Vancouver City Council preview for busy week of Jan 16: Chinatown, Renter Office, BC Assessment, renewables, rental rezoning (RR) policies, missing middle housing in low density neighbourhoods, Rupert/Renfrew, Atira, 47 storeys in West End, CVN, and more

Vancouver City Council 2022 to 2026

Vancouver City Council has a busy week ahead, the week of January 16, 2023. See agendas at this link (https://covapp.vancouver.ca/councilMeetingPublic/CouncilMeetings.aspx). This is the first full week back in the Council Chambers for this new year, and a new beginning for ABC Vancouver which was elected in the October civic election with a whole new mandate. They made many promises to voters to win a supermajority and wipe out most contenders. Voters wanted major change from the way things were headed under former mayor Kennedy Stewart, with planning and development issues being a major issue. In the coming weeks, the public will get a better sense of the direction under mayor Ken Sim.

Aside from City Hall, the first Park Board meeting of the year is Jan 16 (Mon), with the main agenda item being a “Think Big” Revenue Strategy, already well covered in the media.

The actual timing of items getting onto the Council agenda is largely driven by City staff, particularly when it comes to planning and development policies and proposal. In that context, regarding Rental Rezoning (RR) policies and referral reports to send two projects forward to public hearing, the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) has written to Council calling for the newly elected ABC Council to make good on election promises, hold back the referrals, and rather, to revisit policies that were developed under Kennedy Stewart. See that letter (PDF) below, citing the “Our Communities Our Plans” petition (currently at 4,880 signatures) of Vancouverites opposed to arbitrary rezoning policies and calling for proper neighbourhood-based planning.

Regular Council (Jan 17/Tues) has Uplifting Chinatown Action Plan, Renter Office update and direction, Auditor General committee recommendations, green buildings, a motion on Increasing the Climate-Smart Supply of Renewable Energy in Vancouver, and more on the agenda. The planning department has been busy, as there are also major referral reports (to public hearing) for developments at 1925 Southeast Marine Drive, 2518-2540 Grandview Highway South, 1977 West 41st/5688 Maple, 6151-6261 Granville/1511 West 47th, 396 Southwest Marine Drive, 691 West 28th, and 8029-8225 Oak/1012 West 64th. Citizens are urged to read the documents and write to Council with comments or concerns. Will the ABC council signal new directions for planning and development?

Council Committee (Jan 18/Wed) has 2023 assessment roll presentation by BC Assessment Authority, a presentation (no public info available until afterward) on “Adding Missing Middle Housing and Simplifying Regulations in Low Density Neighbourhoods” (which will merit a careful review once it’s made public), a presentation on “Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan Update” (no info available until afterward), Granville Street Planning Program – Terms of Reference and Interim Rezoning Policies, SRO Upgrade Grant to Atira Women’s Resource Society and Single Room Accommodation (SRA) Conversion Permit to Porte Communities for 208 East Georgia Street (formerly the London Hotel), and more.

There are two public hearings, some for major developments. Jan 17 (Tues) is for 1063-1075 Barclay Street (47 storeys in the West End for 285 strata condo and 87 social housing units, FSR 19.10, see also https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/1063-1075-barclay-st), and 5562-5688 Manson Street near Cambie and 41st (two 18-storey towers, 392 rental units, FSR 5.97, see also https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/5562-5688-manson-st). The Jan 19 (Thurs) public hearing is for 3575-3655 Kaslo Street, 3580-3644 Slocan Street and 2755 East 21st Avenue (a three-storey B.C. Children’s Hospital complex care transition facility to support children and youth, see also https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/3575-3655-kaslo-st), and 7057–7075 Oak Street and 1015 West 54th Avenue (to change zoning from RS-1 (Residential) to RM-8AN (Residential) for townhouse or rowhouse development up to 3 storeys, under the Cambie Corridor Plan, and no design details are included, see also https://www.shapeyourcity.ca/rezoning-application-7057-7075-oak-st-1015-w-54-ave). Just a few days prior to, only a few items of public correspondence have been posted online for the first, and zero for the second public hearing. Does this mean the public is not aware, is disengaged, feels no interest either way? Or something else?

Below is the CVN letter to Council regarding Rental Rezoning (RR) policies and two concrete applications staff are recommending be moved forward to public hearing.

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