Vancouver Plan Update (July 21): Rezoning before planning and consultation puts cart before the horse

The “Vancouver Plan Update and Quick Start Actions” staff report goes to City Council on July 21, 2021 at 9:30 am. Staff are perpetuating the former Vision Vancouver council’s tradition of bringing the most controversial issues forward during the summer holiday season in July, when the public is not paying attention.

City staff are “looking for direction” from Council to implement rezonings before basic initial planning and meaningful consultation have been done. We take the view that this attempt by staff is entirely premature and the report should be referred back to staff for more work on the Vancouver Plan process. That is supposed to produce a comprehensive citywide plan for Vancouver. Not enough has been done for staff to justify their recommendations for significant zoning bylaw changes that have citywide implications.

So far staff have focused mainly on consulting with what they deem to be “under represented” groups and individuals while ignoring most of the broader population of the city. It is important to make sure all voices are heard, but this approach is, ironically, excluding most of the people who live here.

There are two very important steps that are required before planning can begin, neither of which has happened yet. These steps are needed in order to inform public consultations and any proposed actions.

1. Provide the Data – The City should provide transparent data, as directed by Council over a year ago but still not provided, of how much current housing capacity is in the city, both existing zoned capacity and how many units are in process “in the pipeline.”  This data should then be compared to growth projections to determine how many dwelling units are needed, citywide and by neighbourhood.

2. Recalibrate the Vancouver Housing Targets – Council directed that the requested data above be used to recalibrate the Housing Targets declared by the City, 72,000 units, a number that is currently almost three times what would be justified by census data (25,000 units), and over double the Regional Growth Strategy (Metro Vancouver) projections (32,000 units).

“Quick Start Actions”: Rezoning before planning and consultation

Staff are asking our elected officials to approve staff recommendations to go ahead with rezonings that effectively implement the former Vision council’s policies and programs. This is despite the fact that voters gave Vison an absolute and outright rejection in the 2018 civic election, wiping them completely off City Council after a ten-year majority. And worse, this staff report seeks to have Council move citywide rezoning “Quick Start Actions” ahead prior to basic proper analysis or public consultation having been done on the citywide Vancouver Plan.

Below is a summary of what staff are recommending, along with links to our previous coverage regarding just some of the problems and concerns with the topics.

1. Staff are recommending that Council direct staff to report back with proposed by-law amendments for consideration of referral to public hearing in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021, on the following:

  • “Downtown Eastside Policy Updates to Increase Social Housing Initiative”

2. Staff are recommending that Council approve the following immediately:

3.  Status updates on the Vancouver Plan Quick Start Actions:

  • Employment Lands and Economy Review

*********

Meeting agenda (July 21, 2021, Item 1): https://council.vancouver.ca/20210721/cfsc20210721ag.htm

Staff report (PDF, 79 pages): https://council.vancouver.ca/20210721/documents/cfsc1.pdf

If you have any comments for Council, you can submit text directly to the City website. Go to the “meeting agenda” page above for instructions on how to write or speak to Council. In addition, see our “Contact” page

Below is the text of exactly what staff are recommending (bold for emphasis).

Report RECOMMENDATIONS (by staff)  https://council.vancouver.ca/20210721/documents/cfsc1.pdf

A. THAT Council receive for information the Vancouver Plan Phase 2 Engagement Summary, as attached in Appendix A.

B. THAT Council endorse the updated scope of work and engagement strategy for the remainder of the Vancouver Plan process.

C. THAT, as Vancouver Plan Quick Start Actions, Council direct staff to report back with proposed by-law amendments for consideration of referral to public hearing in Q4 of 2021, the following:

Streamlining Rental Initiative as set out in Appendix B; and

Downtown Eastside Policy Updates to Increase Social Housing Initiative as

set out in Appendix C.

D. THAT, as an immediate Vancouver Plan Quick Start Action, Council approve amendments to the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP), as set out in Appendices D and E, that will:

• Update the affordability requirements;

• Exclude eligibility in certain zones; and

Extend the opportunity for staff to consider new proposals until January 31, 2022, to enable up to 20 total rezoning applications.

E. THAT Council receive for information the status updates on the Vancouver Plan Quick Start Actions related to the Employment Lands and Economy Review, as set out in Appendices F, G and H.

Click to access cfsc1.pdf

One thought on “Vancouver Plan Update (July 21): Rezoning before planning and consultation puts cart before the horse

  1. Pingback: Council and Park Board Preview July 21-23: Vancouver Plan Update and Quick Starts, Equity Framework, Skateboard amenities strategy, and more | CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions

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