CityHallWatch case study: Rezoning at 1569 West 6th Avenue (October 21, 2010)
This is the first controversial rezoning chosen by CityHallWatch as a case study. As (volunteer) time permits, we will continue to analyze the information presented to council, and follow the development process, so that Vancouver citizens can learn from the process.
- Video stream of the public hearing: Click here and follow instructions.
- Official minutes of the meeting are on the City website. Click here.
- Three slide shows from citizen presentations at the public hearing are posted below for your viewing.
The rezoning at 1569 West 6th Avenue was for a 15-storey tower by Westbank Projects Corp. and Peterson Investment Group, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects. Council heard 19 speakers all except one against the rezoning. After hearing speakers on the Tuesday night, the Mayor deferred the council decision to Thursday, October 21, 2011, at a 9:30 am meeting.
SELECTED COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM CITIZENS AFTER PUBLIC HEARING:
- From a local resident to Mayor and Council shortly after the Council decision to approve the rezoning: Rezoned in October 2010. 5 story rezoned to 15-storeys with additional density bonus developer brought in from other part of the city, violated the Burrard Slopes planning guidelines. 200 people signed a petition against. Of the tens of speakers who spoke, only one was in favor, thought to be an employee associated with the developer. A local leader wrote Mayor and Council: I am voicing these for those citizens in the community who feel crushed and felt abandoned after the City Council meeting for this decision on this development and other developments like this. But sadly enough the development will move forward and this email will be forgotten …and parking, density, congestion, safety issues will cascade down to the next generation of elected civil officials.
- The staff report reminds me of certain ‘scientists’ doing experiments. Perhaps they are almost like scientists fixing the results of an experiment in advance to get the desired result. This goes against the idea of the scientific method where you look at a problem with an open mind, do your investigations, and draw your conclusions based on these investigations. Staff have conveniently ignored the concerns of the residents, the character of the neighbourhood, history of the site, street level views and their own principles for planning the Burrard slopes and then conclude they recommend the development to go forward.
- One thing that I think here is key, is the fact that ‘discretionary’ zoning must be used with discretion. After seeing the site context, it is apparent that this neighbourhood is predominantly low and medium rise. A highrise does not fit here into the context. This means that you need to use discretionary height with discretion. Here based on the character of the neighbourhood and the principles identified in the Burrard slopes document, the extra height should be refused. Refusing the discretionary height, and permitting density on a low rise form is the correct call. The overwhelming majority of members of the public in attendance last night could see this for themselves.