New zoning regulations for Apartment Transition Area (Norquay but with citywide implications)

Eye on Norquay has posted a story on a new RM-9, RM-9N, RM-9A and RM-9AN districts schedule and guidelines, which will have broad impact on the Norquay neighbourhood itself and “significant implications for the planning that is occurring in other local areas.” This topic goes to City Council on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 (agenda). Residents may attend but not speak to Council, though they will be able to speak at the public hearing  expected in mid-January 2016. Eye on Norquay supports the staff recommendation and provides analysis.

CoV Zoning in Norquay Village, 15-Dec-2015

From an e-mail from Eye on Norquay:

New Zoning Regulations for Apartment Transition Area 

Recently proposed RM-9, RM-9N, RM-9A and RM-9AN districts schedule and guidelines are expected to replace the temporary “Norquay Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy,” adopted by City Council on May 16, 2013. The new documents introduce only a few minor changes. Building form will continue to be 4-storey apartment buildings. On the 21 very long lots in this zone, a single row of stacked townhouses would be permitted at the rear of the site behind the main 4-storey apartment building. Parking would be 1-2 underground parking spaces per unit.

 The 4-storey apartment building form respects the Norquay Plan. That building type offers a good transition between the higher buildings on Kingsway and the lower housing forms on residential streets. These apartments would be an important component of housing diversity in Norquay. They feature elevators, making them accessible to seniors and persons with disabilities. Their “alphabet” shape surrounds an entry courtyard, resulting in buildings that have more than four corners. The additional windows would provide more light and ventilation than is usual.

 In the RM-7 zone, where zoning regulations permit both rowhouses and stacked townhouses, there have so far been 11 applications for stacked townhouses and only 1 for rowhouses. We are pleased that the City of Vancouver has reconsidered its proposal to allow the indiscriminate building of stacked townhouses in the Apartment Transition Area.


(For reader convenience, we copy the December 12 Eye on Norquay post below. Please browse that post for links to more extensive coverage on the topic.)

On 15 December 2015 this policy report goes to Vancouver City Council:

Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law Regarding the RM-9A/9AN Districts for Norquay’s Apartment Transition Area

with recommendation that the matter be referred to Public Hearing. In essence, the Norquay Plan would move from a May 2013 “rezoning policy” to a defined rezoning district.

Eye on Norquay has already covered the preceding open house and the proposed new zoning in considerable detail. The just-issued policy report says:

The intent of the RM-9A/9AN District is to provide a physical transition between the taller buildings and densities envisioned for Kingsway, and the lower ground-oriented buildings behind. In addition, the apartment form can provide a liveable, cost effective, higher-density housing form appropriate for families and seniors.  (p. 4-5)

Eye on Norquay agrees with the report’s statement that

The proposed provisions for these districts [RM-9A/9N] are generally consistent
with the intent of the Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy.  (p. 2)

The Reasons

In point form, here are specific reasons that Eye on Norquay supports this new zoning schedule:

Diversity —  The zoning will increase the diversity of housing type throughout Norquay.

Accessibility —  The elevators provided by the apartment form will assure appropriate residential-area accommodation for seniors, families with small children, and the physically disabled. The Norquay Working Group emphasized the need to provide housing for seniors.

Respect for the Norquay Plan —  In this instance the Norquay Plan has not been encroached on by form creep. At an earlier stage, the conflation of zones for rowhouse and stacked townhouse effectively reduced diversity by failing to mandate an area specifically for rowhouse.

Transition —  The height and density of the apartment form will provide the most appropriate form between Kingsway and the surrounding lower-density neighborhoods.

Parking —  The report specifies minimum 1 space and no more than 2 spaces for each principal dwelling unit. Less would not be acceptable.

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