Community historian and prolific blogger Jak King (https://jaksview3.wordpress.com/) has reported on the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood for years. He wrote frequently about the process that resulted in the official community plan being adopted in July 2016.
A full year has now passed. In other neighbourhoods we have found that the City does not monitor the results of new community plans in any systematic, comprehensive, or routine way. Are the promised (or hoped-for) benefits being realized? What are the positives and negatives? Who are the winners and losers? City officials have not reported or commented yet. We are not even sure they are monitoring.
But Jak King looked at the real estate listings for Grandview this week and noted the prices and the reasons given by the real estate agents for those prices. And he asks how they match up to the “Community Values” expressed in the Plan.
Two things that catch his attention — a significant jump in prices, and site assemblies. The listings are mostly “perfectly decent habitable houses” built between the 1950s and 1970s. In each and every case, the cause of the price inflation is clearly stated: the Community Plan.
The Community Plan & Land Prices
It has been just about a year since the Grandview Woodland Community Plan was bludgeoned through City Council by the developer-financed Vision Vancouver majority. The history of that Plan was a long and sorry one, involving as it did a massively engineered lack of consultation and consent from the residents, that has been told in some detail on this blog and elsewhere. But that is history and now we are obliged to deal with the aftermath and protect as much of our grand neighbourhood as we can.
The Community Plan states that “[c]hange must be integrated, gradual, and sustainable and be responsive to the needs of local and city residents.” [page 6]. It goes on to say that “[t]his community strives to be a place where people of all socio-economic levels can live.” [page 7]. After a full year post-Plan we can look at the real estate listings for Grandview for this week, noting prices and — importantly — the reasons given by the real estate agents for those prices, and see how they match up to the Community Values expressed in the Plan.
- 1912 E. 8th, $3,599,000: Less than two years ago, this property sold for what was already considered a premium price of $1,940,000. Now the price has almost doubled because, as the realtor delights in telling us: it “falls under new Transition Zoning in Grandview Plan. New Zoning will allow up to 1.2 FSR 3.5 storey Rowhouses.”
- 2325, 2337, 2349, 2371 and 2387 E. Pender: almost an entire block, 5 properties at $2,400,000 each: Priced for “[l]and assembly … The Grandview-Woodland OCP has this land being rezoned for multifamily development… this land development is a can’t miss! “
- 2037, 2043, 2055, 2061. and 2077 E. Broadway, 5 properties at $3,000,000 each: Part of “land assembly.”
There is more land assembly taking place along East 1st, East 2nd, and East 8th Avenues:
- 2256 E. 1st, $2,280,000: “Townhouse development opportunity with Grandview – Woodland Community Plan. There is 6 Lot assembly potential.“
- 2226 E. 1st, $2,150,000: “Townhouse development opportunity in the heart of Grandview Woodland. Large lots in a great location. New community plan calls for 1.3 FSR courtyard rowhouses.”
- 1921 E. 2nd, $3,689,000, 1937 and 1948 E. 2nd: $3,200,000 each: “3 adjoining lots with a combined size of 142×122 (all measurements approximate) … This property is located within the Grandview Woodland Community Plan. This is an excellent Development Site.“
- 1968 E. 8th, $2,398,000: “Land assembly potential, this property falls into the New Zoning approved by The City Hall for Row Townhouses with 3.5 storeys and 1.2 FSR.”
Other sites are also being targeted:
- 2141 E. Broadway, $2,450,000: “is great holding property as it is in the Grandview-Woodland community re-development plan for potential multi-family zoning … Potential lots assembly.”
- 2285 Charles, $1,588,000: “This 33 x 122 foot lot is going to have it’s zoning changed from RS-7 to the new RT 5 duplex zoning allowing 75% SFR. This zoning change is going to council September 21st 2017 to be rubber stamped.“
- 1517 Frances, $2,188,000: “Attention Developers and investors!RM4 zoning investment opportunity! … perfect for holding this property until future high-density development opportunities… RM4 zoning permits Duplex – Fourplex developments on its own and likely higher density rezoning possible with assembly. Adjacent to existing apartment building also ripe for teardown.”
There are bound to be others: I found these in a quick 20-minute search last night. It is important to note that none of these are dilapidated ancient wrecks. Most are perfectly decent habitable houses built between the 1950s and 1970s. And in each and every case, the cause of the price inflation is clearly stated — by the realtor, not some wild-eyed activist — as the Community Plan.
With land prices this high, there is simply no way truly affordable housing can be the result. So far, at least, the Community Values proudly expressed with the Community Plan are being honoured only by their absence. Many of us assumed that would be the case; we are now beginning to see the evidence.
Added by CityHallWatch. Excerpt from the 2016 Grandview Woodland Community Plan (2016), page 5.
The [community’s] values capture the spirit, concerns, and aspirations of the neighbourhood. They highlight what people love about GrandviewWoodland – it is “quirky and eclectic”, it is “neighbourly” and “family friendly”, and it is home to a diverse mix of people.” Citizens’ Assembly Final Report
Although initially written by the Citizens’ Assembly during this planning process, the following statement of values is certainly consistent with and reflective of what the Grandview-Woodland community feels is vitally important. As a starting point, these are the ideals, the principles, and the desires of this community. These community values have guided the preparation of this plan.
Grandview-Woodland is a community that values …
Genuine democracy, transparency, and inclusive engagement, where citizens of GrandviewWoodland feel like they have a voice that is listened to and acted upon.
This community and the rest of the city are on the unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Their living presence is everywhere in Grandview-Woodland. A diversity of people, housing, public land use, and economic opportunities is important for all.
The history, people, communities, buildings, and businesses are quirky and eclectic. Multiple cultures and eras are represented in the community and can be expected to do so in the future.
Change is inevitable. But a mindful approach to the pace and type of change is essential. Change must be integrated, gradual, and sustainable and be responsive to the needs of local and city residents.
- COMMUNITY AND WELLNESS
Quality of life fosters mental, physical, and social health in places to live, work, and play. A neighbourly community that is one that not only is family-friendly but is safe, clean, and supportive for everyone. Green spaces, facilities, and amenities support people’s different needs and experiences.
This community strives to be a place where people of all socio-economic levels can live, work, play, and visit.
Everyone has a right to move lawfully throughout the community without fear. Protection of the community is aided through collaboration with law enforcement, community policing organizations, first responders, and harm reduction programs.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
The conversation about environment and restoration occurs within the context of ecological literacy, integrity, biodiversity, and food security. This manifests “on the ground” in infrastructure that is efficient, minimizes waste, promotes the reduction of collective emissions and encourages the efficient use of resources.
Accessible, efficient, and affordable transportation supports people of all ages and abilities. Active modes of transportation that are safe and enjoyable, facilitate the movement of goods and services, ensure efficient emergency response and reduce negative local impacts are encouraged.
- ARTS AND CULTURE
Arts and culture play a vibrant and significant role in this community. Artists, as well as cultural spaces within which they work and the events that they produce, are a vital part of Grandview-Woodland.