[Update May 23: the sign was finally posted; yet it does not include information about the June 1st comment deadline, photos have been appended to the end of this post]
Due to its implications for all rezonings in Vancouver going forward, here is a case that merits a close look. Has some policy decision been made to do things this way from now on? A rezoning application quietly posted on the City website. No sign on site. No open house, no public engagement. Short deadline for public comment. Questionable renderings used to portray the impacts of the proposed building.
On a City of Vancouver web page the City quietly posted a rezoning application for 1649 East Broadway. There is no information sign displayed at the site. On the City’s rezoning website, there is a deadline of June 1st, 2020 for comments and questions. It appears that no Open House or any public engagement event will be held.
This site has already been rezoned in 2018 for a 10-storey building with strata and rental units, commercial at grade, with a Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of 4.0. A total of 93 units were approved with 47 rental and 46 strata suites. This new rezoning application is for a 12-storey building with 124 rental units (with 23 below-market rate), a FSR of 5.0, height of 119.5′ (36.4m) and a total of 70 underground parking spaces. The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan allows for a maximum of 10-storeys on this site, for which this site was rezoned. In comparison, this site was identified for 6-storeys in the Final Report of the Citizens’ Assembly during the Community Plan process.
There are a couple of renderings included with the posted application. For comparison, we’ve taken photos using a standard 50mm lens on a full frame camera that shows how someone would normally see this location while walking at street level. Do the architects’ renderings give an appropriate representation of the proposal, or does something look off? Do the renderings show the true scale and building size? How about the scale of the surrounding buildings? Is it an attractive building design?
We’ll examine the topic of renderings, human perception and camera focal length in much more detail in several upcoming posts, so stay tuned. Details on this proposal can be found on the following website and through the assigned rezoning planner:
City Contact: Kent MacDougall, Rezoning Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-829-9579
It’s worth noting that this rezoning was not included our May 1st snapshot of rezoning applications as it was not on the rezoning webpage at that time. The City’s website states that the application was submitted on March 9, 2020. The City’s deadline for comments is June 1st, the City is forgoing an Open House and has not posted information signs at the site.
Here are a few photos taken from the other side of the street (50mm lens on a full frame DSLR camera):
Here’s a colour chart for reference:
Update: The following photos are of a rezoning sign that was installed some time after our post was initially published. These photos are from the evening of May 22nd:
Note that there’s no information about the June 1st deadline for comments to staff. The sign only states ‘Application review by City Staff’ and ‘Public Hearing’ as the steps in the rezoning process.
It might be worth comparing the rendering shown the sign with the real world. Apart from the very wide angle field of view used in the rendering (which essentially makes tall buildings appear smaller than they really are), are there issues with the overall accuracy? Compare the details circled in the rendering with photos from a few different locations on East Broadway: