future society and communities. Later we will add links to this post as examples, but one example is the impending changes to RS zones (detached houses) that account for about 70% of Vancouver. Despite the merits or demerits of the idea, there has been no meaningful engagement of the affected neighbourhoods, which could lead to major potential disruptions and unintended consequences without the benefit of a careful public debate. Another example is proposed changes to RT-7 and RT-8 (duplex) zones that are common in Kitsilano. Continue reading

Final version 2019-2022 Capital Plan for $2.8 billion goes to Vancouver City Council July 24 & 25, 2018

stack white business market

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Below is a notification circulating by e-mail from the City of Vancouver about the Capital Plan. People have a chance to speak to Council about the plan on Wednesday if they write in before the Tuesday meeting (see below).

July 24 and July 25 are the last two meetings on the official City Council schedule until the next Regular City Council meeting on September 18. That is, not counting FOUR more Public Hearings (Jul 31, Aug 2, Sep 5, Sep 6). The current council and administration is racing to get a LOT of business done before the full-on campaign period in the month prior to the Oct 20 election.

The Regular Council and Committee meetings on July 24 and July 25 respectively are likewise jam-packed, including a decision to call Public Hearings ASAP on hasty rezoning of nearly the entire city despite no prior public consultation.

We add recent media on capital plans (City of Vancouver, plus Vancouver Park Board) at the bottom.

Here is the City’s e-mail note about the Capital Plan.

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1. The final version of the 2019-2022 Capital Plan will be considered by Vancouver City Council on July 24 and 25, as follows:

Tuesday, July 24th (meeting starts at 9:30 am): presentation by staff to Council

https://council.vancouver.ca/20180724/regu20180724ag.htm

Wednesday: July 25th: delegations present to Council (scheduled to start at 2:00 pm), followed by debate and vote by Council.

https://council.vancouver.ca/20180725/pspc20180725ag.htm

2. Here’s a weblink to Council report: https://council.vancouver.ca/20180725/documents/regurr1.pdf

3. If you wish to speak at the Council meeting, please email the City Clerk’s Office using this address (speaker.request@vancouver.ca) or phone them at 604-829-4272. Continue reading

Where can I find a zoning district map of Vancouver? Here’s where.

CoV Vanmap screen grab zoning districts July 2018

Screen grab of City of Vancouver Vanmap image showing zoning districts. 

Where can I find a map of zoning districts in the City of Vancouver? You can expect some discussion about zoning in the coming weeks as the outgoing City Council tries to push through significant changes in a string of Public Hearings on summer evenings in July, August, and early September. These links below for will be useful people trying to get a handle on zoning in Vancouver.

Here is a good place to start for information on zoning districts and regulations (zoning district descriptions, regulations, and more): https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/zoning-map-districts-and-regulations.aspx

This is also good:
https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/find-zone-for-an-address.aspx

For an interactive map of zoning districts of the entire city look for a blue rectangular button labeled “Open VanMap” or go straight to this page: http://vanmapp.vancouver.ca/pubvanmap_net/default.aspx?&showLayers=zoning_district_labels,zoning_districts

Search “Zoning Districts” in the search bar in the top right corner of the VanMap app. You can press the “+” beside “Zoning Districts” for an explanation of each colour zone.

A zoning map from 2016 is available here but the VanMap app is the most current:
https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Zoning-Map-Vancouver.pdf

 

Impending ‘stealthy’ City-wide rezonings violate Vancouver’s stated values (IAP2) on public consultation (summer 2018)

CoV mayor city council July 2018

Members of Vancouver City Council as of July 2018. Only 4 or 5 of 11 members are running for reelection in Oct 2018.

The City of Vancouver proudly declares its commitment to public engagement. On the list below, the first of seven stated values is “We believe that people who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.”

We put this information up here as a reference point and to hold Vancouver City Council and public employees accountable as the City enters an intensive series of public hearings during the summer of 2018. People may wish to bring up IAP2 when communicating with the current City Council.

Is the City violating its own declared values, for example, by numerous impending “stealthy” rezonings under “Making Room” policies. One example is in the RS-1 (one-family + secondary suite) zones that reportedly cover 70% of the city. Significant changes are going quickly to the final with a Public Hearing, though most residents in those zones don’t have the slightest idea it’s about to happen. A second example among several is in our recent post “Heads up from West Kitsilano Residents Association on impending ‘stealthy changes’ in RT-7 & RT-8 [two- and multi-family] zones.” How things have changed. We point out that in the 1990s, changes in RT-7 and RT-8 zoning were only adopted after extensive public consultation, and a mail-in referendum for 100% of residents.

Now in 2018, we believe that only a minute percentage of the affected residents have any idea what Council is setting out to do within a matter of weeks while many people are out on summer vacation. There has been virtually no notification to them. The City seems to be doing its utmost to keep the public notification to the absolute statutory minimum without breaking the law. More will come on “Making Room” in separate posts.

Below is an excerpt from the City of Vancouver website on “How we do community engagement(https://vancouver.ca/your-government/how-we-do-community-engagement.aspx).

Nurturing community engagement (also called public engagement, public participation, or public involvement) is a fundamental civic goal.

We’re working to create an engaged city that brings you and other people together to: Address issues of common importance, Solve shared problems, Create positive social change.

Our core values for public participation
We apply the following values from the IAP2 when we design public engagement processes. [See International Association for Public Participation.]

If you participate in one of our public engagement processes, hold it accountable to these values.

  1. We believe that people who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. We promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  3. We promote sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers.
  4. We seek out and facilitate the involvement of people potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. We seek input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. We provide participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. We communicate to participants how their input affected the decision.

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City of Vancouver staff have served on the board of the International Association for Public Participationand proudly declares its commitment to the IAP2 values. They are a standard to hold our municipal government to account.

SaveOurSkylineYVR petition against PavCo towers piercing downtown ‘view cones’: Crucial Council decision July 24, 2018

Saveourskyline viewcone image June-2018Vancouver’s cherished mountain views are at risk. A crucial City Council decision is slated for July 24, 2018 (Unfinished business” Item 1. REZONING: 777 Pacific Boulevard – Sub-area 10C (1 Robson Street))

If you are concerned, please consider signing this online petition.
saveourskylineyvr.ca

Excerpt: On Tuesday, July 24th, the City of Vancouver’s city council is set to vote on approving crown corporation BC Pavilion Corporation’s (PavCo) 400ft tower that will block public views of the North Shore mountains. This rezoning application is the first of three towers in the Northeast False Creek (NEFC) neighbourhood plan that will disrupt Vancouver’s public views that have been protected by the City’s view cone policy since 1989. Vancouver’s public views with the iconic mountain backdrop are free irreplaceable public assets and amenities that all Vancouverites can enjoy.

THE PROPOSAL
PavCo’s proposal is a 400ft tower that will cover up the mountain backdrop and penetrate the Cambie and 10th Avenue view cone near City Hall, one of the most important view cones in Vancouver. The City claims that this is one of three tall towers will frame the new Georgia gateway into Downtown, but urban planning experts have condemned this reasoning as we must protect our public views. PavCo is a crown corporation of BC under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. 

WHAT’S AT STAKE
If city council votes to let PavCo’s tower through, this will set precedence for other real estate developers to pressure the City to allow them to penetrate the view cones too. This will be the end of Vancouver’s unique mountain skyline as we know it. We cannot let city council and crown corporation Pavco privatize our free public views.

See more information and images at saveourskylineyvr.ca.

Article in The Province.

Voices increasing against PavCo towers piercing downtown ‘view cones’

By Jo-Anne Lee Young, 21-July-2018

https://theprovince.com/business/local-business/voices-increasing-against-pavco-towers-piercing-downtown-view-cones/

The volume and number of voices are increasing against Vancouver city council voting next week to allow a tall tower to be built downtown because it would pierce through “cones” that have long-protected views of the city’s spectacular mountains. Continue reading

Heads up from West Kitsilano Residents Association on impending “stealthy changes” in RT-7 & RT-8 zones

CoV map Kitsilano RT-7 RT-8 zones, June 2018(Updated with references at bottom)

Consider this another mini-case study of how planning is currently being done in the City of Vancouver. It is by no means an exception these days.

Below is an open letter we received from the West Kitsilano Residents Association. The existing zoning in this area was the result of an extensive public consultation process over the course of years in the early 1990s, culminating in a mail-in referendum for 100% of residents. In contrast, in the final few months of the current regime in 2018, changes to zoning are buried in huge reports, come forward with no direct notification to affected residents, include important changes introduced by a last-minute motion by Mayor Robertson (not even fellow Councillors would have known it was coming), and could be quietly and quickly approved by City Council during the summer holiday season. Below is an analysis of the situation that could soon affect RT-7 and RT-8 zones within a matter of weeks. At present, no one knows exactly when this will go to a Public Hearing, there are guesses it could be as soon as late August after just one information meeting.

WKRA is raising concerns about a possible increase in demolitions, loss of existing affordable housing, loss of character homes and more. Stay tuned.

Excerpt: Many residents are open to the idea of reviewing the current RT-7 and RT-8 by-laws to determine if changes are needed, but we need an open process that gives residents a say in the kind of changes to be introduced and a deeper, more thoughtful analysis of the potential impacts of those changes.  (West Kitsilano Residents Association)

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“Residents react to stealthy zoning changes for their neighbourhood”

(Open letter from West Kitsilano Residents Association, July 14, 2018)

Have you heard of the City’s proposed changes to zoning regulations for Kitsilano and other areas? Would you like to be consulted before such changes are approved?

Over a period of several years in the 1990s, hundreds of Kitsilano residents took part in a neighbourhood zoning review and and worked with the city to create a new RT7 and RT8 zoning by-law that reflected the high value that residents placed on the character and heritage of their neighbourhood and that has governed development ever since.

This zoning was in response to the demolition of many character and heritage houses and their replacement with new duplexes that usually had fewer units and fewer people. The new zoning encouraged the reuse and recycling of character houses into multiple ground oriented units rather than their demolition and redevelopment.

Since their adoption, these by-laws turned the RT-7 and RT-8 zoned areas of Kitsilano (both West Kitsilano west of Larch and the Kitsilano Arbutus area east and west of Arbutus Street) into examples used by many urban commentators as to how density can be absorbed into a neighbourhood while retaining green space, character and heritage. The zoning has led to a variety of housing outcomes with some houses becoming strata conversions into 2 to 4 or 5 units per house and some on larger lots adding infill units. Others have various rental and ownership/rental combinations and many non-character sites have had new development. This RT-7 and RT-8 by-law dramatically slowed the loss of many affordable rental units. New development follows design guidelines in order to be compatible with the existing architecture. Continue reading