No rezoning sign at site yet City wants feedback by June 1st (1649 East Broadway)

No rezoning sign has been posted at 1649 East Broadway (May 19, 2020)

[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,, 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:

Further links:

Grandview-Woodland Community Plan

Citizens’ Assembly Final Report

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:


4 thoughts on “No rezoning sign at site yet City wants feedback by June 1st (1649 East Broadway)

  1. Where to begin? I don’t even know if the need for rental is still as dire as once it was given the death of short term rentals and the departure of investment speculation, however this seems entirely disproportionate to the location and the design leaves much to be desired. It certainly doesn’t even try to fit into the neighbourhood or area surrounding it. I hope GWAC will have something to say about it to the City.

  2. Great story and example, randy. I agree that the achitect’s renderings seem poorly scaled. The bottom right photo rendering ssems to show that the lowe six storey portion of the new building (thepodium) would be shoter than the first three storeys of rhe existing building to the east.

    How is that possible?

    As far as public consultation and a public open house is conerned, i thought that those things were mandatory, i believe that mayor stewart has brought forward a motion to reduce or eliminate some preapplication and public consultation requirements, but i doubt that it has been dealt with by council or finalized/implemented yet.

    Furthermore, i understand that some requirements have been waived due to the covid pandemic.
    Any new building will be there for the next 50 to 100 years.

    I expext that a year from now, we will look at this situation and ask: how was it exactly that all these big new buildings got approved during this extraordinary 3 or 4 month period?

  3. This article clearly illustrates several fundamental flaws in the development communications process.

    The first flaw is a failure to communicate. The failure to follow the most basic requirement to post a notice on the site must have consequential penalties. If notice must be posted for 30 days, then at the hearing, the proponent must present evidence they have complied, no different than any other requirements. Photographic evidence a sign has been in place for each of the 30 days should be supplied to City Hall. If evidence is provided to the contrary, that a sign has not been present on a given day and has not been replaced the next day, then those days are deducted from the 30 days, the hearing is automatically postponed and must be rescheduled. IF the sign has not been replaced within a reasonable timeframe (3-7 days), then the notification window shall be considered as not met and shall restart from when a new sign is posted. If the proponent demonstrates they have replaced the sign in a timely manner, then the clock shall not be reset. Simple and effective..

    The second lies is in the communication itself. We live in a city where pretty much every street and lane way is fully captured in your choice of Mapping/Streets App. All the actual “architectural drawings” are in fact 3D mathematical models (CAD drawings). Why are proposals still allowed to submit a “artist’s rendering of the development” instead of real 3-D models superimposed on measurement-based captured backgrounds? If iRacing can simulate all the real-world physics and graphics in real-time for a car racing event, a proponent can submit accurate, perspective correct renderings of their proposals onto real world image captures.

    Finally, if the point of the notification and Open Houses is actually intended to solicit feedback, then make it simple to do so. Incorporate into the VanConnect App the capability to show all development permit and rezoning applications both in list (searchable and by date) and map-based form, with links to all the proposal information.One should be able to search for all “new” or revised proposals and all those whose key dates are approaching. It should also provide the capability for the public to submit feedback electronically. All feedback should visible to the public, no different to any other issues reported by the public.

  4. I should have added, if the information on the sign is incomplete (eg: no dates) or inaccurate, that should invalidate the notification.

    And, can someone explain why the existing building is shown “prominently” in foreground, while the actual building of interest seems to be rendered as background object? The artist rendering should depict their building in the foreground, as if standing on the opposing side of the the buildings.

    Mind you ,at least they included the surrounding built-scape, unlike the [PARQ casino](, which completely omitted such items as the Cambie bridge approaches, surrounding building, new and their future proposals, and also rendered the building at could be considered a generous [1/2 scale to reality](,-123.1137673,3a,75y,44.75h,91.73t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHtnJBC4pii2ZcTg3pN7G9A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en)

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