Precedent Setting Community Engagement Fuels Unanimous Support For Transit Focused Homes

2103 W Broadway (DP-2018-00488) (Cassis Residences) and 2106 W 8th Ave (DP-2018-00490) (Cassis Townhomes)
This Urban Design Panel meeting was relatively short, but it served as an excellent lesson about who really holds sway over our growing city. It also explained why there hasn’t been much information about the plan to replace the gas station at the corner of Arbutus and West Broadway since Hannah and I learned of it in 2018. That intersection will soon host the terminus of the Millennium Line, but these projects haven’t changed much in response to it.

That’s not to say these volunteers didn’t appreciate the small gestures that have been made, like the new plaza space at this intersection. They hoped other future developments would do the same on their respective corners, and praised the applicants for looking forward to the day Broadway becomes a great street. To that the end, the city has taken 10 feet of this property on Broadway, and an additional 13 on Arbutus, to accommodate bus traffic around the future station’s bus loop.

The applicants have also been forced to forfeit a further 15 feet of property between these buildings as the city intends to connect this to the western laneway, assuming the adjacent property is ever redeveloped. Nonetheless, the interim-lane was described as a very strong, and successful element, and like the public realm, was commended for providing quality pedestrian space, with plenty of seating. The resident’s amenities, which include a pool on the podium’s rooftop (pg 2), similarly won praise from one individual.

Another appreciated the wood soffits beneath the balconies over this space, though the applicant cautioned that a faux material will probably be used instead for fire safety reasons. A lone member worried this range of elements made the design a bit busy, but the majority appreciated how it created the seamless transition, and strong relationship between these two applications. Those ten town-homes didn’t see much discussion, as most of the evening focused on this mid-rise building and the neighbouring properties.

To say this applicant has consulted these residents would be a vast understatement, as they’ve invited them to their office several times, and even participated in meetings at City Hall. This claim was validated by city staff and Brent Toderian, who stated he’s never seen anything like this effort in all his years of experience. Admittedly, that’s not an exact quote, as I was stunned someone of his renown would be attached to these simple projects.

It certainly begs the question of why this review was needed, as the deviations from the C3-A zoning were actually requested by the community. They were more than happy to support a taller slimmer tower, so long as the height of the podium was reduced to prevent shadowing on their backyards. Frankly, one panellist believed an even taller building should be considered here, and I’m curious why the developer doesn’t think that will be possible under the upcoming Broadway Plan.

After all, the panel understood this will become a very important location in our region. Even if senior governments eventually fund the SkyTrain extension to UBC, this station will continue to serve the Arbutus Greenway, and potentially a streetcar line. For these reasons, the panel recognized this precedent setting community consultation by unanimously approving a motion of support without recommendations. You still have a chance to be heard too, when the Development Permit Board decides these projects’ fates on February 8th, 2021.

You can view more photos from this meeting here on our Instagram.

Applicant Team Information:
Developer –
 Bastion Development Corporation
Architects – Francl Architecture Inc.
Landscape Architects – Hapa Collaborative

2 thoughts on “Precedent Setting Community Engagement Fuels Unanimous Support For Transit Focused Homes

Add yours

  1. Need that level of consultation on the proposed SkyTrain Stations. Deadline of Dec. 9 , 2020 for public comments.
    The present stations are not comparable to the beautifull new Stations in Ottawa and Toronto. Can someone wake up at MOTI?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We would love for more people to get involved with both the Broadway Subway, and the Broadway Plan process. The aforementioned Station Design Open House can be found at the link below.

      The concrete box design can be a little brutal, but at least the stations are being designed to be incorporated into future projects, like the one at Granville Street, which should make them more interesting. Thanks for commenting, and encouraging people to get involved.

      Liked by 1 person

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