Regionwide fallout from Supreme Court decision? North Vancouver watchdog spotlights 161 East Keith Rd rezoning (16-storeys)

Image concept 161 East Keith Rd, North Vancouver, Michael Katz Architecture

Image concept 161 East Keith Rd, North Vancouver, Michael Katz Architecture

As we have reported, the B.C. Supreme Court on January 27 overturned a major rezoning and development permit in Vancouver and ordered a new Public Hearing (for example, see Sloppy city hall led to Yaletown ruling, Allen Garr, Vancouver Courier, 5-Feb-2015). The ruling points to unacceptable practices by the City of Vancouver in the Public Hearing and processes related to that rezoning. 

Now North Van City Voices, a civic watchdog in that city, has noticed similarities between what was done wrong in Vancouver, and asks out loud about the implications for a rezoning for a 16-storey tower approved on January 19. This makes us wonder if the problems are not just individual cases, but systemic across the industry and municipal governments in the whole region. And if so, how long has this been going on? More public attention is needed on these matters. Below is the opening and web link to the North Van City Voices article (emphasis is ours).


Commentary on Keith Rd Public Hearing (North Vancouver City Voices, 6-Feb-2015)

Many North Vancouver residents are hoping that the recent BC Supreme Court ruling forcing the City of Vancouver to halt a tower development in Yaletown has set a legal precedent that might apply to the recently-approved development at 161 East Keith Road. Most of Justice McEwan’s reasons for judgment in the Vancouver decision seem to apply equally well to the Keith Road situation.

The 16-storey mixed strata/rental tower fronting on Victoria Park was approved by City of North Vancouver Council on January 19, exactly one week before Justice McEwen’s Vancouver ruling came down.

Apart from the fact that the East Keith development is way too big for the site – almost three times larger than the existing zoning and Official Community Plan allows – the public input process was rushed, with inadequate notice and lead time to allow the public to study the details of the proposal. (Bob and Peg Heywood make this point in their letter to Council here 161 EAST KEITH). And some important information provided to the public was inaccurate, or contradictory, or missing altogether. (See Linda Heese’s letter to Councildetailing these deficiencies in the public information, and how they directly connect to Justice McEwen’s ruling 161 East Keith – New Public Hearing Request).

The project’s supporters on Council say inflating the density on the site throughbonusing is necessary to create more rental housing, which the city needs because our stock of affordable rental units is aging and must be replaced. That need is real – however, we don’t see high-rise projects like this one as the solution. The units in this building are relatively small studios and one-bedroom units, suitable mostly for singles. And as market rentals in a brand new building in a desirable area, they certainly won’t be “affordable”. In fact by encouraging the city’s headlong rush towards greater and greater density, we’re just ensuring the speculative rise in land values will continue, rents will keep rising, and North Shore housing will become even less affordable.

Read the full article here:

4 thoughts on “Regionwide fallout from Supreme Court decision? North Vancouver watchdog spotlights 161 East Keith Rd rezoning (16-storeys)

  1. All municipal govts especially those with a majority, cannot wait to densify in exchange for campaign funding( before limits set in by provincial govt), increase in property values/property taxes, cac/dcl, & metro fees. All primary municipal revenue generator based on developments. Accordingly, the more developments the better under the guise of “affordable” housing, the bigger, the sooner stamped “approved” the better. You want public hearing? City Hall will dress up a few for you. While ur at the public hearing, council is meeting “in camera,” fait accompli.
    I’m glad the supreme court judge saw thru the opaque sham. Despite the ruling, municipal hall legal teams will redraft/finagle their bylaws. There’s surely more courtcases coming.

  2. Burnaby has the same problem, but who has the financial means to stand up to a city hall with a publicly funded legal team? Corrigan will exhaust all legal means to ensure that council retains its power.

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