September 15, 2020
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Motion B3 – “Missing Middle” Housing Pilots
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) agrees with the aim of this motion to provide more affordable, innovative housing options. However, CVN continues to oppose this motion, including the Mayor’s reported amendment, based on concerns that this proposed motion will not accomplish the intended goals.
Achieving the stated goal through citywide spot rezoning would contradict the intent of developing a neighbourhood-based citywide plan and could potentially produce unintended consequences leading to the development of more intensive high-end market housing that inflates land values in the areas affected.
Additionally, this would increase speculation and demolition of older, more affordable housing, causing displacement while also undermining the few character house retention incentives currently existing in zoning and City policy. The RT zones in particular have a lot of missing middle character housing already that would be put at risk of demolition.
This displacement, demolition and land inflation would also apply to the Mayor’s proposal. It would significantly increase FSR and the number of strata ownership units with only minor affordability measures, and no requirements for retention of character houses.
Neighbourhood-based planning processes integrated into a citywide plan will deliver substantially better results. There are many options that could be put into place as quick starts once identified through the planning process.
We would be prepared to work with the City on identifying other options that could be put in place to increase affordable housing options. Any of these approaches should recognize the unique characteristics and needs of each neighbourhood so as to best adapt any actions to that neighbourhood, thus following the intent of zoning by-laws and local community visions and plans.
Seeking truly effective solutions to the need for affordable housing, we oppose this motion.