City failed to notify tens of thousands of residents in one-family (RS-1) zones: Public Hearing Sept 18 for citywide zoning changes

 

CoV zoning districts from RS-1 poster Sept 2018, Making Room

Map by City of Vancouver. RS-1 (one family) zones are light peach/yellow colour.

 

A concerned citizen notified CityHallWatch that residents in RS-1 zones did not receive direct notification regarding the Public Hearing (tomorrow) and proposed zoning changes that will affect 68,000 properties as part of the City’s “Making Room Housing Program.”

How can people have a say if they have not been given notice the changes are coming?” (concerned citizen, Rebecca)

In Vancouver, one-family (RS-1) zoning districts account for 57% of the city (see map, light- peach/yellow zones).

The final Public Hearing of the current city council starts tomorrow, September 18 at 3 pm. (Note that nearly the entire council will change in the Oct 20 civic election.) The fifth item on the agenda is “REZONING: Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice.”

Public Hearing, September 18, 2018, starting at 3 pm. Click here for agenda and documents, and instructions on how to speak or write to City Council. Follow meeting progress on Twitter at @VanCityClerk:
https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/phea20180918ag.htm

The set of official documents was made public online for the first time only on Thursday, September 13, just three business days before the Public Hearing.

There may be both merits and demerits to the proposed zoning changes, but the fact that affected residents have not been fairly and properly notified is a serious problem. People may wish to write to Council with their concerns.

The purported rationale for this zoning change is to create “affordable” housing and offer more housing choices. From CoV information posters: “The proposal for duplexes will allow for an increase in supply of housing in low-density areas, and a new duplex unit is typically more affordable than a new single-family house.” Staff reports make some assumptions and claims, however, it appears the City has not done any real modeling on many aspects of this proposed change: Increased demolitions, evictions, neighbourhood disruptions, impacts on property assessments (up? or down?), impacts on property taxes (up? or down?) and so on. Will the additional supply from zoning changes really be more “affordable”? And how does the City know that?

There has been limited media coverage of the proposed changes in RS-1 zoning districts. The City did hold four information sessions on the RS-1, which according to “City Duo” blog were not well attended and there were “plenty of spare staff standing around bored.” Probably because very few of the affected residents had been notified about the sessions.  Continue reading

Vancouver city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning without giving citizens a say (Elizabeth Murphy, Vancouver Sun)

City HallThis opinion piece is in the print edition of Vancouver Sun – page B2 on Saturday, September 15, 2018 (and in the Province on Sept 14). Reprinted here with permission. The Public Hearing for these topics comes up in less than 3 days, on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. Info here: https://council.vancouver.ca/20180918/phea20180918ag.htm. The author is encouraging concerned citizens to write or speak to Council.

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“The City of Vancouver is on a mad rush job to rezone Kitsilano and Cedar Cottage in a move that will only benefit developers.”

https://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/elizabeth-murphy-vancouver-city-hall-is-slamming-through-destructive-new-zoning-without-giving-citizens-a-say

By Elizabeth Murphy

Vancouver Sun – Updated: September 14, 2018

Broadway will soon experience development similar to what is happening along the Cambie Corridor, which is mostly unaffordable, argues project manager and former city property development officer Elizabeth Murphy.

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Recent information on the costs of transit and utility upgrades for growth raise concerns and questions. What is becoming clearer is how much the public is being asked to subsidize the transit providers and development industries that benefit from these plans while making life less affordable, livable and sustainable for people.

Neighbourhoods are being rezoned in an incompetent, mad rush to accommodate this growth agenda — most of which is unaffordable and unnecessary to meet population growth — without community involvement or adequate consideration of the impacts on finances, society or the environment. This is not in the public interest.

It is the result of big money controlling governments, especially at the civic level, where developer funding of elections has resulted in their overbearing influence on housing and development policies. Although there have been recent changes to campaign financing rules, this influence still exists.

The costs of the Broadway subway, from VCC-Clark Drive station to Arbutus, have ballooned to almost $500 million per kilometre for the 5.7 kilometres — to $2.83 billion. The current funding split is 31 per cent federal, 41 per cent provincial and 28 per cent regional, a long way from the original 40-40-20 split previously confirmed by governments.

Now the region, mostly Vancouver, will have to come up with much more funding to cover its portion, partly as property tax revenue. Transit is primarily a federal and provincial funding responsibility so the increased burden on municipalities takes away from their ability to finance municipal services. It is a form of downloading. Continue reading

Info meeting tonight: Zoning changes in Kensington-Cedar Cottage (6-Sep-2018, Thurs)

CoV RT-10 Kensington Cedar Cottage info mtg 6-Sep-2018

The City of Vancouver is holding a public info session as follows.

Proposed Zoning Changes in Kensington-Cedar Cottage
Thursday, September 6, 2018, 5 – 8 pm
Trout Lake Community Centre
Grandview Room
3360 Victoria Drive

Below is a link to the explanatory letter from the City to residents.

CoV letter card RT-10 Kensington Cedar Cottage 6-Sep-2018

Public Hearing 18-Sep-2018 (Tues): Citywide rezoning RS (one family) for duplexes, rezoning RT-7, RT-8 (Kits) RT-10 RT-10N (KCC), Former Main Post Office, East Fraser Lands, Alberni/Nicola, etc.

Here is a scanned image (from the Vancouver Courier Sept 6 print edition) of the agenda for the September 18, 2018 (Tuesday) Public Hearing, the last one scheduled under the current regime.

The complete agenda documents will only be made public here a few days in advance, according to standard City practice. However, you can find information on some of these projects on the Rezoning Applications website (vancouver.ca/rezapps).

CoV Public Hearing notice Courier for 18-Sep-2018 Continue reading

Updated: City Hall quietly cancels several Public Hearing nights in September, ahead of upcoming Sept 18 mystery changes to procedure bylaw

CoV public hearings cancelled Sept 2018

(Update at top with new information from City of Vancouver Corporate Communications)
(Update at bottom regarding agenda for Sep 18 Public Hearing)

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6-Sep-2018. At noon today we received an e-mail from Jag Sandhu, Corporate Communications, regarding this post. The actual text is provided at the bottom of this post. The gist is that
(1) the extra Public Hearing dates were cancelled “as staff are confident that the scheduled items can be heard on the already scheduled dates,” and
(2) amendments to the Procedure Bylaw were not yet ready so will not be coming forward on September 18, but instead going to the new Council [which comes in after the Oct 20 election]. They will include “several administrative amendments to clarify and improve on existing language throughout the bylaw” plus a few substantive amendments such as adding “procedures for electronic meetings and procedures to improve conduct at meetings.” More details will be available in the coming weeks.

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Original post:

As of today, the City of Vancouver meetings web page shows three cancelled (Sep 14, 17, 27) Public Hearing nights during September, leaving just two remaining during the current regime at City Hall (Sep 5 and Sep 18). Earlier, a Sep 6 Public Hearing night had been slated as well. It has disappeared. Why were all these nights added originally, and why they have been cancelled?

There appear to be secret plans to change the rules that govern Public Hearings.

In the morning of September 18, Regular Council might change Public Hearing rules, which could go into effect immediately, for Public Hearing that very night. What surprises could be in store?

On July 24, the Council agenda included the following public notice, but the City has rejected FOI requests by citizens asking specifically what changes to the governing Vancouver Charter are being planned:

PUBLIC NOTICE – Pursuant to Section 164.1(2) of the Vancouver Charter, public notice is hereby given that Council will give consideration to amend Procedure By-law No. 9756 at the Regular Council meeting on September 18, 2018.

The Procedure By-law, among other things, governs how Public Hearings are conducted.

Is it possible the outgoing Vision Vancouver regime plans to change the rules to weaken the role of Public Hearings and public input that day and after the October 20 civic election? Is that perhaps why the rash of Public Hearings that were slated for September have been cancelled? Does Vision plan to cut off the speakers list at Public Hearings? Reduce the time allotted to each speaker? Or eliminate speakers entirely?

The answers to these questions might only be known on September 18.

Revised here: The topics for the September 18 Public Hearing are available in print in the Vancouver Courier as of September 6. RS zone (single family) mass rezoning is definitely on the table. The City may have backup nights reserved after September 18, but we haven’t confirmed that. See image below for agenda. Continue reading

Residents’ association concerns + questions: Proposed rezoning of RT-7 & RT-8 (two family) districts in Kitsilano

CoV proposed RT-7 RT-8 zoning changes kitsilano info meeting 5-Sep-2018

Notice card from CoV

(Updated with additional questions for the City at bottom.)

The City of Vancouver is proposing significant zoning amendments to the RT-7 & RT-8 (two family) districts in Kitsilano. An official information session is set for September 5, 2018 and the Public Hearing is set for September 18. That will be the last Public Hearing under the current regime at City Hall. See official details in our post here: https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/cov-info-zoning-amendments-rt7-rt8-kitsilano/

For decades the West Kitsilano Residents Association has advocated for the community and provided input into planning for the neighbourhood. A few months ago the City first let it be known that these amendments were being considered. WKRA promptly did an analysis and contacted the City raising concerns and seeking clarifications. As of today September 5, the City has NOT answered any of their questions. The lack of communication and transparency, and the speed with which the City is moving on this gives cause for concern. Their top five concerns are as follows: (1) lack of consultation or public process; (2) loss of green space, sunlight, and privacy; (3) loss of affordable rental Units; (4) removal of design control for new development; and (5) standardized front yards.

Download and print PDF for questioning City staff: WKRA comments on RT7 RT8 rezoning Sept 2018

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West Kitsilano Residents Association – Rezoning Comments

The following issues have been identified by our Association as just some of the  numerous issues that are of particular concern. (Since, despite more than one letter and many questions,  we have not received any answers from the City, this analysis is based on what we know so far.)

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1. Lack of Consultation or public process: This lack of any consultation before referral to public hearing is unprecedented to our knowledge. We must demand a proper consultation with neighbourhood residents. Our current by-law was developed over five years with full neighbourhood participation, extensive streetscape, architectural and economic analysis, and a referendum showing strong neighbourhood support. Our current zoning has been considered a model by many urban experts because it allows for recycling and retention of character houses, density and a mix of unit types including rental, while allowing compatible new design on non-character sites. This proposed rezoning to RT5 (a zone developed for areas of East Vancouver) has been hastily put together behind closed doors.

Continue reading

Info meeting tonight: Zoning amendments in RT-7 & RT-8 (two family) districts in Kitsilano (5-Sep-2018, Wed)

CoV proposed RT-7 RT-8 zoning changes kitsilano info meeting 5-Sep-2018

Notice posted on City of Vancouver website

Any time a municipal government does a mass rezoning is a good time for everyone to have a good look for all the pros and cons, intended and unintended consequences, purpose and possible outcomes.

In the lead-up to a Public Hearing on September 18 (starting 3 pm), the City of Vancouver has mailed notices to addresses in Kitsilano about this info session:

Public Information Meeting
Proposed Zoning Amendments – RT-7 & RT-8 (Two-Family) Districts in Kitsilano
Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 5 – 8 pm
St. James Community Square, Mel Lehan Hall
3214 West 10th Avenue

Below is a PDF scan plus selected text from the RT-7 and RT-8 cover letter and post card plus info on the Public Hearing. Download: CoV letter card RT-7 RT-8 zoning kitsilano meeting 5-Sep-2018

We provide a separate post with an info sheet listing concerns from the West Kitsilano Residents Association, which has been involved for decades in neighbourhood issues in the affected area: https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/wkra-comment-rezoning-rt7-rt8/

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Excerpts of City’s notification letter:

August 28, 2018
Dear Occupant: 
RE: Proposed Amendments to RT-7 and RT-8 (two-family) Zoning in Kitsilano

I am writing to inform you of actions that are underway to improve housing choice in your neighbourhood. These early actions were endorse by Council in June 2018 as part of the Making Room housing program which seeks to deliver on the housing priorities identified in the Housing Vancouver Strategy and Three-Year Action Plan. Continue reading