Online survey deadline extended again (to *JULY 30*) on rental rezoning policy citywide, affecting RS, RT and C zones. 6 storeys on arterials, 4-5 storeys off arterials (‘Streamlining Rental’)

Caption: Map by City of Vancouver roughly shows areas affected. Dark blue is ON arterials (main roads), light blue is OFF arterials. The map does not accurately show the full extent of impacts in some areas. It roughly shows affected areas as lines, but the actual properties affected extend deeper into neighbourhoods in some areas. We will provide examples, time permitting. Red shows neighbourhood shopping areas. Source PDF is here. We would bet with confidence that only a small fraction of current residents in affected areas know about this survey. The City’s planning staff under new chief planner Theresa O’Donnell are moving this ahead very quickly, seeking a possible Council decision in October this year.

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Update UPDDATE! We originally reported that the deadline for this City of Vancouver public survey had been extended by two days to June 27, 2021. Then the City extended it to JULY 27. As of July 26 an e-mail went out from the City that the new deadline is July 30. (Often an extension like this appears to be due to an internal decision that the City needs more responses to match the narrative it wishes to craft.) Also, see our report on the Council vote on this topic, July 21. Basically, the majority on Council accepted the Staff recommendations verbatim.

The official title of this survey is “Streamlining Rental: Making it easier to build secure rental housing in more neighbourhoods.” More accurately, we would retitle the survey as “Proposed rezoning polices for rentals in RS, RT, and C zones citywide, with up to 6 storeys on arterials, and up to 4 – 5 storeys off arterials – seeking Council approval prior to completion of the citywide Vancouver Plan.” Please visit the official site for current information. For the record, we provide further below the text copied from the survey website.

You can see the official explanations at the links for the survey on the Shape Your City web page (https://shapeyourcity.ca/).

Direct link to survey: https://shapeyourcity.ca/rental-rz

Below are some observations. More may be added later.

This survey is being conducted even while the City is slowly moving through consultations on a citywide Vancouver Plan. “Why are these areas being considered for zoning changes in advance of the Vancouver Plan?” The FAQ page does not convincingly or adequately answer this question. People have the right to think, objectively, that citywide rezonings would be part of that integrated, comprehensive process. Not in Vancouver, apparently.

This survey relates to policies that will have impacts almost citywide. The proposed policy changes would be an expansion from previous rezoning policies, with the effect of pre-approving zoning schedules to be implemented through new rental-only legislation. If approved by council, land assembly/demolition/new construction will become much more frequent and allow for full block assemblies, even in what are currently quieter areas off arterials. The schedule is for a staff report to Council in July, resulting in referral to a public hearing in September or October 2021. (Note that once a staff report is referred to public hearing, our elected official are effectively prevented from discussing the matter with citizens. Hence the reason for giving this good attention right now, and monitoring the situation going forward.)

In the words of the City, the initiative is “proposing policy and zoning changes to make it easier to build rental housing in more neighbourhoods across Vancouver.”

Policy changes like this require good and careful consideration.

A short list of some concerns or observations people may have about this proposal are:

  • The proposed approach is not neighbourhood-based planning, but arbitrarily imposing the policy across the city without consideration of context.
  • The map that shows areas affected by the policy is symbolic only and it is confusing as to what properties are included.
  • The City has not provided notifications to residents and owners of properties affected by the proposed policy.
  • Proposed policies override community plans and Community Visions.
  • Proposed policies could result in “out-of-scale” buildings relative to the surrounding areas, at 6 storeys plus height for rooftop amenities on arterial roads, and 4 to 5 storeys on blocks just off of arterial roads.
  • There will be impacts on both public and private views.
  • Proposed policies could accelerate land assemblies, affecting up to full blocks.
  • Proposed policies could result in demolition and displacement of existing residents.
  • Buildings up to 4, 5, or 6 storeys will be built beside detached homes.
  • Proposed policies are to reduce front yard and rear yard space, resulting in a larger building footprint, and shadows on adjacent buildings and yards.
  • The proposed policies would waive Development Cost Levies (DCLs) reducing revenues to the City.
  • Less or zero onsite parking requirements.
  • Most of the units resulting from the policy will be rented at market prices. That is, top-of-the-market prices for new builds.
  • Proposed policies would also allow 6 storeys in C2 commercial zones.

Reference:
More information: https://shapeyourcity.ca/rental-rz 

Proposal: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/streamlining-rental-display-boards-May-2021-Section-6.pdf

Eligibility Map (showing areas affected): https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/streamlining-rental-summary.pdf


Take the Survey
https://shapeyourcity.ca/rental-rz?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab
New deadline JULY 27, 2021. [EXTENDED TO JULY 30.]

Send email questions and comments to City staff:  Graham.Anderson@vancouver.ca


If you wish, also copy emails to Council :

kennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca; CLRboyle@vancouver.ca; CLRbligh@vancouver.ca; CLRcarr@vancouver.ca; CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca; CLRdominato@vancouver.ca; CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca; CLRfry@vancouver.ca; CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca; CLRswanson@vancouver.ca; CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca

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Text from official survey website (as of 25-Jun-2021)

As Vancouver grows, we need to ensure there are a variety of housing options to meet the diverse needs and range of household incomes of people who live and work here. Building more secure rental housing in all areas of the city is a critical component to this.

The majority of Vancouver’s households are renters, and the need for secure rental housing has grown as fewer are able afford the rapidly rising costs of homeownership. In the mid 1970s, strata condos began to dominate new apartment construction and almost no new secure rental housing was built in Vancouver for 30 years. These lost decades resulted in a significant shortfall of rental that has contributed to the current housing crisis. While the City introduced incentives for the construction of new rental housing in 2009 that have resulted in some new rental buildings, there is still a lot of catching up required to meet the need rental housing need.

In November 2019, following a 10 year review of the City’s Rental Incentive Programs, Council approved the Secured Rental Policy(External link). This policy consolidates, updates and strengthens rental incentive policies that have been in place in Vancouver for over a decade. The Secured Rental Policy identifies two key changes needed to make it easier to building secure rental housing in Vancouver:

  1. Changes to C-2 zoning to allow new 6 storey rental buildings through the same process as new 4 storey condo buildings (without rezoning)
  2. Changes to policy for rezoning in low-density areas (RS or RT zones) to simplify the process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones, focusing on areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs

Learn more about the proposed actions, share your comments, and attend a virtual information session below.

The updated Secured Rental Policy is the outcome of extensive public and stakeholder consultation over the last 4 yearsincluding what we’ve heard through engagement on the Housing Vancouver Strategy(External link) and 3-Year Action Plan (2017), the Rental Incentive Program Review(External link) (2019), and the Secured Rental Policy implementation work(External link) for C-2 zones and low-density areas (2020).

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Streamlining Rental Survey

We are proposing policy and zoning changes to make it easier to build rental housing in more neighbourhoods across Vancouver. We want to hear from you! We are seeking your input on this work through a short survey. Your feedback will help inform current policy work and be summarized as part of a report to Council in Fall 2021. 

This survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey closes July 27 (deadline extended). [NEW EXTENSION TO JULY 30]

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FAQs

General Questions

  •  

General Questions

  • As Vancouver grows and evolves, we need to ensure there are a variety of housing options that meet the needs of everyone, including housing that is affordable to those who live and work here.
  • An important part of adding variety and filling the significant gap in rental supply (almost no new rental housing was built in Vancouver between 1980 and 2010)- is making it easier to build rental housing across all areas of the city.
  • Additional benefits of adding rental housing around shopping streets with transit is that more residents will be able to live within close proximity of their daily needs.  This will advance our Climate Emergency Action Plan (reducing green house gas pollution) and help create more Complete Neighbourhoods.
  • In 2018, the Province gave municipalities the authority to zone for rental tenure housing in select areas where multi-family housing is allowed. This tool allows municipalities to require new housing to be developed as rental; set different rules that restrict the rental or ownership types of housing units (or forms of tenure) for different zones and locations within a zone; and require that a certain number of housing units in a building be rental.
  • This is the first use of residential rental zoning in Vancouver and we will be applying this tool broadly across commercial areas (C2) as density bonus (up to 6 storeys) to encourage the creation of more rental directly in the zoning.
  • The City is proposing to use the tool to create new “rental zones” to allow rental redevelopments in low density areas. This will enable new apartment and townhouse forms in select low density areas close to shopping and transit.  
  • C2 Areas – The City is using the rental tenure zoning tool to provide a height and density bonus to encourage 6 storey rentals, but existing 4 storey strata will still be allowed.
  • Low Density Areas –  The city is using rental tenure zoning to create a new rezoning option that requires all residential floor area allowed through new zones to be  secured as rental housing.  All of the blocks that are eligible remain under current zoning until and unless a rental rezoning application is approved.
  • A shortened permit approval process for commercial mixed-use areas to allow six-storey rental buildings. With this change, new six-storey rental buildings on commercial streets will follow the same approval process as a four storey condo building, and require a development permit only. This aims to level the playing field between strata and rental developments in C-2.
  • This new approach will make it faster and simpler to build new rental housing by introducing new standard rental zones to regulate the size and shape of rental buildings to replace the current requirement to provide a specific building design at the time of rezoning. Updated site eligibility criteria mean that new rental buildings will be located within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs. New rental buildings up to six storeys will also continue to be allowed in low density areas through rezoning.
  • All C2 properties outside of existing community plan areas will be included in the amendments to C2 zoning to allow 6 storey rental buildings wherever 4 storey strata can be built today.
  • For the low density areas, the City has created a map showing the areas of eligibility for rezoning to rental.   The map is a general illustration, and is meant to be used along with diagrams to identify which blocks would be eligible for rezoning and whether sites can be considered for on or off arterial options.  The latest map update and diagrams can be found in the proposed actions section of this page.
  • If you would like more information on whether your property meets the requirements of the policy please contact us at housingpolicy@vancouver.ca and we will respond by email.

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