Immediate action needed: Precedent of asphalted yard proposed at 5444 Rhodes St (Norquay) has citywide implications

Below we copy an appeal and web post from Eye on Norquay. People who love Vancouver are encouraged to read below and write City Hall with their comments. The bottom line is that this proposal could set a precedent for all of Vancouver by allowing far too much of the site area to be taken up by driveways. If this multiplies, it could change the character of Vancouver neighbourhoods. You are encourage to read below, then send a brief comment by e-mail to the Project Coordinator (sangeeta.vishwakarma@vancouver.ca).

Development Application DE418931 under RT-11 Zoning

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/devapps/pc5444rhodes/index.htm
streetscape
It has now been more than two years since Council passed the zoning regulations that guide implementation of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan. Some of the build-out has conformed to the intention of the plan, and some has not.

In the past, we have alerted you to major new zoning implementation problems that seem likely to produce unfortunate consequences not only for Norquay, but for all neighbourhoods across Vancouver. Your support has often encouraged the City of Vancouver to reconsider what it is willing to let developers do.

We have new concern about a proposed development application in Norquay under RT-11 zoning (small house/duplex).  The proposal is for four houses (ranging from 1804 to 1967 sq. ft.) on two 33 x 122 lots.  Application DE418931 for 5444 Rhodes Street can be viewed at:

Our primary concern is that enclosing the parking spaces for the two front units within the unit results in 12-15% of the total site area being taken up by driveways. Although this configuration “may be considered” under the relevant zoning, there is a clear preference for parking spaces to be located on the lane. We feel that this is where they belong. Our complete comment on the application can be viewed at:

Please consider making your own comment to object to the paving of reduced open space merely to enable residents to access vehicles without going outside. A one-sentence statement of your opposition to this aspect of the development proposal would be of great help. Please comment as soon as possible to the Project Coordinator at:

Although the official closing date for comment is May 26, comments will be accepted until a decision is made. And more comments may result in the decision being deferred for more detailed consideration.

Post on Eye on Norquay

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5444 Rhodes Street – Comment on Development Application DE418931 under RT-11 Zoning
https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/5444-rhodes-street/

23 May 2015
This application should not be approved in its current form for the following reasons.

1.  Far too much of the site area is taken up by driveways. Approximately 12% to 15% of the site is surfaced with gravel or blacktop to enable the residents of the front units (A1 and A2) to access interior parking spaces. Parking spaces for all units should be on the lane, the first choice of the RT-11 and 11N Guidelines (4.9). Under a new Norquay area plan that promotes walkable neighbourhood, scarce open space should not be sacrificed for resident access to in-building vehicles.

The current proposal causes the front doors and windows of the back units (Units B1 and B2) to face blacktop and the garage doors of Units A1 and A2.

No driveway should be made of gravel and/or blacktop. “Hard surface areas should be paved with permeable paving to reduce stormwater sewer loads and improve natural groundwater infiltration.” (RT-11 and 11N Guidelines, 4.9.1(iv)).

2.  The garbage area covers some of the small amount of open space between the units. “Garbage areas should be purpose-designed as an integral part of the development either in the building or the lane.” (RT-11 and 11N Guidelines, 4.9)

3.  The basements are set too deep into the ground. From the elevation drawings, it appears that the small windows in the basement lock-off suites are set just below ceiling height. It will be difficult for a resident of normal height to see out of them.

4.  The windows on the sides of the units line up with the windows of the units opposite. It will be very easy for residents of Units A1 and B1 to look into the windows of Units A2 and B2 and vice versa. The windows should be staggered.

5.  There is no indication of a landscape plan in the material posted on the web site. The small amount of open space available on this site makes it important that it be planned well.

Please address these concerns before approving the project.
Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones

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