Engaged citizens from Cedar Cottage publish Position Statement on rezoning proposal for 18th and Commercial

3365 Commercial context planThe City seems to go to great lengths to promote citizen engagement in decision making, going as far as creating the Engaged City Task Force. But how sincere are our civic officials?

Well, here we have a large group of engaged citizens who have gone to great lengths (time and effort) to analyze a proposed rezoning at 18th and Commercial (as we reported in “CCAN concerned about land assembly, clear-cutting of green oasis for housing proposal“). Today, the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) issued a detailed position paper regarding the rezoning. We copy the text below for readers’ convenience, but invite anyone interested in more info to go directly to their website. CCAN is calling for anyone across the city to help them by writing to City Council opposed the project, citing any of the issues raised.

Cedar Cottage 18th*************

Public comments can be e-mailed to yardley.mcneill@vancouver.ca and kent.munro@vancouver.ca, or sent via the feedback form directly online at the City’s rezoning application website: http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/3365commercial/

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Position Statement on the Rezoning Proposal for 18th and Commercial

  • 16 reasons CCAN members oppose this rezoning and what they want instead
  • Letter from CCAN to Vancouver Heritage Commission
  • Letter from CCAN to Mayor and Council RE: sale of City lot

CCAN members have expressed opposition to a number of aspects of Cressey’s rezoning proposal for 3365 Commercial and 1695 to 1775 East 18th Avenue.  Listed below are some of the ideas that CCAN members brought up at our April 18 meeting.

CEDAR COTTAGE AREA NEIGHBOURS POSITION on the REZONING

  1. CCAN members opposed…

Amalgamating 5 lots for this proposal because this makes the site too large.

We would prefer

    • Develop each lot separately in order to maintain more trees on each lot and to retain the character of the neighbourhood.

  1. CCAN members opposed…

Building a Duplex and 3 rowhouses at 3 storeys with a density of 1.12 FSR on the lot at 1695 East 18th and to the reduction of that lot size to 5813 sf. The rowhouses should not face east and west as this creates privacy issues with the neighbouring property.

We would prefer

  • Build only a 2 storey duplex with a maximum 0.75 FSR on the lot at 1695 E 18th and maintain the current lot size at 7500 sf. The front doors should sit facing south. Don’t build the row houses at the back of the lot.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

4 storey buildings on East 18th with a density of 2.85 FSR.

We would prefer

  • Build 2 storey townhouses with ground-oriented entrances with a density of no more than 0.83 FSR and address them on E 18th.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

6 storey buildings on Commercial with a density of 2.85 FSR.

We would prefer

  • Build one small apartment building of 2 to 3 storey with a density of no more than 0.90 FSR and address this building on Commercial Drive.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The short, small building setbacks form the property lines.

We would prefer

  • Make larger building setbacks from the property lines no smaller than the setbacks required in the RS-2 Zoning District Schedule and without any size relaxations.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The block style buildings.

We would prefer

  • Building designs that are compatible with the areas smaller pre 1940’s buildings and buildings on the adjacent properties.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The building’s windows overlooking the neighbourhood and to the building’s shadowing neighbouring properties.

We would prefer

  • Build less tall, less dense buildings.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The house at 3365 Commercial being retained as a heritage building and receiving the density of 1.12 FSR for doing that. We oppose this house being moved to any other lot.

We would prefer

  • Remove the house at 3365 Commercial or just renovate it where it currently sits. Don’t move it to any other lot. The density to renovate should be no more than that allowed for any other house in the area which is currently 0.60 FSR.   This house should not be on the Heritage Register because Cressey’s Statement of Significance removes too many aspects of the house.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

Removing approximately 40 mature trees on the site and only retaining about 5 trees.

We would prefer

  • Retain the trees on the site by building smaller, less dense buildings.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The City selling the mid-block lot at 1739 E 18th to Cressey.

We would prefer

  • The City keeps this lot and makes it a green oasis mini-park with the creek bed retained.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The parking ramp off of East 18th.

We would prefer

  • Relocate the ramp to Commercial Drive at the north/east corner of the site.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The reduced parking allowed of only 64 stalls for 112 units.

We would prefer

  • Provide 1 parking stall per unit plus visitor and loading parking and all within the site.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The Parking Study that does not show how much traffic there is on Sundays or throughout the entire week.

We would prefer

  • Do a 7 day traffic study located on East 18th at Welwyn and on Welwyn at East 18th. Do the study on a Sunday at a time when church is getting out.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

An exemption from paying of Development Cost Levies (DCL’s).

We would prefer

  • Cressey should pay full development fees to the City.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The City not doing a proper KCC Vision Plan for this one-family RS zone to determine height, density, form of buildings and traffic flow.

We would prefer

  • This KCC Vision planning process should be done before any rezoning.
  1. CCAN members opposed…

The changing of the neighbourhood character by building a third tall building of small “Secured Market Rentals” units within a 10 block radius.

We would prefer

  • Do not approve these tall, overbearing buildings and charge full development fees for any new developments in the neighbourhood. Build housing large enough for families.

 


—————–Letter from CCAN to Vancouver Heritage Commission————–

April 30, 2015

Dear Vancouver Heritage Commission members

We are sending this as an open letter.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our concerns. We appreciate that you are very busy and that you are responsible for many projects.

We are the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours. We are ninety-one strong and growing. We had our general CCAN meeting on April 18, 2015 and discussed the heritage component of the proposed rezoning of 3365 Commercial and 1695, 1707, 1739 and 1775 East 18thAvenue.

This is a rezoning proposal in an RS-2 one-family zone.  The rezoning proposal calls for two sub- areas.  Sub-area #1, currently addressed as 1695 E 18th Avenue, proposes a heritage building renovated to a duplex with 3 additional townhouses at the rear of this lot. This will be a total of 6,675 sq. ft. of buildable floor space.  The other sub-area #2 consists of four lots and has proposed 80,000 sq. ft. of buildable rental floor space.  Sub-area #2 currently contains the lot, 3365 Commercial Drive, where the proposed heritage house sits.

House on CommercialWe unanimously decided that retaining this house as heritage would not benefit the neighbourhood.  We feel that by the time the house is relocated and renovated from its current one and a half storeys it would no longer maintain heritage components of any value.  We further feel that the extra density of 1.12 FSR and the additional 3 infill townhouses is excessive for this proposed heritage retention and for an RS-2 single family area. The house has a low heritage evaluation total rating of 26 points out of 100 and is classified as Group C.   We do not feel the house has enough value to be added to the Heritage Registry.

We also do not support the relocation of this house to another lot because we do not support the excessive density.  We do not support the additional building heights of the proposed heritage and townhouse buildings to two and a half and three storeys respectively.  The proposed heights and density are to high.

We request that the Heritage Commission deny the following issues at hand:

(i) Relocation of heritage building and infill development, and transitional massing; and

(ii) Conservation Plan


————Letter sent to the Mayor and Council RE: sale of City lot —————-

 April 26, 2015

Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councilors’ George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, Adriane Carr, Melissa De Genova, Heather Deal, Kerry Jang, Raymond Louie, Geoff Meggs, Andrea Reimer, Tim Stevenson

RE: Vacant City Lot 2, Block A, Plan VAP1795, District Lot 753 New Westminster

This letter is written on behalf of the Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN).

A 12 March 2015 rezoning application for 3365 Commercial Drive and 1695-1775 East 18th Avenue seeks CD-1 approval for 80,000 square feet of secured rental market housing on five consolidated parcels in an area presently zoned RS-2.

Addresses for the four developer owned or optioned parcels are:  3365 Commercial Drive; and 1707, 1775, and 1695 East 18th Avenue. It appears that the fifth City of Vancouver parcel at 1739 East 18th Avenue could be proposed for sale to the developer of the site. This parcel is addressed as 1739 East 18th (also known as 1733 East 18th) Avenue, PID 009908200, Assessment roll number 692242250000. [Legal description:   Lot 2, Block A, Plan VAP1795, District Lot 753 New Westminster.] BC Assessment values this parcel at $665,000 in 2014, and at $800,000 in 2015.

We anticipate that a proposal to sell this lot may soon come before an in-camera meeting of Council.  We ask that you withhold approval of this sale.

Our Kensington-Cedar Cottage Vision (p. 37) approved creation of small green mini-parks and green links. This particular City of Vancouver parcel would provide an exemplary space of this type. The terrain features a small stream that has continued to exist in an uncovered state. Trees on site include apple, cherry, hazelnut and Douglas fir, and the location provides a home for birds and other wildlife. To condemn this natural space to serve as a ramp into underground parking would be a travesty of the green claims made by the City of Vancouver.

Approved Vision Directions

21.1 Rowhouses, Four-and Sixplexes, Duplexes

More housing variety should be provided by rowhouses, four- and sixplexes, and duplexes, which have many features of single family but would cost less than a new house. Among the conditions that should be met for this new type of housing are:

  • in defined areas, not just anywhere
  • with design controls to be attractive and fit into the neighbourhood
  • built in small projects rather than in large ones
  • with small green mini-parks and green links

Support %:  64 / 15 / 21

The now proposed six- and four- storey block buildings were never supported in the visioning for RS zone by the Kensington-Cedar Cottage Vision. The approved direction for new building types is copied above, and includes a mini-park space which this city-owned lot could provide.

In 1983 a moratorium on apartment buildings in RS-2 was ended, provided that development would be small-scale and respect the character and diversity of existing development. Such development is to occur with small-scale apartments or townhouses, at densities common in RS-2 areas, using building designs which are complementary to neighbouring structures. The adjacent existing apartment building to the north is two storeys. To the south and west are single family houses. To the east is a two-storey building.

If the current development proposal were to respect what was envisioned when the moratorium on apartment construction in RS-2 was lifted, then the 3365 Commercial Drive site could host an apartment building of appropriate small scale, and the parcels at 1707 and 1775 East 18th could host separate townhouses. This approach would make it possible for the existing green space at 1739 East 18th to benefit the local area as a mini-park. The disposition-for-cash alternative would do nothing except take value out of a neighborhood that in recent years has already accommodated considerably more than its proportionate share of new rental density.

To allow a third secured market rental project within a single ten-block area would further burden existing amenity and unfairly target a single specific local area. The STIR project Porter lies one block south of the site in question, and approved IRP at Knight and East 15th lies nine blocks west.

We further note that of the five IRP proposals to come forward so far, this would be the THIRD to land in the same Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighborhood. The City of Vancouver turned down ONE such project in Dunbar. We hope that KCC (a twin with Dunbar in the visioning process) might enjoy at least a fraction of the respect that has been shown to the Dunbar area.

In light of the foregoing considerations, we request that you vote AGAINST the sale of City of Vancouver land for the purposes of facilitating an underground parking ramp.

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