Tag Archives: Density

Elizabeth Murphy: Vancouver city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning without giving citizens a say | Vancouver Sun

North Van City Voices has documented that the City of North Van has exceeded the 2041 Regional Growth Targets and is rushing to get through more density before the vote on October 20th: partial quote from the article:

The shift from the Livable Region Strategic Plan in 1996 to the 2011 Regional Growth Strategy has directed the emphasis to growth objectives. As land values have increased due to speculative inflation from rezoning for more density, demolitions of older, more affordable buildings have increased, with more people displaced, causing skyrocketing homelessness and unaffordability. Most of the new supply is unaffordable for both owners and renters and often left empty.

Now the enormous costs of servicing this growth agenda are emerging with the need for billions of dollars to upgrade utility services.

The city’s consultants confirmed as far back as 2014 that there is more than enough existing zoned capacity to meet population growth beyond 2041. Yet the city continues a manic rush to rezone.

The City of Vancouver is on a mad rush job to rezone Kitsilano and Cedar Cottage in a move that will only benefit developers.

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Source: Elizabeth Murphy: Vancouver city hall is slamming through destructive new zoning without giving citizens a say | Vancouver Sun

Setting the Record Straight #2

If you received the following ‘Stache Comic  Relief‘ https://mystacheonline.com/2018/09/05/density-darrells-i-o-u-legacy-shall-hamstring-mayors-forever-after-unless/  we are again attempting to correct the ‘fake news’.  This statement in part refers to Councillors Buchanan and Clark: ‘BOTH of these wannabe mayor city councillor records readily confirm i.e. that not only are they pro density zealots; they BOTH also favoured and supported the mayor’s $22million Black Necklace for the less than 2% who bike annually to work’ is not true. While it’s true that Councillor Buchanan voted in favour of the majority of development applications, Councillor Clark clearly voted not in favour with the minority 4-3 vote on applications. 

We recall Councillor Clark consistently referring to it as the ‘black necklace’ and initially threatening to lie down in front of bulldozers .  We reached out to him for a comment and received this response:

‘Stache is way out of line in saying I supported the Green Necklace. As you well remember, I stood at the Opening Ceremony with you having dubbed it the Black Necklace. I was, I believe the only voice against for years & finally gave up after the three strips of asphalt went up Grand Blvd. I supported the last links only because it seemed pointless/futile to resist further & completing it was the best option.
I would reach out to Stache directly but cannot find an email for him.
Anything you can post to get these facts out would help.’
Comment from Voices: If you hear or read anything that causes you to wonder and would like a little fact-checking, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.




What’s that smell?

What’s that smell?

There was a distinctly fishy aroma at Monday’s CNV Council meeting when, at the behest of Mayor Mussatto, Council re-considered Starlight’s proposal to develop 40 units of infill rental housing around the existing high-rise building at 151 East Keith (fronting Victoria Park).

The development had already been discussed at a public hearing on April 23, and Council had turned it down by a 4-3 vote. That should have been the end of it under the rules, which state: “No further information or submissions can be considered by Council once the Public Hearing is closed.”

Then suddenly last week, the mayor directed that an item be added to the May 14 council agenda: to reconsider (and approve for third reading) the zoning bylaw changes that Council had rejected on April 23.

No one seemed to know what the mayor was up to. Had one of the dissenting councillors decided to change his or her vote? Surely he wasn’t bringing up new information received after the public hearing had been closed – that would be against the bylaw.

And we know the mayor was sensitive about upholding the bylaw, because at the start of the May 14 Council meeting, he did not allow two members of the public to speak about 151 East Keith in Public Input Period. “We’re not allowed to receive any new information,” he explained.

Then came the mayor’s big reveal. In their original proposal, Starlight had promised to apply the “10-10-10” affordability formula, meaning 10% (i.e. four) of the new units would be rented for 10% below market rates, for 10 years. Now, the mayor told Council, Starlight was proposing to make 20 per cent (i.e., eight) of the new units available at 10% below market rates, in perpetuity. More affordable housing! Who could be against that?

But didn’t this contravene the rule about “no further information or submissions…once the Public Hearing is closed”? Heavens no, claimed the mayor – Starlight had informed him of this pot-sweetener before the public hearing. Apparently, they just neglected to mention it at the time.

In the subsequent discussion, both the mayor and Councillor Keating revealed they had had discussions with the developer offline about this offer. Keating claimed the rule had not been violated because it’s OK for individual councillors to receive new information, just not Council as a whole. (Hmm.)

Despite the mayor’s urging, and some passionate oratory by Councillors Keating and Buchanan on the crying need for more rental housing and more affordable housing, the dissenting councillors (Clark, Back, Bell and Bookham) stuck to their guns and the mayor’s motion was defeated.

Some closing thoughts:

Either the mayor was less than entirely truthful when he claimed Starlight told him about the deal sweetener before the public hearing, or Starlight’s project team is amazingly incompetent for neglecting to mention such an important detail at the April 23 hearing.

It seems municipal bylaws governing public hearings are merely suggestions, unless you’re just a taxpaying citizen, in which case they are iron-clad.

Could it be that this whole exercise was just to provide a platform for Councillors Keating and Buchanan to kick off their election campaigns with some thundering rhetoric about the need for more rental development? We’ll see.


Re: ‘Collecting Stuff’

Letter to the Editor, North Shore News (not yet published):

During the City Council meeting discussion on a new proposed development, honest questions were raised regarding parking and storage.  The developer answered the parking concerns with the fact that the  carports were to be opensided and therefore safe  only for parking  and, as for storage, there were to be several large closets within the home itself.  Further questions followed:  Will those closets take winter tires?  What about skis, strollers, lawn mowers etc.


    Our Bachelor Mayor finally pronounced his solution;-  “We must all stop collecting “stuff”.  Living spaces and storage spaces are going to be much smaller. Acquire only what you need, not what you would like to have.


     And so, in the Mussatto future, say goodbye to bargain filled thrift sales and garage sales.  My generation has been avid ”stuff” collectors  and “stuff” recyclers.  I for one have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!


                                                                                                    Joan Peters


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.  

Election 2018

Comment from Voices:  With more discussion about the October 2018 election happening in coffee shops, Council chambers and on the street we thought it was time for a separate area for articles and discussions.  We start with a thoughtful comment by a City resident in response to a letter from another resident, published previously on our site: https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/2601-lonsdale-developer-payback/

and the subject of an article in The Global Canadian:https://www.theglobalcanadian.com/woman-wanted-tell-cnv-council-couldnt/.

The public hearing for 2601 Lonsdale was last night, no decision until next week. The public hearing for 151 East Keith is next Monday.

Margaret Heywood Agree, we should be holding the “gang of four” to account. And be extra vigilant during this pre-election time for the four forcing through developments that are against the community plan, the community’s wishes and in my view common sense Pay attention to 151 East Keith coming on the heals of 161 East Keith and slated for public hearing next Monday. Right under our noses, the gang of four arbitrarily relaxed the distance between towers with no meaningful public input and no overall community notice — all to the benefit of their developer campaign donor. Now they are considering additional density at 151 East Keith where I understand much of the build out is on the 25 foot set back. This is a drastic change to the Victoria Park community, and in combination with the relaxing of distances between towers creates a precedent that has neither been approved nor discussed in the community plan and has never been envisioned by the people who live around Victoria Park. We need to be preserving all the green space we can, not giving it away for developer’s profits and cloaked in the elusive quest for rental housing. The 10-10-10 formula for density bonusing is grossly inadequate compared to the benefit that accrues to the developer. This has occurred largely because of the votes of Councillors Buchanan, Back, Mussatto and Keating. If you vote, and we urge you to do so, do not vote for these four because their record is entirely inconsistent with community interests and totally consistent with giving their developer friends and insiders profits on the backs of taxpayers.

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.


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