Oct. 4, 2021
City of Vancouver Council
Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,
Re: Referral Report – Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas – Amendments to the C-2, C-2B, C-2C and C-2C1 Zones and Creation of New Rental Zones for Use in Future Rezoning Applications in Surrounding Low Density Areas Under the Secured Rental Policy
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is strongly opposed to the referral of this report to public hearing as proposed.
This 348 page report combines two very different types of rezonings that should be separated into two separate reports and public hearings rather than combining them into one as proposed.
The area rezoning of the commercial C2 zones is a specific change to the zoning schedules. This deserves its own report that clearly lays out this proposal for both Council and the public to consider.
The creation of the new rental zones as “off-the-shelf” future spot rezonings is an entirely new type of zoning that affects RS, RT and RM zones arbitrarily across the city. This is very confusing even for people with planning background, far less the general public. Most people who are affected have no idea this is happening or what it is. There have been no notices provided to these areas during the consultation process to advise those affected of changes to the proposals to allow for their feedback to inform the report.
What little public consultation was done on these two types of rezonings, was done separately so it should follow that the public hearings and reports are also separate.
There has been no neighbourhood-based context considered for either of these proposals. Nor has the Vancouver Plan completed the consultation process or the recalibration of the housing targets based on data that has yet to be provided. This should be all done in advance to inform any proposals and prior to considering referral for such sweeping changes to zoning.
It is completely against every planning principle to be referring this report to public hearing before the larger issues regarding the Vancouver Plan have been addressed, and without neighbourhood-based planning completed. To refer this report now is making assumptions and setting precedents that limit future options in advance of this process.
These proposals are also in conflict with the Interim Rezoning Policy for Kitsilano and West Point Grey that requires a “collaborative neighbourhood-based process” which has not, as yet, taken place. Additionally, the IRP restricts rezoning to projects already approved to proceed, and to future collaborative neighbourhood-based processes that focus on rental-only zoning along Broadway and West 10th Avenue. The other area covered by Interim Rezoning Policy east of Vine for the Broadway Plan is exempt from the proposed C2 changes.
A Change.org Petition: Our Communities Our Plans, is opposed to these arbitrary rezoning policies and is currently over 3,500 signatures. https://www.change.org/p/city-of-vancouver-council-officials-our-communities-our-plans-99961c91-4a17-497d-86c8-b385b3c0f315
During previous discussions with staff, the public was told that unprotected buildings listed on the heritage inventory would be exempt from these spot rental rezonings as had been in earlier drafts of the proposals. But here in this report, listed unprotected heritage buildings are explicitly included as eligible for rezoning, that is a further incentive for demolition and undermines retention incentives.
We also note that the Climate Emergency Action Plan proposal is to eliminate onsite parking requirements for new development, that offloads those costs and impacts onto the surrounding area. This would affect these rental rezoning proposals.
The related Climate Emergency Parking Program is a City cash-grab that takes advantage of the removal of onsite parking minimums in new development by implementing city-wide pay parking permits, making the city yet more unaffordable and unlivable for the residents. If these changes are implemented as proposed, it would further add increased parking pressure in the surrounding areas where these rental rezonings would occur. These parking issues should be resolved before referral of this report so those issues can also be considered and addressed in the rezoning reports.
Please refer this report back to staff to allow for more basic planning work and community consultation, which should be done prior to finalizing proposals for rezoning. Also to direct staff to divide this report into two separate reports and public hearings: one for the area rezoning of the commercial C2 zones; and the other for the creation of new rental zones for future spot rezonings under Secured Rental Policy.
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods