City failed to notify tens of thousands of residents in one-family (most RS) zones: Public Hearing Sept 18 for citywide zoning changes

 

CoV zoning districts from RS-1 poster Sept 2018, Making Room

Map by City of Vancouver. RS-1 (one family) zones are light peach/yellow colour.

 

(Update: As of 5 pm on Wed Sept 19, Council had heard all speakers on #5 (RS zone – duplexes) and must decide when to discuss and vote on that item. Meanwhile, a motion by Clr Deal has postponed #6 (RT zones) for the new City Council after November 5 for reason of “lack of time.” This has effectively turned the RT zoning issue into an election issue.)

A concerned citizen notified CityHallWatch that residents in *RS zones affected by proposed rezoning* did not receive direct notification regarding the Public Hearing (tomorrow) and proposed zoning changes that will affect 68,000 properties as part of the City’s “Making Room Housing Program.” [Up-date – the headline originally said “RS-1” zones but was corrected to “most RS” zones.]

How can people have a say if they have not been given notice the changes are coming?” (concerned citizen, Rebecca)

In Vancouver, one-family (RS) zoning districts account for 57% of the city (see map, light- peach/yellow zones).

The final Public Hearing of the current city council starts tomorrow, September 18 at 3 pm. (Note that nearly the entire council will change in the Oct 20 civic election.) The fifth item on the agenda is “REZONING: Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice.”

Public Hearing, September 18, 2018, starting at 3 pm. Click here for agenda and documents, and instructions on how to speak or write to City Council. Follow meeting progress on Twitter at @VanCityClerk:
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/phea20180918ag.htm

The set of official documents was made public online for the first time only on Thursday, September 13, just three business days before the Public Hearing.

There may be both merits and demerits to the proposed zoning changes, but the fact that affected residents have not been fairly and properly notified is a serious problem. People may wish to write to Council with their concerns.

The purported rationale for this zoning change is to create “affordable” housing and offer more housing choices. From CoV information posters: “The proposal for duplexes will allow for an increase in supply of housing in low-density areas, and a new duplex unit is typically more affordable than a new single-family house.” Staff reports make some assumptions and claims, however, it appears the City has not done any real modeling on many aspects of this proposed change: Increased demolitions, evictions, neighbourhood disruptions, impacts on property assessments (up? or down?), impacts on property taxes (up? or down?) and so on. Will the additional supply from zoning changes really be more “affordable”? And how does the City know that?

There has been limited media coverage of the proposed changes in RS-1 zoning districts. The City did hold four information sessions on the RS-1, which according to “City Duo” blog were not well attended and there were “plenty of spare staff standing around bored.” Probably because very few of the affected residents had been notified about the sessions. 

According to City staff at one of the sessions, the City did not directly notify residents of RS-1 zones via mail outs that these zoning change plans are set to be approved, that there were info meetings they could attend, that they could speak or write to council to voice their opinions, or that this Public  Hearing is the only official opportunity they have to give input to City Council about the process.

We have confirmed with several RS-1 residents that this is true.

The same Public Hearing (Sept 18 Agenda Item 6) will also cover zoning changes for Kitsilano (RT-7 and RT-8 zones) and RT-10 and RT-10N Zones (Kensington-Cedar Cottage).

In contrast to the RS-1 zone residents, people in RT-7, RT-8, RT-10 and RT-10N zones received letters addressed directly to every single household alerting them of city information meetings to attend, the Public Hearing, and how to provide comments officially. People might ask why the City went through the effort to notify these residents, but not the residents of RS-1 zones — again, 57% of the City of Vancouver.

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For more information…

Public Hearing Sept 18, 2018
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/phea20180918ag.htm

City of Vancouver Making Room Housing Program web page
https://vancouver.ca/people-programs/making-room.aspx

Info posters on changes to RS-1 zones
https://vancouver.ca/people-programs/duplex-information-sessions.aspx

****************

RS (one-family) zones (2.1 MB)
Four information meetings were held.

Saturday, September 8, 11am-2pm
Killarney Community Centre, Seniors Centre Grand Hall
6260 Killarney St

Tuesday, September 11, 5pm-8pm
Hastings Community Centre, Auditorium
3096 E Hastings St

Wednesday, September 12, 5pm-8pm
Dunbar Community Centre, Room 006
4747 Dunbar St

Thursday, September 13, 5pm-8pm
Peretz Centre, Lounge
6184 Ash St

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Notes: On the morning of Sept 18, people were reporting that the City had abruptly closed registration for speakers to this Public Hearing. That was in contradiction to public announcements in the Vancouver Courier, etc., stating that registration would be open until 2 pm. A citizen complained, and voila, the registration opened up again.

At the start of the Public Hearing, people were being escorted into the Council Chambers 20 persons at a time for security reasons (crowd control). By 8 pm the numbers had dwindled.

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