Open House June 11th – Does 1st and Clark rezoning follow the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan?

The City of Vancouver has circulated a notice about an Open House for June 11th regarding a block-long rezoning at East 1st Avenue and Clark Drive. On this card, the City asserts that “the application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.” We’ll look at the plan in more detail and examine whether the application actually meets the rezoning criteria. However, first here’s an overview of the Open House and the proposal.

Open House: Monday, June 11, 2018, 5pm to 7:30pm at the Vancouver Community College on 1155 East Broadway (Room 1236, Building B with access off East 7th Avenue).

Applicants: BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the City of Vancouver
Consultant: Brook Pooni Associates Inc.
Architect: HDR l CEI Architecture Associates, Inc.

The proposal consists of three components:
(1) 97 social housing units / rental units (social housing is a mix of rental units available at various affordability levels as defined by the City of Vancouver,)
(2) a relocated detox facility (50 beds) and 20 transitional units
(3) enterprise space at grade along Clark Drive

The maximum height of the building is 100′ (30.5m) at Clark Drive and East 1st Avenue and the floor space ratio is 3.07. The proposal is estimated to cost a total of $81 million. The plan includes a one for one replacement for 17 rental units on the site (in terms of total number of rental units, not area). The agreement between the parties would include a 99-year lease of the City-owned land. Additional details are available on the City’s rezoning centre page.

The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan

The controversial Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was adopted by a majority (but by no means unanimous) vote of City Council on July 28, 2016. The full text of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan is available here. This analysis will examine the maximum density and height allowed for the consideration, as written, under the final text of this plan.

The land use for the site currently includes two different zoning schedules. These are multiple dwelling unit (RM-4N) and light industrial zoning (I-2).

RM-4N includes apartment rental buildings such as the one on the site:

The plan addresses both the industrial and multiple family residential zones areas in this plan. The site is within the area designed by Section 6.4 Britannia-Woodland on page 74 of the plan. The area zoned as industrial is discussed and outlined in section 6.4.4 Clark Industrial on page 83. The text is very specific about not allowing rezoning: “The plan does not contemplate any land use changes in this industrial area”. Here is a screenshot of that part of section 6.4.4:

The remaining part of the site is zoned as 4-storey, RM-4N. The intent of the plan is to keep this zone as 4-storey with the exception of allowing a very limited number of rezonings under a pace of change policy (5 rezonings or the loss of 150 rental units over 3 years). The plan is specific about the criteria for a site to be considered for rezoning. There’s a maximum of 6-storey height, density as measured by floor space ratio of up to 2.4, a maximum building width of 36 metres (118 ft), and a T-shaped typology.

It’s clear that the application doesn’t meet the criteria as set forth in the plan for consideration to be rezoned.

Section 6.4.2 East 1st Avenue speaks to the rezoning criteria (page 79 of the plan).

City both applicant and regulator

The rezoning sign on the property lists the City of Vancouver as an applicant. The City is also the regulator.

As regulator, the City is asserting that the application is being submitted under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. Would an outside opinion be appropriate in this instance? It could be possible to have planning staff from another BC municipality review the application, or have independent consultants look at it?

Other notes

The MOU between the parties contains a number of other details on the plans between the City, VCH and the province. Here’s one point of interest (reproduced via OCR of document in staff report from April 19, 2018):

5.1 The City will discuss the surrender of the existing Detox Centre lease (the “Detox Centre Lease”) at 377 East 2nd Avenue (the “Detox Centre Lands”) With the Province of British Columbia (the “Province”), it being a condition of this MOU and the transactions contemplated herein that, within 30 days after the parties have entered into this MOU, the City receive confirmation in writing that the Province will surrender the Detox Centre Lease and all rights thereunder and that VCH will surrender its interest in the Detox Centre Lands, including any rights granted to it under the Voluntary Accommodation Agreement (Agreement 11112990) dated May 2, 2011 and the Lease (CL11Z990) dated April 5, 2017 within six months after the issuance of CU1 occupancy permit for the Development (provided that the effective date of surrender may be adjusted as required to minimize disruption to VCH service delivery during VCH’s relocation from the Detox Centre Lands to the Development) and the Province will deliver the Detox Centre Lands to the City in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Detox Centre Lease.

The Industrial (I-2) zoning zoning is available here:

It’s also worth comparing to RM-4N, which is the base zoning for the rest of the site. This is the zoning that would be normally applicable without a rezoning (if it doesn’t qualify for the criteria set forth in the rezoning policy or fall within “pace of change”):

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