November 5th, 2019 Public Hearing – Vancouver Challenges Burnaby’s Definition Of Transit-Orientated Housing

November 5th, 2019 Public Hearing
The announcement of an 82 floor skyscraper near Burnaby’s Lougheed Town Centre station was the big story last week, but the fate of two similar projects in Vancouver might be this week’s. That said, the only thing Items 3 and 4 have common with that development are their proximity to rapid transit, as they are only four floors tall.

Items 5 and 6 are unlikely to generate much attention either, as both have just six floors, offer little to no parking, and are located along Hastings Street. The former seeks to add new affordable senior’s housing to the Downtown East Side, while the later will create 47 new rental homes near the PNE. Of course, there are also the usual Cambie Corridor townhouse applications too.

Perhaps the most important item is a simple text amendment to limit the depth that basement suites can be sunken into the ground. Not only does this make these spaces more livable, it also limits the amount of excavation needed for new sewer infrastructure, which could save the city millions of dollars in construction costs (pg 7).

Backlash Expectations

Item 3 – 620-644 West King Edward Avenue and 4111 Ash StreetVery Low
Most neighbours only want the right to build similar structures on their property

Item 4 – 582-588 West King Edward AvenueVery Low
To ease the concerns of a couple people, city staff have lowered the height of this four floor building

Item 5 – 835-837 East Hastings StreetVery Low
Who would oppose below-market seniors housing in the Downtown Eastside?

Item 6 – 2601-2619 East Hastings StreetVery Low
Six floor rental buildings are very common in this area

620-644 West King Edward Ave and 4111 Ash St - Render.jpg

-Source (pg 3)

The Third Item – 620-644 West King Edward Avenue and 4111 Ash Street

What is it?:
This proposal will offer 57 strata homes, split between a pair of four storey buildings, and a row of three storey townhomes, as prescribed by the Cambie Corridor Plan.

Where is it?:
Here, one block away from the Canada Line’s King Edward station, across the road from the fourth item.

Is this the first concept?:
No. there have been some changes to improve the layout of the homes and hallways. While the total number of homes has dropped, the size of those that remain has been increased, as most now either have a den or a second bedroom.

What was the open house like?:
Though 992 notices were sent out, only 28 people attended this event at Phoenix Gymnastics (pg 8). Most were probably parents waiting for their child’s gym class to end, as only four comment cards were filled out.

What are its strengths?:
Adding more housing near a Canada Line station is always a plus, and this project does offer a variety of types.

What are its weaknesses?:
The strict Cambie Corridor design guidelines have once again forced a very plain look. That plan also feels like it allows too little housing here. As for things the applicant can control, the Urban Design Panel recommended improvements to the building’s character, and hoped to see a green roof added (pg 16).

What is the opposition like?:
There has been none. The only comments received so far are that additional blocks should be allowed to upzone to townhomes, as those homeowners would like to cash out (pg 8).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

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The Fourth Item – 582-588 West King Edward Avenue

What is it?:
This proposal will offer 36 strata homes, split between a four-storey building, and a row of 2.5 floor townhomes, as prescribed by the Cambie Corridor Plan.

Where is it?:
Here, one block away from the Canada Line’s King Edward station, across the road from the third item.

Is this the first concept?:
No, there have been some minor changes to the lobby, rooftop, landscape, and colour palette.

What was the open house like?:
Though 765 notices were mailed out, only 14 people attended this event at Phoenix Gymnastics (pg 8). Most were parents trying to entertain children while their siblings practised gymnastics. That said, a few people were concerned the proposed height would effect the redevelopment value of their properties.

What are its strengths?:
The inclusion of a smaller enclosed space with washrooms really improves the rooftop amenity space. The Urban Design Panel felt there was no faults with the proposal, and we think it has nice colour palette.

What are its weaknesses?:
Like the previous proposal, it’s questionable whether allowing only 36 homes this close to a Canada Line station will be appropriate in the long term.

What is the opposition like?:
Very small, but effective. In response to concerns about whether the height and character are appropriate, staff have added conditions to this approval to reduce the building’s size by lowering the ceiling heights (pg 9).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

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The Fifth Item – 835-837 East Hastings Street

What is it?:
39 non-market homes for seniors in a six floor building with retail space at the ground level.

Where is it?:
Here, a block west of the Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre.

What was the open house like?:
Though 2,260 notice cards were sent out, only 46 people attended this event (pg 34). We probably missed the main rush, but most people we saw either supported these homes, or wanted housing for their respective age group.

What are its strengths?:
Affordable housing for seniors is a huge benefit. The history of the property owner, the Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada, will be reflected in the appearance, as the proposal has been designed to invoke Chinatown’s HA-1A design guidelines.

What are its weaknesses?:
The Urban Design Panel offered several recommendations on how to better accommodate seniors residents, and also hoped a rooftop amenity could be added.

What is the opposition like?:
There hasn’t been much, but some hoped to see more parking included. Others were concerned this non-profit association wasn’t being transparent enough (pg 35).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

2601 E Hastings St - Render.jpg

-Source

The Sixth Item – 2601-2619 East Hastings Street

What is it?:
A six floor building providing 47 rental homes under the Rental 100 program. It is also voluntarily preserving part of the Swanson Residence.

Where is it?:
Here, a block south of Hastings Elementary, a school who’s enrollment is projected to fall to 67% of its capacity by 2027 (pg 4).

Is this the first concept?:
No, the original application in January 2018 envisioned a structure built from concrete. However, in March 2019, a revised proposal for a wood building was submitted (pg 6).

What was the open house like?:
Even though 1,350 notices were sent out, only 19 people attended this event at Hastings Community Centre (pg 34). Though we weren’t among them, it sounds like the night was uneventful.

What are its strengths?:
It improves this stretch of Slocan Avenue with a new public space. It preserves part of a unique example of Mission Revival style architecture in Vancouver.

What are its weaknesses?:
It’s been almost two years since its pre-application open house in December 2017, so to compensate for these delays, rents might be higher than originally planned. Though not on the Heritage Register, the Vancouver Heritage Commission refused to support this development (pg 2).

What is the opposition like?:
There appears to be very little. A scattering of comments were opposed to the height, but only one person was worried that it would set a precedent in the area (pg 35).

Want To Speak Up?:
Email your thoughts to City Council at publichearing@vancouver.ca. or register to speak in person here.

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