(To be updated…) The first Park Board meeting of this fall season will be on Monday, September 27, 2021 (revised date). The agenda will go online several days in advance.
This week, Vancouver City Council will resume its first regular meetings after the summer break, with three meetings this week — a regular Council meeting on Tuesday, September 21st, a Public Hearing the same evening, and a committee meeting on Wednesday, September 22nd. Below we highlight selected topics, and further below provide the full meeting agendas (check the City website for updates).
A Regular Council meeting on Tuesday, September 21st will consider
Among the key topics this day, we see the following:
- Staff are proposing changes that, if approved, will make it more difficult for some people to address Council – in two agenda items: “2022 Council Meetings Schedule” and “Amendments to Procedure By-law No. 12577.” Related post: “Why are City staff trying to limit public access? Council to consider *daytime* public hearings and shorter time window for citizens to register to speak (Sept 21)“
- Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force – Zoning and Development By-law Amendments to Enable Issuance of a Building Permit for Excavation and Shoring Before a Development Permit. We covered this topic when first proposed by staff a few months ago. Now it has come forward for – Related post: “Staff recommend (Jul 20) letting developers dig big holes in ground before they have development permits. What could go wrong?”
- Several major referral reports (staff recommending rezoning applications get into the pipeline for a Public Hearing). Council can make a few comments or ask questions of staff, but the next opportunity for public comment is at the Public Hearing, likely to occur within several weeks. However, this is a good chance for concerned persons/groups to have a good look at what planning staff are proposing:
- CD-1 Rezoning: 1157 Burrard Street – (West End) Current site of Burrard & Davie Community Garden site in the West End, 47-storey condo, 469 ft height, 13.37 FSR (exceeding the Higher Buildings Policy of 375 ft). By having a “community garden” on the site, this developer has saved millions of dollars in property taxes (putting the burden on other taxpayers) by while the land value skyrocketed. The height is far above what was originally envisioned by the already-high “Higher Buildings Policy” adopted under Vision Vancouver. Enabled by the West End Community Plan, adopted in 2013 under Vision Vancouver.
- CD-1 Rezoning: 1450 West Georgia Street (West End) at West Georgia and Nicola, a 49-storey, 497 ft mixed condo/market rental tower (162 rental / 193 condo), FSR 14.14. Enabled by the West End Community Plan.
- Rezoning: 427-477 West 49th Avenue (Between Cambie & Alberta on West 49th, currently zoned RS-1,
166 ft building + podium, 3.99 FSR). Appears to violate some aspects of the Cambie Corridor Plan.
- Rezoning: 328-360 West 2nd Avenue (and Alberta) – 152.5 ft, 6FSR in the area in the Mount Pleasant Industrial zone on 2nd Avenue that saw recent changes (up from a 60 ft height limit).
- CD-1 Rezoning: 4575 Granville Street – Townhouses on a site beside hospice (this is a new application after the extremely rare Council rejection of the previous application on this site)
- Another item that may draw attention is an administrative motion by staff, Approval of Form of Development – 3701 West Broadway. This is a controversial tower at Broadway and Alma, proposed by Westbank (CEO Ian Gillespie). It already went through a Public Hearing. Nearly 4,000 people have signed a petition against it. This is the final stage of Council oversight and approval. It has undergone several iterations of bait and switch. Original public consultation was for one 6- storey building. Then it became 12. At the public hearing it was presented as a 14-storey building. The documents going before Council now present it at 17 storeys. What has changed since the public hearing? What relaxations and concessions have been negotiated and accepted by the planning department? This project merits the spotlight right now as Westbank has many past and current projects, and progressed under the oversight of previous chief planner Gil Kelley and currently Theresa O’Donnell. The document package does not provide Council or the public enough information to really scrutinize/understand the outcome. A separate CHW post is coming on this one.
- Motions by Council (a selection)
- “Acting on the Climate Emergency by Opposing the Tilbury LNG Phase Two Expansion Project” (by Clr Christine Boyle). Calls on Council to take a stand to oppose this project in Delta on the Fraser River due to its climate impacts. CityHallWatch has covered the topic (Proposed LNG production/storage increase, and Stop Tilbury LNG expansion)
- “Establishing a Friendship City Program in the City of Vancouver” (by Mayor Kennedy Stewart): Our comment. Nice idea, but with all the other issues facing Vancouver, and the current loads on City staff, do we need this now? At this point, it feels like virtue signaling.
- “Effective and Equitable Staffing for Council” (Clr Melissa De Genova): Takes aim at the Mayor’s staff privileges and huge slush fund, his opaque and nont-transparent “discretionary budget” and seeks to get more
The Public Hearing scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, September 21st, will look at six items: (1) Internal Development Application and Permitting Modernization Task Force – Zoning and Development By-law Amendments to Enable Issuance of a Building Permit for Excavation and Shoring Before a Development Permit, (2) 835-837 Beatty Street – Anglo-Canadian Warehouse Company Building – Heritage Designation, (3) Rezoning at 515 West 60th Avenue (townhouse development with a maximum FSR of 1.2), (4) Rezoning at 721-735 West 49th Avenue (to permit a townhouse development with a maximum FSR 1.20), (5) CD-1 Rezoning: 4426-4464 Knight Street and 1406 East 28th Avenue, and (6) CD-1 Rezoning: 3449-3479 West 41st Avenue and 5664 Collingwood Street. Further details of the rezonings can be found at ShapeYourCity.ca. You are encouraged to write or speak to Council if you have any comments or concerns.
Regarding the Public Hearing…
Item 1 (Building Permit for Excavation and Shoring Before a Development Permit), CityHallWatch has done a previous post. “Staff recommend (Jul 20) letting developers dig big holes in ground before they have development permits. What could go wrong?” We’ve covered before what could happen if a hole is left in the ground for too long when ground collapsed at a construction site (https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/138-east-8th-wall-collapse/). Council needs to ensure the public safety and public coffers are protected. Perhaps developers taking this path should be required to post big bonds to cover any problems.
Item 2 (Anglo-Canadian Warehouse Company Building) is covered by Carlito Pablo in a Georgia Straight article.
Item 5 (4426-4464 Knight Street and 1406 East 28th Avenue) is to permit the development of a 6-storey residential building with 72 secured market rental housing units, including 10 live-work units. A height of 20 m (66 ft.) and FSR of 3.1. In the Georgia Straight, Carlito Pablo has looked at the expensive rental units being created despite sweet subsidies for developers.
Item 6 (3449-3479 West 41st Avenue and 5664 Collingwood Street) is to permit the development of a 6-storey residential building with 109 secured market rental housing units. A height of 21 m (69 ft.) and FSR 2.73. Interestingly, correspondence posted Sept 16 (up to 4 pm) had 74 letters in support, 0 opposed. It is interesting to note the the vast majority of support letters are from people outside the neighbourhood or outside of Vancouver, suggesting that this is really a case of YITBY activism (Yes In THEIR Back Yard). We suspect the correspondence was generated by a letter generator and invite reader tips on a link to that generator for a future CityHallWatch story to have a look at how the letters came about.
The Council Committee meeting for Wednesday, September 22nd will hear registered speakers on agenda items from the previous day, after handling Vancouver Patios and Road Reallocation Updates, Regal Hotel – Injunction and Notice on Title, Downtown East Side Special Enterprise Program – Allocation of Grant Funding to Implementers, and First United Church and Lookout Powell Street Getaway Grant Funding Recommendation.
Regarding the Regal Hotel item, some side reading: “Dan Fumano: The end of SROs in Vancouver? Minister, mayor and CEO agree. Analysis: Vancouver’s mayor, B.C.’s housing minister and a major operator of single-room occupancy hotels say SROs should be phased out.” (The Province, Dan Fumano, 20-Sep-2021)
For reference, the meeting agendas are reproduced below: