1529 Comox Street, artist’s rendering
(Updated) We previously announced these proposals (Laneway Infill Proposals – Cardero, Comox, and Nelson Streets: Analysis and comments). Each one includes the construction of new buildings three to four storeys high in the rear of buildings now on the sites.
These three “laneway infill” projects were considered by the Urban Design Panel (UDP) on August 27, 2014. The UDP is an advisory body appointed by City Council. The UDP did NOT support the 1529 Comox proposal, but DID support 1546 Nelson and 1071 Cardero (1601 Comox), although with non-unanimous decisions on each of these. These are the first development applications under what has been dubbed “Laneways 2.0” in the new West End Community Plan.
Some residents originally thought the City was talking about “laneway houses” similar to what is being built on lanes elsewhere in Vancouver, and several media reporters and commentators reinforced this idea. But what the City really had in mind is just starting to become clear now with these proposals.
The UDP outcome (non-support or support) typically gets reported to City Council or to the Development Permit Board, depending on what approval stream is involved (in this case, the Development Permit Board). It appears these projects can be approved without further Council involvement, and without a Public Hearing, as a result of adoption of the West End Community Plan. (During public consultations on the Plan, most residents were probably not informed that things would work this way. Other neighbourhoods, beware!). While “non-endorsed” applications can still be approved by the DPB (and in some cases by one person alone — the Director of Planning!), the City typically wants to see changes prior to consideration of approval. Sometimes non-supported applications are modified and come back again for review by the Urban Design Panel.
Here it the link to the initial outcome report of the meeting):
Full minutes are not posted, but we copy the text of these three decisions below. Images are from the original agenda.
Address: 1529 Comox Street
Description: To construct a new 4-storey multiple dwelling infill building at the
rear of the property consisting of six one-bedroom units and one
three-bedroom unit with surface parking space at the rear. This
application includes relocating the existing multiple dwelling
building towards the front property line with an addition.
Application Status: Development Application
Architect: Ankenman Marchand Architects
Owner: Carrera Management Corporation
Delegation: Tim Ankenman, Ankenman Marchand Architects
Daniel Martins, Ankenman Marchand Architects
Staff: Colin King and Holly Sovdi
EVALUATION: NON-SUPPORT (0-5)
Note: As of September 6, we understand that this particular application has been removed from the schedule for the October 20, 2014, Development Permit Board (DPB) meeting.
[Note that the 1529 Comox proposal includes a 520-square-foot, two-bedroom unit intended for families. One bedroom is less than 45 square feet. The City claims to be creating "affordable housing," but avoids mentioning that the trick is by shrinking the living space smaller and smaller.] Continue reading