Thanks to Linda Heese for the detailed report:
The meeting was about a proposal for a development at 161 East Keith Road – south-east corner of the park.
I am very glad I went. The meeting was run by a facilitator – Catherine – who did an excellent job. The architect – Micheal Katz – has been hired by the property owners to come up with a redevelopment plan. Micheal did the architectural work for the Barraclough Block – which was rebuilt after a fire in 1997. (It is on the NW corner of Lonsdale and about 2nd. – I have always thought this was really well done.) There is no builder selected at this time.
There has not been any development application submitted to the City (Carl Purvis – City Planner was there)- this was a very early input session to show a suggestion of what might be built and get a feel for what the community response would be. It is really good to be able to have discussions at such an early stage!
The piece of property is very small – about 90′ x 140′. The concept is to build an 18 story building – 150′ high, combination rental and strata title although the strata would all be owned by the owners (FDG Property Management Ltd – apparently a North Van family) and it would start out as an all rental building. FDG would purchase an adjacent piece of the boulevard greenspace to build underground parking, then redo the ground level and give this back to the City.
If just the original property is used for calculation, the FSR for this is something like 6; if the additional property is added the calculation comes to a 4.2 FSR.
According to the OCP, the FSR for buildings in this area is 2.3 and the height is 46 m = 150 feet.
Apparently the planning people have told Michael that the City is interested in increasing the number of rental properties and that density bonusing can be used to help make such a project possible.
There were about 20 people present. Several owners of adjacent apartment buildings – these are rentals on either side. There were other people that live in buildings in the vicinity like ourselves.
My reaction is, of course, that here is yet another project heading our way that far exceeds the FSR. I explained my concerns to Micheal, and told him how unhappy and frustrated the community is to continuously see proposals in our neighbourhoods that exceed the OCP. The owners of the adjacent buildings are really upset with the size that this building would be and what it would do to their properties. I also questioned the City direction about needing so many more rental units. There are so many condos in the City that are sitting empty and lots of condo units have been purchased by people who intend to rent them. He was surprised with this input. He seems like an excellent person, listens well and wants to build a building that will be top-notch and add to the neighbourhood.
That is a summary of the meeting. I have a comment form to fill in and return by Dec. 25th. There is a project website: www.161eastkeith.com