809 West 23rd Avenue
The last PT Guest Editor wrote about comparing Burnaby’s density to Vancouver’s in Who Does Density Better?.
A 1920s-era church at 23rd Ave & Willow could be saved if it’s turned into 6 townhouses with the flexibility of 4 lock-off suites. It’s 600m from King Edward Station and the neighbours are outraged it will no longer be a Single Family Home (SFH). There seems to be more outrage about this lot than there is about skyscrapers going up in Burnaby.
Let’s start with what we know then learn a bit more:
- Metro Vancouver has mountains to the north, a border to the south, and an ocean to the west. Therefore it can only expand to the east, which it has been doing. We need to limit urban sprawl for all kinds of environmental, health, and economic reasons.
- It is estimated that by 2030 the region’s population will be about 1 million more people than it is today. They will need places to live.
- The City of Vancouver has, for about 2-4 mayors now, been encouraging density and running on platforms of density.
- Friendly-density or “gentle densification” describes alternatives to high-rises such as 3-7 story multi-unit dwellings, townhouses, quadruplexes/fourplexes with a coach house, etc. and this density debate article is more amusing/sad 4 years later, depending on your point of view.
- Transit-oriented development (TOD) “is a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership.”
- The Marpole Community Plan, approved in 2014, allows for RM8 (Townhouse, Rowhouse) and RM9 (Townhouse/Rowhouse/Low-rise).
- The Cambie Corridor Planning Program Phase 3 was approved by City Council in April, 2015. It covers Ontario to Oak Streets, 16th Ave south to the river. Since then the City has held launch events, walking tours, and workshops on Phase 3. It is currently in progress.
- There’s a Cambie Corridor Phase 3 Community Guide. Thomas Beyer, parking permits are on page 69. The saddest page is page 70 which shows all the streets with one or no sidewalks.
- There was an open house in September, 2015. From the City’s website: “Staff have completed their initial review of the rezoning application and have requested revisions to the application including changes to improve the heritage conservation approach, explore further on-site tree retention and improve the relationship of the proposal to the surrounding residential neighbourhood. Once revisions are received staff will notify the public and invite further community feedback.“
- I asked staff what “improve the relationship of the proposal to the…neighbourhood” meant. Basically, due to feedback, revisions have been requested. They want to give people more time to give feedback. They would like to hear from people why this church is worth saving.
- There is still time to provide online feedback on this development application (with no clear deadline in sight).
Hair splitting leads to split ends:
- This property is within the Cambie Corridor near Douglas Park but about 1 block outside the area where changes are likely to be permitted.
- Once Phase 3 is complete, it could be applicable without rezoning but this application was submitted months before the completion of Phase 3.
- The residents who don’t want it say it’s spot zoning.
- The City and developer say it’s not spot zoning it’s an application to rezone from RS-5 (Single Family) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District under the City’s Heritage Policies and Guidelines, including the Heritage Action Plan.
This Vancouver Courier article from October, 2015 explains what’s going on in depth.
What do you think?
SFH – (Single Family Home) is also the abbreviation for at least 2 other meanings. Those who don’t want more density in Vancouver – are they Stronger, Faster, Healthier or So F’ing High?
When people are outraged at building townhouses on a large lot in Vancouver, is it a sign that the reality of density, the people who want different housing options, and the future Vancouverites who don’t usually get a say are winning?