The City of Vancouver has circulated a notice about an Open House for June 11th regarding a block-long rezoning at East 1st Avenue and Clark Drive. On this card, the City asserts that “the application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.” We’ll look at the plan in more detail and examine whether the application actually meets the rezoning criteria. However, first here’s an overview of the Open House and the proposal.
Open House: Monday, June 11, 2018, 5pm to 7:30pm at the Vancouver Community College on 1155 East Broadway (Room 1236, Building B with access off East 7th Avenue).
Applicants: BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the City of Vancouver
Consultant: Brook Pooni Associates Inc.
Architect: HDR l CEI Architecture Associates, Inc.
The proposal consists of three components:
(1) 97 social housing units / rental units (social housing is a mix of rental units available at various affordability levels as defined by the City of Vancouver,)
(2) a relocated detox facility (50 beds) and 20 transitional units
(3) enterprise space at grade along Clark Drive
The maximum height of the building is 100′ (30.5m) at Clark Drive and East 1st Avenue and the floor space ratio is 3.07. The proposal is estimated to cost a total of $81 million. The plan includes a one for one replacement for 17 rental units on the site (in terms of total number of rental units, not area). The agreement between the parties would include a 99-year lease of the City-owned land. Additional details are available on the City’s rezoning centre page.
The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan
The controversial Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was adopted by a majority (but by no means unanimous) vote of City Council on July 28, 2016. The full text of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan is available here. This analysis will examine the maximum density and height allowed for the consideration, as written, under the final text of this plan.
The land use for the site currently includes two different zoning schedules. These are multiple dwelling unit (RM-4N) and light industrial zoning (I-2).
RM-4N includes apartment rental buildings such as the one on the site:
The plan addresses both the industrial and multiple family residential zones areas in this plan. The site is within the area designed by Section 6.4 Britannia-Woodland on page 74 of the plan. The area zoned as industrial is discussed and outlined in section 6.4.4 Clark Industrial on page 83. The text is very specific about not allowing rezoning: “The plan does not contemplate any land use changes in this industrial area”. Here is a screenshot of that part of section 6.4.4:
The remaining part of the site is zoned as 4-storey, RM-4N. The intent of the plan is to keep this zone as 4-storey with the exception of allowing a very limited number of rezonings under a pace of change policy (5 rezonings or the loss of 150 rental units over 3 years). The plan is specific about the criteria for a site to be considered for rezoning. There’s a maximum of 6-storey height, density as measured by floor space ratio of up to 2.4, a maximum building width of 36 metres (118 ft), and a T-shaped typology.
It’s clear that the application doesn’t meet the criteria as set forth in the plan for consideration to be rezoned.
Section 6.4.2 East 1st Avenue speaks to the rezoning criteria (page 79 of the plan).
City both applicant and regulator
The rezoning sign on the property lists the City of Vancouver as an applicant. The City is also the regulator.
As regulator, the City is asserting that the application is being submitted under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. Would an outside opinion be appropriate in this instance? It could be possible to have planning staff from another BC municipality review the application, or have independent consultants look at it?