Tag Archives: Council

City of North Van council sends Harry Jerome project to public hearing (NS News)

Source: City of North Van council sends Harry Jerome project to public hearing

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Which is stronger: your desire for a new Harry Jerome rec centre or your aversion to a pair of 28-storey towers?

That’s the question facing City of North Vancouver residents following council’s decision Monday night to advance an 802-unit Upper Lonsdale proposal to public hearing.

If approved, Darwin Properties would build two 81-metre-tall towers as well as a trio of six-storey residential buildings and a five-storey commercial building on the patch of land occupied by the current Harry Jerome rec centre, the Silver Harbour Seniors’ Activity Centre, and Norseman Field. Pending council’s approval, Darwin would pay the city $183 million to lease the land for 99 years. Much of that money could go towards the new $210-million Harry Jerome rec centre project.

Council voted 4-2 to push the project forward despite the vociferous objections of Coun. Craig Keating, who said the community did not ask for a rec centre with a 50-metre pool or a curling rink.

“We’re actually carrying the freight for the two other districts who just can’t get it together to fund the things that their citizens want,” he said, suggesting the districts of North and West Vancouver are: “too profligate or too cheap to fund their obligations.”

The project is slated to include a medical office building, restaurant, grocery store, and a child-care facility totalling 22,700 square feet of retail and 73,500 square feet of office space. The project’s floor space ratio – which measures total floor space against the size of the lot – is 2.5. That density was: “never asked for and never imagined,” Keating said.

Keating also noted that council declined to include a pool in the John Braithwaite Community Centre – a fact Coun. Pam Bookham also pointed out.

“That to me argues the greater need for a pool (at Harry Jerome),” she said.

Responding to Keating’s argument that the new Harry Jerome rec centre will end up serving the entire North Shore, Bookham noted that North Shore residents seeking recreation frequently cross municipal borders. “If it can be enjoyed by others, so be it,” she said.

Council’s support of dense highrises in recent years has necessitated a major rec centre, according to Bookham.

“We are building more multi-unit housing, the units are smaller, people who are occupying those units need spaces like recreation centres and parks in order to make life on the North Shore livable.”

Coun. Linda Buchanan suggested the current rec centre plans are too grand for the area.

“This is not a community centre,” she said.

Despite her opposition, Buchanan praised aspects of Darwin’s proposal, which includes 80 housing units to be allocated to a non-profit organization of the city’s choosing, a child-care centre with 37 spaces, and an extension of Crickmay Park along Lonsdale Avenue to East 21st Street. The development would also include 486 units of market housing, 124 market rental units, 99 units for seniors in assisted living and 13 affordable rentals.

“It’s going to crush this community with the amount of density,” Buchanan said.

The 28-storey towers are a way to maintain green space, according to Coun. Holly Back.

“Instead of going short and fat, I like to go tall and skinny,” she said. “It’s hard to count how many storeys they really are once they’re up in the air.”

Coun. Don Bell took the opposite view, suggesting it would make more sense to spread the density over the site. But despite his misgivings about the 28-storey towers, Bell voted in favour, noting that heights could be reduced following the public hearing as long as the development’s density doesn’t increase.

The project requires several amendments to the official community plan to change land use designations and maximum building heights. Currently, the ceiling on the site is 18 storeys.

Bell also stressed the need to move forward with replacement of the Harry Jerome rec centre, suggesting that keeping the current pool warm and the ice frozen will cost the city “substantial monies” in the future.

The original Harry Jerome rec centre was built when the city’s population was around 27,000, Coun. Rod Clark pointed out, noting the city’s population has doubled since then.

“This council in the main has supported incredible increases in density up and down Lonsdale, to the benefit of the development community,” he said. “Here’s an instance where we’re benefiting the citizens of the city.”

However, Clark added that council needs to maintain an open mind during the public hearing. “If they come in here swinging a bat saying: ‘We don’t want more than 18 storeys,” well, I guess that’s what we have to consider. And if that’s the case, we won’t have enough money to do Harry Jerome.”

Darwin’s development is interdependent with the new rec centre. The final phase of Darwin’s development isn’t set to go under construction until the new rec centre is open for business, ensuring there’s no disruption in rec centre service.

The public hearing is scheduled for June 18.

Mayor Darrell Mussatto did not attend the meeting.

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Community is back in the conversation

Submission to Council from long-time City residents Bob and Peg Heywood re 151 E Keith proposal:

Dear Councillors:

Thank you so much for all your efforts to listen to the community that lives, works, and plays here now.  We will be forever grateful that the proposed development at 151 East Keith Road was rejected.  And a special thank-you to Holly Back — the residents around Victoria Park, and indeed the whole of the City will be looking to you in the next few months to ensure that the green necklace and the vision of our early city planners is not undone by the development frenzy and the plundering of our community assets.  This is likely in part triggered by an excess of profits going to the developers at the cost of the citizen’s of North Vancouver’s quality of life.  We are worried about our other community green spaces — and who is next to be targeted by this aggressive form of development and facilitated by some of our own City Councillors?  Regional development is necessary and will continue to accommodate newcomers however, our small City has now taken on more than our share of new housing in the short term—it is time for other communities to do more.

.The set-backs around Victoria Park are an essential part of the green spaces that connect our parks.  The green spaces and vegetation that grows give the residents fresh air to breathe, and much needed green spaces in a City of increasing asphalt and concrete.  Most of the set-backs are well treed with mature stands of evergreen and other beautiful trees that would likely be destroyed if all of the buildings were to be enticed to develop this space, not to mention the loss of now affordable housing.  This in turn will also diminish the space for our existing bird and animal population in the city as well.  

Victoria Park – Beginning of the End?

Rated as #21 in ‘things to do in North Vancouver’ on Trip Advisor.

Some City of North Van residents may not be aware of the pressure being placed on some loved spaces in the City. Victoria Park is recognized on the register of ‘Canada’s Historic Places’ as ‘an urban park surrounded by a high density residential area’. The area has a park-like feel mostly because of the green space surrounding the apartment buildings. That green space has generally had a 25′ foot setback from neighbouring buildings, but is now being reduced to as little as 5′ to enable more buildings on some lots. 

There is a public hearing on Monday for a proposal at 151 East Keith, a rental building whose land is being paved over by an additional three buildings with no additional parking provided.  PLEASE ATTEND THE PUBLIC HEARING AND SPEAK UP TO SUPPORT YOUR NEIGHBOURS IF YOU ARE NOT IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS PROPOSAL.

We urge you to read this letter to Council and know that surrounding buildings are being approached by the City’s former Director of Planning suggesting that their building could do similar.  ‘I see you have potential for additional development on your property’.  He also seems to be pushing support for two particular members of Council which appears questionable in a local election year.

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRECEDENCE IN THIS AREA.  

To Mayor Mussatto and Counsellors Back, Bell, Bookham, Clark and Keating

I am totally opposed to the proposal for 151 East Keith Road and I hope you will be also.

BUILDING SETBACKS

The proposal is asking to change the building setbacks from 25 feet to as little as 5 feet for much of the property. This is not a minor change to adjust a small piece or corner of a building to position it better – no – this is a proposal to build about 50% of additional structures ON THE 25 FOOT SETBACK.

RESULT – This would be the beginning of the end for Victoria Park.

  • PRECEDENT

This would set a precedent for every building around the park. Already 123 E Keith received an email saying they could consider doing the same. 160 East Keith has just been sold – we have heard it may be to the same company and that it is already being looked over for possible additions.

  • RESULT FOR THE PARK

If buildings are allowed to have only a 5 foot setback, the park will be a walled fortress with a small green space (or probably mud space) in the middle. Already the shadow from 161 E Keith is covering the east end of the park for much of the winter. The park alone is not a wide space. It looks much wider because of the 25 foot setbacks all around and gets a good amount of sunlight – a space much needed by people living in highrise towers and used by people all over the City.

  • RESULT FOR CURRENT RENTAL BUILDINGS AROUND THE PARK

The owners of about a dozen, older, well-kept, rental buildings all around the park will look at their properties and recalculate what could be built if you tear down and rebuild when you only need a 5 foot setback. These are rental buildings in excellent condition that provide high quality living space for hundreds of people. Any new construction will have smaller units at higher prices. This would make our affordable rental problem even worse.

ADVISORY DESIGN PANEL – Feb. 15, 2017

  • SETBACKS AND NEIGHBOURHOOD BUY-INS

There were multiple comments in the minutes from members of the panel:

you should have positive feedback from neighbours to do this’

I think we are allowing this building owner to do something which is not really in the zoning’

The setbacks are aggressive and neighbours to the east and west need to be satisfied.’

NONE OF THESE COMMENTS got carried forward to the summary of the minutes or into the Rezoning Application!!!

There is NO BUY-IN FROM THE NEIGHBOURS!

  • PRECEDENT

There was a question asked by the Advisory Panel:

What is the implication of breaking the setback? Can other buildings along East Keith Road make similar applications? What precedent does it set?’

Answer from staff – ’ There is not much opportunity for neighbouring sites to do the same thing.’

Reality: – We already know that even before this has past there is already activity! And this sets a huge precedent for all buildings around the park!

  • PARKING

There was also a question – ‘no additional parking is being added?’

Answer from staff – ‘The requirement is 0.75. A variance request down to 0.70 is being made.’

Reality: – the building can only provide 0.63 but somehow the zoning bylaw regarding parking requirements was changed to 0.6 last summer.

Obviously the design panel was questioning the 0.75 level – now there are fewer parking spaces than when the project was reviewed! This is totally inadequate for adding 40 units with 7 units being townhouses with 2 and 3 bedrooms and high rents. Very few people paying these rents can walk to work or even work in NV.

HOUSING ACTION PLAN

  • The City’s Housing Action Plan requires 10% of new units be offered at 10% below market rates for 10 years. For the 40 proposed units this means 4 would be required. (The 10% should apply to all the units on the property as the FSR, lot size, and setbacks are for the whole property – 129 units = 13 below market units.) Starlight is working with Hollyburn Family Services and is offering the 4 units at the BC Government SAFER rate of $765 per month.

When this is calculated – what is the value of this contribution by Starlight?

CMHC NV Average Bachelor Rent

$1,018

BC Government SAFER Rent

$765

Difference Starlight Foregoes Each Month

$253

Starlight Total Value of Foregone Rent for 4 units per year

$12,144

Starlight Total Value for 10 Years

$121,440

What does Starlight gain?

CMHC 2017 – NV Average Rents * # of New Units Total per Month Total Per Year
– Bachelor Rent $1,018

33 – 4 = 29

$29,522

 
– 2 Bedroom Rent $1,645

5

$8,225

 
– 3 Bedroom $2,192

2

$,384

 
TOTAL ANNUAL RENT
– FOR NEW UNITS
 

$42,131

$505,572

TOTAL OVER 10 YEARS    

$5,055,720

*These rental rates are averages – probably much lower than a newly constructed building would command.

Starlight stands to gain very significant income from these units. Their building costs would be paid back quickly as there would be no underground parking added and it would be wood frame construction – less costly than concrete. In comparison they would make an extremely small contribution to our community in the way of a Community Amenity. Our community would give up extremely valuable setback zoning – that would set a precedent for the whole park area.

Can anyone explain why this deal would even be considered acceptable by Council? We are being bribed with an inadequate offer of 4 rental units – in return for substantial gains to Starlight!

The community is clearly the loser in this transaction!

THE CURRENT RENTAL SITUATION

According to CMHC 2017 report, the City of NV now has a vacancy rate of 1.3%. Our OCP has a GVRD 10-year Housing Demand target of 200 Market Rental. Since 2011 our City has already approved or built 1,166 units (only counting mid- and high-rise rentals) – with more under construction. Condo buildings have rentals of about 40% so that is another 1,136 units. We do not need another 40 market rental units. We need the BC and federal governments to help provide rents that allow people to live in them.

ACTION NEEDED

The community understands the desperate need for affordable housing. In discussion with Mayor Mussatto, I suggested the City use some of our gain from the $1.8 MILLION sale of the boulevard by 161 East Keith and make arrangements to house at least 4 people as soon as the building is finished. As he pointed out, there are many more units needed so we cannot do this for one group and not others. It is also not the responsibility of the municipal government to provide this housing – it is the responsibility of the provincial and federal governments. With the recent changes in these levels of government there is now increased commitment for support in this area. Our City needs to advocate very strongly to obtain increases especially for the GVRD area so the SAFER program and other similar programs will be funded to meet the actual rent requirements. If the City needs the citizens to get involved there are many of us willing to stand up for these requirements.

SUMMARY

I totally object to this proposal and implore council to reject it. The precedent would have unbelievable consequences for our park and our affordable housing! It has NO BUY-IN from the neighbourhood!

PLEASE REJECT THIS PROPOSAL

Linda Heese

140 Keith Road East

Lies, Damned Lies and City Tax Statistics – North Vancouver Citizen Action Association

Comment from Voices:  This is a presentation made to CNV Council Monday at the Finance Meeting for those many people who prefer fact to fiction.  Many City residents have been told their taxes are much lower than the District, here are the facts compiled by Guy Heywood, Shari Lazlo and Jeff Murl:

North Vancouver citizens who believe it’s time the City worked for the people who live here.

Source: Lies, Damned Lies and City Tax Statistics – North Vancouver Citizen Action Association

North Shore losing it’s charm – letter to Editor NS News

Comment from Voices: We have received the following Letter to the Editor, NS News (now published). We note that the public hearing has not yet been scheduled, and we have a further comment after the submission:

 Not just Deep Cove – the entire North Shore is rapidly losing its charm!!

I read with interest the comments from the residents and merchants of Deep Cove.  They have every right to be frustrated with the congestion and parking issues in their Community.  Unfortunately, apathy from the residents in the rest of North Van is allowing the City to ram through projects with no regard to the consequences to the people who live in the areas.

Case in point is the proposed infill development at 151 East Keith Road by Starlight Developments.   

Despite bitter opposition to the project almost completed next door at 161 East Keith (an 18 storey monstrosity that was pushed through by Council without regard to the thousands of signatures on a petition),  the 93 units on that property will have parking based on .7 spaces per unit.  Council says that will have no impact on the parking on East Keith or 6th Street …. Even though parking is already at capacity on both streets.

The proposed infill for 151 is adding an additional 40 rental units to that property.  Originally, it was 43 units but that has been ‘amended’ due to the opposition from residents of the area.  The Official Community Plan provides for an existing FSR density of 2.3 and a maximum bonus of up to 1.0 FSR in exchange for a community amenity, in this case, rental housing. The Developer has attempted to take maximum advantage of the bonus opportunity by going up to .96 FSR in its first submission.  (We have not been provided the FSR for this new revision.)* 

Currently, the building at 151 has 104 stalls.  The original proposal was to decrease it to 93 stalls representative of 0.7 parking stalls per unit.  When we found that the plans had been altered, we asked how many stalls they would have in their new submission.  We were told 82 – representative of 0.6 per unit.  The change to the bylaws in June 2017 to enable this for rental buildings was just slipped through as a “clarification” by the Mayor and Council of the City of North Vancouver.

The proposed infill for the 40 units includes NO provision for parking.  It is laughable that both Starlight Developments and North Van City Council think this is acceptable on any front.  The building at 161 is not even ready for occupation yet and the .7 parking per those 93 units is going to have a major impact.  Nonetheless, the City will probably push through the infill development at 151 East Keith without researching or studying the impact when 161 is fully occupied.

Residents need to sit up and take notice.  As with the building at 161, the infill will occupy the property from lot line to lot line.  The precedent has already been set and, if it is not stopped, all properties around Victoria Park will be able to apply for infills.  Infill developments face several challenges.  The projects are more expensive to build; infill sites are sometimes constricted in available space; additional transportation and vehicle parking issues have to be addressed; and the need for architects and developers to “respond to the context” of the neighborhood – in other words, to create a development that fits into the “character” of the neighborhood.

How does one define the “character” of a neighborhood?  A neighborhood’s character goes well beyond how the buildings look – it’s about how people live and work there, how people move around, the scale of the neighborhood, and many other factors.  Architects and planners should be asking themselves how people live in and interact with a place – and how they can support people living with broader, longer-term changes in the economy and environment. 

The saddest part is that Victoria Park is a place of comfort and refuge for many.  It is particularly evident on Remembrance Day when hundreds of people fill the park to commemorate the soldiers who fought and died for our country.  The park will be a lot less used and appreciated when there is total unavailability for parking. Starlight had a PR Company recently distribute an information sheet to local businesses along the Lonsdale corridor (I know specifically of shops on East 14th) asking for them to support the project.  From the flyer – it says 40 rental units will be added with 10% below market rental rates – this means only 4 units!! * The renderings shown on the flyer are only for the townhouse components – it does not show the 4 story building that will block the view corridors from 6th Street.  In the Project Timeline it shows this all started in Oct. 2016 and is now coming to the second last step.  How can our planning people and Council allow this to have continued to this point?

Hopefully, other residents will voice their comments and objections through the NS News and by letters to NV City Council and Mayor Mussatto.

Victoria Thompson 

On behalf of Strata VR 2735 Victoria Place

*comment from Voices: FSR will now be 3.21. We also note that the four units will be studios, size approx 400 sq ft. These units will be rented at subsidized rates for a period of ten years only.  The equivalent cash option would be $3.7 million for the additional density.  Is there proof of a ten year demand for 400 sq ft units? Would the cash perhaps be a better option for the residents of the City?  Zoning variances are required for the north, east, west and south sides. In addition, parking variances to a width of 8 ft.

http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/it-s-not-just-deep-cove-that-s-losing-its-charm-1.23211426

2601 Lonsdale – developer payback?

Comment from Voices: We have received the following from a resident who went to the Council meeting last night hoping to speak at public input:

Source: I was at City Hall for five hours tonight. Did not get a chance to speak, unfortunately. Normal procedure is to allow five speakers on all agenda items. Three spoke on other issues. The two who got on the list for this matter were the developer’s folks. Council normally allows over five speakers, but they have to vote on that. Tonight, they voted against it. I got to City Hall an hour before the meeting started – I was seventh on the list. The two who spoke on behalf of the developer don’t live in the area. The developer of 2601 Lonsdale (where the fire was) wants to close 26th Street, permanently. One of his people got up and told Council that turning right onto Lonsdale from 26th is very dangerous. Crash statistics say he is wrong. After the meeting I told him so and that it was disingenuous of him to mislead Council with no supporting data. This is what we are dealing with. A developer who will get people to go before Council and try to mislead them. Council voted that the proposal go to public hearing. It is not what we wanted, but we will have a chance to speak, at least. The interested parties are: – the community, and our safety – ‎people who would like to move into the area – ‎the developer, who would like to make lots of money – ‎City Council If 26th Street is kept open: – people in the community will be safer – ‎a building can be built within existing property lines that will allow many people to move into the area – ‎Council members who vote to not close may lose some support from the development community The community and people who want to join the community are better off with the road open. Council members may not be. If the road is closed: – the developer will still make money, but less – Council will likely retain the support of the development community, which could enhance their careers. Only the developer’s bank account and Council members dependent upon the support of the developer community for their careers will benefit from the road closure. Several Council members said they need to look at the community benefits of the proposal. What community benefits? There are developer benefits and Council benefits, but there are zero community benefits. Bank accounts and career objectives should not trump the safety needs of the community. Holy Trinity Elementary School sits at the intersection most effected by the closure. The likelihood of crashes at that intersection will increase if everyone is forced to use an intersection already over-congested with cars and CHILDREN. For what? The developer’s bank account? The outcome of the next civic election? Not good enough reasons to risk the lives of children. Not good enough. We don’t oppose development. We want the developer to build. On his own property. Public roads should not be closed for personal gain. Full stop. Decisions have consequences. If this road is closed, there will be crashes that hurt or kill people, and they will partially be the result of money and power being valued over community safety. Closing the road is wrong for the community. Closing it for the personal gains of a select few is appalling and not a decision I will support with my vote this fall. The community needs this road open more than the developer needs money over and above what he’ll make building on property he actually owns. Councils and mayors should be elected based on the voice of the community and not by “payback” votes from the development community as a way of thanking them for putting their needs above those of the people who live here. I was born in North Van. My grandparents and parents raised their families here. My father was a civil servant his entire career (although District. He had to move out of the city he served for over 30 years because the housing costs were so out of control.) I am a North Vancouverite, through and through, and I know a lot of people here. We see what is happening. I will be voting in the civic election this fall and hope you will too. Please share if you live in North Van, especially the City, and especially if you live in Upper Lonsdale.

Lara Braithwaite Ramsay

Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian

Comment by Voices:  Comparison of current growth in the City of North Van, the target in the Regional Growth Strategy for 2031 was 28,000 dwelling units. Currently planned are 31,192 (exceeding the 2041 targets). All details are on our ‘Statistics’ page or here for specific details:   https://nvcityvoices.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/cnv_housing-units-january-2018.xls

Article in The Global Canadian:

Residents built our communities but now see a decline in quality of life due to disruption caused by endless rebuilding By Corrie Kost I feel like an end of an era in municipal governance is about to take place. In my opinion, and this is a change I’d welcome, many municipalities in the lower mainland …

Source: Rebellion in the neighbourhood | The Global Canadian

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