Letter to Council – concerns about Densification

We have received a copy of the following letter from Kerry Morris with permission from the authors to circulate, together with the following statement:

We are concerned about densification, and have expressed our opposition. We are particularly concerned about potentially misleading statements as to the outcome of proposed densification amendments and with flaws in the rezoning process. We hadn’t thought about the impact of densification on our taxes but it makes sense to capitalise the future benefit in the present value. Attached is a letter to council outlining our concerns. We’re ok with legislative change provided the information on which the change is based is complete and unbiased.

 

Letter to Council sent Mar 31 2104:

RE: Proposed Change to Official Community Plan (OCP) to permit Secondary Suites and Coach Houses for Single Family Dwellings

Dear Council of the City of North Vancouver,

As long-time residents of North Vancouver (> 50 years), we are OPPOSED to permitting both secondary suites and coach houses for Single Family dwellings. While providing obvious windfall benefits to developers, this densification

 – does not make housing more affordable since the increased revenue stream from the rental units is capitalized in a higher selling price that is captured by the developer, not the subsequent homeowner

– ironically creates pressure to knock down existing dwellings designed and built for “single families” and replace them with those built for “multiple families

– places additional burdens on limited infrastructure (e.g parking, transportation, hospitals, parks, etc.) from higher densities of people

– changes the feel from an open, green community to a crowded, high-density city

Densification would be further magnified by the trend to sub-divide city lots. The 60 x 140 lot at 15th and Jones was recently sub-divided and the original development proposal called for a house with a legal suite and a coach house on each lot. This would have meant a lot that previously had a single family could have up to six families. Low density residential indeed. The proposal was rejected by the community.

Council should really consider not using the term “Single Family Dwelling,” which normally means one family, and instead refer to this zoning as “Low Density Residential,” which currently means up to two families.

While it may be correct to state that the majority of participants in the CityShaping process supported this provision,” it is misleading to Council and to residents who may infer that this represents the views of residents of the City of North Vancouver. This inference cannot be drawn because participants in the process do not constitute a statistically representative sample of residents. In fact, the process is potentially open to bias. Those with a financial interest in zoning changes have an incentive to influence the process, and can potentially influence the result since the rate of participation can be low.

We hope that Council would not allow themselves to be misled or to mislead the voters in the City of North Vancouver. We suggest that staff consult a statistician if they wish to survey residents, and that they do not draw quantitative inferences from qualitative data. The cost would be modest and the benefits significant. This investment would improve the quality of information for decisions and the credibility of Council.

This is an important change to the OCP and Council should ensure representative input. Asking for input doesn’t do that. Council should properly survey residents,or simply allow them to vote on the proposed change. If permitted to vote, we would vote no.

Teresa A Betts
Gregory J Steer
Nicola A Steer

.

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