Tag Archives: Public hearing

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

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Oct 18 cannot come soon enough

This is a letter from a resident in the City of North Van addressed to The Editor, North Shore News (not yet published) .  The 150 E 8th proposal with 178 units was passed after the public hearing last night by the pro-development members of Council 4-3.

Letter to the Editor

Another Blight on Our Neighbourhood

The letter of the law wins again over the intent of the law.

Once again last night Mayor Mussatto and Councillors Keating, Buchanan and Back voted their approval of a high density project at 150 East 8th Street (Telus Site). It did not matter that every person, living in the adjacent buildings (who sent emails and spoke at the meeting) asked for a height reduction of one storey and for another driveway entrance. This input was completely ignored by these members of Council. Councillor Keating asked if the project met the conditions laid out in the OCP – which it does IF Council agrees to award the Maximum Density Bonus that could be applied. Council could have asked for a reduction of one storey and the City receive less money for the Density Bonus. Councillors Bookham, Bell and Clark voted against the project agreeing with the immediate neighbours that changes are needed.

Another 4 against 3 vote that brings us yet another project too large for the neighbourhood and another 235 cars to add to our streets. This same voting brought us 161 East Keith – a 17 storey tower on too small a lot even with the inclusion of a piece of our boulevard – this tower now overpowers the east end of Victoria Park. Next is the Hollyburn building going up at 13th and Lonsdale – 19 storeys right along Lonsdale.

Oct. 18 cannot come soon enough!

Linda Heese

 

Public Hearing Jan 22- 150 E 8th

Following is a request for residents to attend the Public Hearing tomorrow. Full details are on the “news” page of this website:

Below is a summary of this project and a few bullets on the issues.
It would be much appreciated if local people would make comments to 
Council by 4 pm tomorrow.
Once again, this project is at the absolute maximum height and mass, and 
will not fit well into the established neighbourhood.
It is a shame that our city planners do not live in our neighbourhood 
and therefore are not part of the community.
Please add whatever words you can to encourage people to attend and/or 
send messages to council – Adera has shop owners from lower Lonsdale 
sending messages saying it is all wonderful, and dog walkers from all 
over are sending their praises for a dog park! – unbelievable stuff!
The fight continues.

PUBLIC HEARING for 150 East 8th Street – (TELUS site)

MONDAY, Jan. 22 – City Hall – 6:30 pm

Project Summary:

  • 179 units – all market condo
    • 17 town houses; 162 apartments
  • 7 storeys high on E 8th St. (maximum OCP height 6 storeys)
  • 2.6 FSR (floor space ratio) (OCP is 1.6 with a maximum of 1 additional possible

to achieve additional public benefits or amenities’ ‘at Council’s absolute discretion’.)

  • parking for 205 cars + bicycles

Issues:

  • massive building, 7 storeys high all along E 8th **
    • floor height and building siting make it equal to the 9 storeys on E Keith towers
    • more than 2 storeys higher than current 7 storey buildings on E Keith
    • long and tall massive building compared to the E 8th, 11th & St. Georges buildings
  • driveway – only one entrance & exit into laneway at east end – shared by 1033 St. Georges and the TELUS parking (30 spaces)
  • no affordable housing component in this project
  • unnecessary additional condo units – already exceed 2041 Regional Growth numbers
  • suggestion by Adera for a dog park – on property which is already city owned

**Height of Building – the 6 storey maximum is being measured from the highest area of the property and being used to justify 7 storeys for the majority of the development.

REQUEST:

  • Council not to pass this proposal without amendments
  • reduce the proposal to 6 storey maximum height throughout the project
    • this would reduce the neighbourhood impact & only eliminate 29 units
    • it would reduce the cost to build & somewhat reduce the amenity payment to the City
  • the driveway/traffic issue needs further study

Deliberately misleading?

Comment from Voices:  Eyebrows were raised several times during the Council meeting and Public Hearing on October 24th.  

Whether it was the violation of the public input rules by allowing two speakers to address matters which would be dealt with by the Public Hearing that night.  Or some of the statements by members of Council – i.e. Councillor Back stating ‘professionals don’t want to live in old buildings’ or Councillor Buchanan stating that ‘it fits with the OCP’. It seems she missed the fact that the OCP projects an annual increase of 1.3% but growth for the last two years has been over 3%.

Or maybe it was the Mayor stating that he ‘happened to have a study’  that ‘the hottest job markets in Canada by numbers – the number one hottest job market in all of Canada is the City of North Vancouver’.  Not true.  We have been contacted by many people asking us to check – North Vancouver (City and District) is about 35 on the list.  We wrote to the City more than 24 hours ago, and have not had the courtesy of a reply – here is our email with the facts:

Email addressed to Connie Rabold, Communications Director:

Several people have contacted us and asked us to investigate and confirm a statement made during the Public Hearing on October 24th that ‘the City is the hottest job market in Canada’.  Both the media company that conducted the survey and the Government have confirmed that the Job Bank does not distinguish between the City and the District of North Vancouver.  
 
Therefore with the City’s population quoted as 48,196 and the District at 84,412 the ‘title’ is totally incorrect.  We believe that based on a corrected population for “North Vancouver” (city + district) of 132, 608 and using the average number of jobs provided on that Top 50 list (10.42 x 48 = 500 jobs). The correct number for North Vancouver should be 3.79 jobs per thousand population, which would put us 35th on that list, just behind Saskatoon and Edmonton.
 
We are surprised that the stats were misinterpreted and that they seemingly have not been questioned by City staff.  We respectfully suggest that the News release be corrected, otherwise the public may feel it is being deliberately mislead.  Also, we feel that the District should be advised because it is likely largely responsible for any job growth, with the expansion of Seaspan.
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 from the City’s website:
October 27, 2016 City News
Hottest job market in Canada
The City’s been named the top-ranking community in the Top 50 Hot Job Markets in Canada survey. The survey says,  we’re  the number one job destination in the nation. According to the ranking, with 10.42 available jobs per 1,000 people, the City’s the best place in the country to find work
“This endorsement of the strength of our community’s employment opportunities confirms the City is an extremely desirable place to live and work”, says Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “Our ranking as the top job market in Canada is confirmation that employees and employers throughout our community are enjoying the benefits of an extremely vibrant and thriving job sector and business climate, as well as a desirable community in which to work.”

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 Please confirm that your news release will be corrected.  The North Shore News is being copied on this in the event that they may run an incorrect article.

Thank you,
Toni Bolton for
North Van City Voices
 

 

161 E Keith – Public Hearing January 19

Two Public Hearings scheduled for January 19th:

The hearing for 161 East Keith will start at 6.15pm on Monday January 19th, details can be found in the link above.  We have received the following submission from a resident in the area, and urge you to attend the public hearing if you share the concerns.  The proposed building will be 16 floors, 93 units and involves a transfer of density from an unused boulevard adjacent to the site.  

Submission from Linda Heese:

Each building that is being added to our City must fit into the neighbourhood in both size and design. Our Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws specify the parameters to make this happen. There can be minor variances and exceptions but the overall project has to fit within the specifications. This proposal exceeds all reasonable bounds.

Read more here: 161EastKeith-PublicHearingIssuesforJan.192015

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