(Update: After hearing from speakers for and against, the Public Hearing ended on Oct 17. City Council will debate and vote on the application during a regular council meeting two weeks later, on Oct 31.)
The rezoning at Dunbar Ryerson United Church (2165-2195 West 45th Avenue and b) 2205-2291 West 45th Avenue) is the fifth item on the agenda for the Public Hearing on Tuesday, October 17. People are encouraged to follow @vancityclerk on Twitter for live updates on the progress of the meeting on the day.
Public Hearing (Tuesday, October 17, 2017) agenda, documents, and correspondence: Click here.
This one is looking like a hot topic for two sides. On one side is “abundant housing” activists from around the city who organized to call for increased density anywhere and everywhere, often without acknowledgement of the many other drivers of housing affordability, and without regard for local community concerns. Some congregation members also appear to support the rezoning.
On the other side are community residents who have organized as Ryerson Neighbours (www.facebook.com/ryersonneighbours).
A group of the “affordable housing” (increase supply at any cost) side set up a web page for people to click online to send their support to City Council, and their letters are prominent among the correspondence sent to City Council. (These account for over 60% of letters to Council, as of Oct 13.)
We hope that in all rezonings, both sides are respectful of others’ views.
Representative of the supply side activists is a UBC professor named Tom Davidoff of the UBC Sauder School of Business, who is closely associated with Affordable Housing Vancouver. It is unfortunate that a university professor attempts to discredit community voices by belittling local concerns: In his letter to Council, he wrote “….do the NIMBY neighbours really want to take on the representatives of what some people believe to be humankind’s savior to avoid some hypothetical damage to their extremely high property values?”
We hope that others will not follow his example and that they will not fall into the habit of writing off others simply as NIMBYs.
Concerns raised by those who live in the Kerrisdale Ryerson neighbourhood include:
- Precedent Setting Rezoning: City would rezone to allow an 8 storey-plus building, contravening the ARKS Community Vision
- 8-storey building is incompatible with existing streetscape and defies existing zoning policy; even developments on West Boulevard, an arterial route, do not exceed 4 storeys
- Lack of appropriate stepped-down transition/buffer from apartment zone to RS-5 residential areas: as achieved by 3-storey townhomes in the5300 block Larch St.
- Shadow impact on homes, especially to north and east, will keep residents in the dark during fall and winter months
- Loss of amenities: gym, pre-school
- Loss of sidewalk-level green spaces and mature trees
- Increased traffic along 45th Ave, a designated bike route
- Dramatic change of church property use: concert venue, rehearsal space, and meeting rooms could draw 800 people a day; yet only 45 parking spaces provided
- No drop off zone for the church or activity centre
- Loss of character homes on 45th Avenue
- Up to a decade of phased construction noise, dust and disruption for residents
- Transportation plan fails to address significant changes in neighbourhood density and venue use
A few issues not mentioned in the list:
- The Planning Dept. makes statements about “32 units of affordable housing,” but actually 10 of them are at market rental. See chart from their policy report, pg. 10.
- The Planning Dept. refers to a “community centre” but it is actually the Church’s activity centre, not to be confused with the Kerrisdale Community Centre 2 blocks away. The church wants us to believe this is for the local community but it is actually a destination for people from other communities and offers little that the neighbours are interested in.
- The Planning Dept. says this is not a spot rezone but it is.
- This development will put a nine-storey building (8 floors plus mechanical penthouse) across from a bungalow and two-storey houses. Nowhere else in Kerrisdale is there a tower across from a house. It doesn’t happen often elsewhere in Vancouver either, except where houses sit on recently-upzoned lots, yet the owners across from Ryerson’s proposed tower are told they will not be allowed to upzone.