Tag Archives: City Shaping

Neighbourhood plan for Moodyville East

Quoting from the North Shore News today:

Imagine a walkable, rideable European-inspired neighbourhood, replete with built-in amenities, greenways and trail access, car-sharing and unique sustainable housing types geared towards families. Welcome to Moodyville East.

Brent Toderian, speaking on behalf of developer Seacliff Properties, made a presentation to council Monday updating plans for the swath of land located east of St. Davids Avenue and south of East Second Street that’s a sub-area of the larger Moodyville planning area.

“We describe it as perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity and maybe these kinds of conditions don’t even come along that often,” he said. “We start off with this unprecedented land assembly… as a city planner I’ve referred to this kind of opportunity as a unicorn in the past because it almost doesn’t exist.”

Seacliff has assembled 52 of the 60 lots in the 8.5-acre area and preliminary plans call for the creation of 340 new units.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting opportunity that other jurisdictions will look to because the common narrative is that you can’t assemble single detached lots and do this type of thing and the City of North Vancouver may be the first municipality to prove that suggestion wrong,” said Toderian, of Toderian Urbanworks.

According to the city’s community development department, the assembly of lands in the area represents the largest assembly in the city since the early 1980s and creates special opportunities for the city and the applicant. “…there’s an opportunity on the City’s side to increase neighbourhood walkability and to provide enhanced universal access on the Spirit Trail between Lower Lonsdale and Moodyville Park.” During his presentation, Toderian discussed the idea of “amenities built in.”

Along with working with city staff on a realigned and improved Spirit Trail in the area he discussed incorporating the Dutch “woonerf model” in the development – which creates living streets as shared social spaces that are used by pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

“The idea of treating lanes as not just places to move and park cars but an actual amenity area particularly for families – we are very excited about piloting this maybe for the first time a Canadian city to do a true woonerf,” Toderian said.

Plans also call for creating community green spaces, such as gardens, and breaking up larger blocks through pedestrian pathways and connections and greater greenway passages linking to the Spirit Trail.

“So the point is we are trying to build amenity into the neighbourhood. As we densify we make this that density is livable through these kinds of amenities.”

The project is also focused on being a model green community and is exploring the possibility of incorporating “passive housing,” which are ultra low-energy units.

“We want to take an approach that looks at the best ideas for a made-in-North Vancouver solution to something that could be a model not only for the city but beyond.”

Also important, said Toderian, is offering a rich variety of housing types, including stacked townhouses, row houses and townhouses, affordable options lock-off suites “We’re emphasizing families in particular but also methods of affordability.”

Coun. Rod Clark worried about the loss of affordable housing in the Moodyville area with new development. “Going forward I would like to know what you will have in the way of rental units and how affordable they are going to be.”

Coun. Pam Bookham asked about the plan to address the issue between the residential interface and the waterfront industrial areas “which basally gave rise to this whole change.”

“We’re trying to do a design that recognizes that the neighbourhood used to look in that direction, the view has now been affected, the intensity of the industrial uses has been increased and so we’d be looking for creative ways to not only soften that impact, address issues through the design of the units… and essentially reorient the relationship inward towards the neighbourhood because it used to be views outward and now we are looking for a design that’s about amenities internal to the neighbourhood. So it’s a bit of rethink,” said Toderian.

Moodyville pre-zoning will be brought to a public hearing in early 2016. Specific details on the southeast Moodyville sub-area development and design controls will be available when bylaws are brought to council for first reading.

 

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/neighbourhood-plan-for-moodyville-east-1.2157601#sthash.AlX6I2UA.dpuf

.

 

Affordable housing advocates: stand together

Is this true?  ‘Organized citizens can trump organized money’.

Quoting from Elizabeth James’ article in the North Shore News today:

“Please Elizabeth write something on (affordable housing) as people have short memories! Before election they promise to help the poor and middle class; after that, it’s ‘goodbye.’ People believe these politicians who say they have vision for B.C.”

– All regular citizens

Inadvertently, my anonymous correspondent hit on the very stumbling block standing in the way of workable solutions to the critical problem of housing affordability on the North Shore: so long as voices stand in the shadows, afraid or unwilling to stand up to be heard loud and clear, little momentum can or will be accomplished to solve the problem.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/affordable-housing-advocates-stand-together-1.2154728#.dpuf

 

 

 

OCP Public Hearing – Citizens Deserve Better Mar 4/15

Following is the submission  from our spokesperson (Fred Dawkins) at the OCP Public Hearing. The OCP passed, as expected, by a 4-3 vote with Councillors Bell, Bookham and Clark opposed.  

Video link is here:  http://www.cnv.org/2015CouncilVideos – Fred spoke at the 18:00 mark.

Public input – OCP public hearing – 3 March 2015

I am Fred Dawkins, 827 West 19th, representing North Van City Voices

This proposed OCP is a one-legged stool. Virtually every goal, every solution, is based on densification. Ramping up the population by building more and more condos is presented as the magic bullet that will solve everything.

Do we need better transit? Cram in more people, and better transit will magically happen. Do we aspire to be a greener community and reduce carbon emissions? Increase density, and carbon output per person will automatically be lower. We want affordable housing? Build lots more condos, that’s bound to make housing cheaper, right? Safer streets? A more vibrant cultural scene? Job creation? Rental housing? All of these goals will somehow be met by just cramming more people into our little enclave. How we get the infrastructure and services needed to accommodate that rapid population growth, we’ll figure out later.

It reminds me of the South Park episode about the underpants gnomes, and their 3-part strategy for getting rich. In this case it’s Step 1, build lots of condos. Step 2, [mumble/shrug]. Step 3, enjoy a more livable, sustainable community where everyone bikes to work. Hurrah!

It’s all smoke and mirrors, because at the end of the day, as the mayor’s slate has demonstrated repeatedly, most recently with the twin towers at 161 East Keith, Council can ignore the OCP anytime they wish, using density bonusing and a sham public consultation process to push through large developments that exceed existing guidelines. But even if they don’t override it, this new OCP provides plenty of wriggle room for developers and their allies on council.

To give just one example of the vague justifications behind the proposed OCP: We’ve been told from the start of the City Shaping process that under the Regional Growth Strategy the City has committed to accommodate about 20,000 new residents between 2011 and 2041, which would be achieved by building 6,000 more housing units. Our group, Voices, pointed out that starting from the 2011 baseline, the City already has about 5,000 housing units in the development pipeline. The response we got from planning staff was, “Oh, that 6,000 unit projection is too low, we’re going to be building mostly condos, so the number of people per housing unit will be lower, therefore we’ll need more

than 6,000 units to accommodate our projected population.”

Then in January, staff came up with a new set of projections, which Council approved and were submitted to Metro, and are now part of the proposed OCP. When we questioned these revised numbers, Mr. Penway replied that because of the changes Council recently voted for, to add more density to the East 3rd area and parts of the Lonsdale corridor, they had to increase the number of projected housing units. You can see the revised table in the Appendix of the revised OCP.

The number of new housing units projected to be built by 2041 has grown from 6,000 in the original estimate, to 10,620. The new table focuses on projected growth in just 3 areas – East 3rd, Lonsdale and Marine – but if you do the arithmetic with the percentages provided, they add up to a total city population of 70,000, not the 68,000 that the city committed to with Metro and has been included in all previous estimates till now. By the way, that’s a 92% increase from the 2011 census.

Nevertheless, with 5,000 units already in the pipeline, we’re almost halfway to even that expanded 2041 projection. So why the rush to ramp up development?

Doing some more math, we see our planners estimate that the housing projected to be built in this city over the next 25 years will house an average of 1.6 people per unit. In other words, a great many of these new units will house just one person. We’re apparently looking at a future where most new homes in the city will be high-rises occupied by singles and childless couples. So much for promoting a diverse mix of housing types, and finding places for families.

But, this is all just fun with numbers. Planners can tweak the numbers any way that’s needed to justify continued densification. And no matter what anyone says here today, this OCP will be voted in by the Mayor and his slate on Council. He has promises to keep, primarily to the developers who funded his election campaign, and this OCP provides all the flexibility he needs to fulfill those promises. But that flexibility just encourages spot zoning, which fuels land speculation. It provides no assurance of future livability for current homeowners who aren’t interested in cashing out and moving away. Citizens deserve better than this.

Thank you.

.

Excessive Industry Influence?

Voices comment:  This is borrowed from a posting on the CityHallWatch site, and discusses the Marine Gardens rezoning.  The process here is similar to the development application process in the City of North Van which seemingly often begins with a chat about ‘how big can we go?’  Does the City of North Van have limits on density bonuses, density transfers?  The answer would seem to be ‘NO’.  Did developers fund the majority on Council?   That answer is definitely ‘YES’.  OCP Public Hearing March 3rd 6pm.

 

Vancouver_rezoning_system_chw_v2

So this is how the system works.

Our entire civic system in Vancouver operates in the context of strong and often invisible connections between players and the underlying power of money and profits. Givers at one stage become the receivers at the next. It is like a self-reinforcing power structure.

In that context, what hope is there for neighbourhoods and citizens? Read below, and ask how deeply entrenched these patterns are in Vancouver. How long have things been this way? How many rezonings in the past ten years have been like this.

Read full article here: https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/support-letters-connections-marine-gardens/

.

OCP Public Hearing Mar 3 2015

Public Hearing (March 2015)

A revised OCP Bylaw, 2014, No. 8400 has been referred to a Public Hearing. The full report can be found here. Written submissions can be directed to the City Clerk atkgraham@cnv.org or mailed to City Hall. There will also be an opportunity to be heard in person at the hearing.

Public Hearing:
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 6pm
Council Chambers, 141 West 14th Street, North Vancouver

Link to detail:  http://www2.cnv.org/CityShaping/final_ocp.html

Land Use Map: http://www2.cnv.org/CityShaping/papers/Schedule%20A%20Land%20Use.pdf

.

High Stakes (editorial) and: City of North Vancouver flip flops on OCP fate

High Stakes (editorial)

In May, we wrote an editorial, warning City of North Vancouver council not to let this happen. After years of work, the CityShaping OCP is bogged down in a procedural rat’s nest with just weeks before the 2014 municipal election. There’s significant risk the OCP will languish into the new council term or even die on the vine, putting us into legislative parts unknown.

The impasse and flip-flopping at council is petulant and frankly embarrassing.

The fact is, it was this council that was elected to oversee and usher in the new OCP. It was also this council that monkeyed with the timeline for the OCP’s approval to suit their own political agendas.

You could blame the mayor and his allies for waiting until the last minute to take their ball and go home. You could blame Coun. Guy Heywood for torpedoing the approval simply because it didn’t achieve his Quixotic goal of bringing about amalgamation. You could blame the faction that sought to drag this out in the first place. It doesn’t matter.

Council now owes it to its citizens to find whatever compromises are needed, come to a consensus and get this plan passed. Give the new council the clean slate it deserves.

They’ve got five more meetings to demonstrate they earned the votes that put them in those seats in 2011.

Otherwise, we’re looking at the squandering of time, money, effort and community goodwill on a sickening scale.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-high-stakes-1.1418484#sthash.OV3vwvz2.dpuf

,

 

 

City of North Vancouver flip flops on OCP fate.

Reports of the death of the City of North Vancouver’s CityShaping official community plan may have been greatly exaggerated. The high-level vision for the next 20 to 30 years of the city is merely stuck in legislative limbo.

A split council voted down third reading of the OCP bylaw after a public hearing on Sept. 29 following three years and untold thousands of hours of city council, staff and community volunteer time spent drafting and refining it through public consultation.

Couns. Linda Buchanan and Craig Keating and Mayor Darrell Mussatto cast three of the deciding “nay” votes, largely on the grounds that the latest draft of the document stripped away the ability for homeowners to build both a coach house and secondary suite on their property, choking off the development of affordable housing units.

Coun. Guy Heywood said he supported the land use and housing plans in the 125-page document, but couldn’t support the remaining chapters that focus on broader topics like arts, health and recreation, which he argued should be done with the District of North Vancouver. Heywood is and has spent much of the last year pushing the city to reconsider amalgamation with the district.

But the OCP, which the province mandates must be updated, could still be revived and passed before the Nov. 15 election if council moves quickly, according to city staff.

“There are some reconsideration options available to council in the procedure bylaw. No one has come forward to me yet regarding the reconsideration so at this point, the bylaw is sitting at second reading,” said city clerk Karla Graham. “It could come forward as it is. It could come forward with new information and then a new public hearing would need to be called.”

The notion triggered debate about whether council members could or should to come to a consensus before the five remaining council meetings are up.

“We’ve been at it for three years. I don’t understand how a new member of council … can get up to speed in a reasonable amount of time. I think it would be best to make a decision prior to the work of this council being concluded,” said Coun. Pam Bookham. “To me, it’s our biggest responsibility and I don’t think we want to pass that buck onto some inexperienced councillor who may well have been reading the North Shore News but that’s not quite the same as the experience we have had in considering the issues and options that are available to us in mapping our future.”

In May, however, before the draft OCP had a number of density provisions stripped out of it, Bookham said she would be fine with seeing the process carry on until after the election, allowing voters to shape the council that will uphold the OCP.

Keating, who chastised Bookham for taking that position, has also since had a change of heart, speaking in defence of any potential council newcomers. He noted one of his first votes on council in 1999 was for the rezoning of the Shipyards.

“That was a bylaw that was about yay-thick,” he said holding his thumb and fingers apart. “I think it’s probably thicker than the current OCP so I certainly think we do not need to fear democracy. We do not need to fear there may be other candidates who come here and make a decision and I do not think we need to fear that people will have an inability to be able to penetrate the OCP. It’s been a very public process so far. Lots of engagement and none of us, I think, is indispensable around this table.”

Meanwhile, the 2002 OCP remains in effect and the city may have to come up with a stop gap measure to satisfy the provincial requirement to update it.

Putting the OCP on ice also leaves council members in the awkward position of being able to share their opinions about the plan but not accept any new information since the close of the public hearing in September. Bookham questioned how council members campaigning for re-election could avoid that when speaking with voters who want to give them an “earful” about the city’s future.

“That’s the fine line, unfortunately, that we have to walk here,” Graham said. “The lawyers have said if it is new information that should be provided to the public, then that would constitute a new public hearing. If it’s just council expressing their opinion, which has been well known all along and having that discussion with someone at a meeting or at the grocery store lineup, that’s fine. That can’t be avoided. That’s just common nature with human interaction basically.”

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/city-of-north-vancouver-flip-flops-on-ocp-fate-1.1418477?utm_source=Business%20Information%20Group&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NorthShoreNewsNewsletterforWednesdayOctober82014#sthash.eEHiEohi.dpuf

JAMES: Neighbours divided over density plan

JAMES: Neighbours divided over density plan.

“High density development inflates land values; this in turn increases re-development pressure on the more affordable older building stock. Only about 10 per cent of the city’s cost of infrastructure and services is covered by development fees.”

 

– Elizabeth Murphy, July 2014

 

When Denna Homes, the Onni Group, Grosvenor and other large developers complete their projects and move on, what percentage of project-related infrastructure costs will they have bequeathed to North Shore taxpayers?

Have you asked yourself that question as you wasted time in traffic, obeying the Find Alternate Route signs to avoid the rubble and barricades that have plagued our municipalities for the past five-plus years?

 

Elizabeth Murphy’s article, Vision and NPA More of the Same, in this month’s Common Ground magazine offers no comfort because, as a professional knowledgeable about development issues, she describes similar complaints to those we hear every day.

 

Murphy, a former property development officer with BC Housing and the City of Vancouver, might well have been writing about the North Shore when she saw little difference between right-and left-leaning politicians who support developers that build towers and marginalize communities in the name of EcoDensity.

 

To be sure, the unrelenting pace of construction we continue to endure puts some revenue from development cost charges into municipal coffers and provides on-site, albeit short-term training for unskilled workers who, otherwise, might not have those entry-level opportunities.

 

Will such modest upsides offset community concerns about the pace of change and the pressures on hospital and transportation services that follow increased density? Doubtful – as is any hope the developments will provide truly affordable housing.

 

Many people believe City of North Vancouver council decisions have favoured developers’ interests over the objections of current residents and that the city has become a blueprint for the societal stresses that accompany rampant changes to the places people call home.

 

In the Moodyville area, once-friendly neighbours who were united in their concerns about Port Metro’s expansion plans – are now at loggerheads over differing density aspirations.

 

Property owners like Michelle and Michael Binkley, who rightly say Port Metro deceived residents about the extent of the Low Level Road and Richardson silo projects, favour higher density so they can relocate without losing equity.

 

Others, including many renters, believe an official community plan increase from the current single family 0.5 FSR (floor space ratio) to condos at 1.6 FSR, would orphan their affordable homes and force them out of the neighbourhood.

 

Council’s 4-2 decision July 7 to support 0.75 FSR stoked the fire of those differing interests.

 

Unfortunately, that’s what happens when renters’ affordability interests collide with the goals of property-owners and developers who agree on a mutually beneficial land assembly.

 

Throw in histrionics from the mayor’s chair and someone was bound to go away unhappy.

 

After viewing that portion of the meeting several times (CNV video archive at 05:16), I decided to run some of the rumours to ground.

 

Why had the Binkleys expected a different result? Had someone given them FSR assurances as rumours suggested?

 

“No one was promised anything,” Michael Binkley wrote in answer to my question.

 

Nevertheless, he wrote that during the lengthy CityShaping process “90 per cent of participants were in favour of land use changes in the East Third Street area.”

 

Binkley also says the four councillors who later voted to support the 0.75 FSR “threw all they had demanded (of CityShaping) out the window” and “voted their own personal opinion.”

 

I put Binkley’s comment to Couns. Don Bell, Pam Bookham, Rod Clark and Guy Heywood.

 

Yet to hear from Bell, the other three strongly reject that assertion.

 

“We did not throw out everything done in CityShaping,” Clark wrote.

 

“Specifically, with respect to East First to Third in the 400-, 500-and 600-blocks we have instructed staff to bring in the OCP bylaw with a 50 per cent increase in density to 0.75 FSR.”

 

Clark believes such a significant increase in allowable density “will generate interest in the development community to pursue housing renewal in the area.” Bookham says that in her case, “when council asked staff why they proposed 1.0 rather than 1.6 FSR, I just wanted an explanation as to why staff felt 1.0 was a better solution.”

 

Addressing the wording of survey questions, Heywood – who is not seeking re-election in November – said surveys can be used to “manufacture consent from the quantity of participation” rather than to “learn from the content and quality of the many different views expressed on behalf of the wider city population.”

 

“Notwithstanding the mayor’s fervent wish to give something to a neighbourhood that has been affected by port developments that he claims personal responsibility for promoting – the city is not allowed to compensate a neighbourhood … for alleged, but as yet not quantifiable, damage done to it by Port Metro or one of its tenants.

 

“We (the four) wanted to reinforce the point that new growth should respect an overall plan for the right place to put it, not just hopscotch across neighbourhoods to respond to the wishes of a certain population who want to cash out and move on,” Heywood concluded.

 

Stay tuned; methinks we have not heard the last of this council’s leadership desire to – single-handedly – satisfy Metro Vancouver’s density dreams.

 

rimco@shaw.ca

 

© North Shore News

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/james-neighbours-divided-over-density-plan-1.1257410#sthash.IZBPcNg8.dpuf

.