July 22 at City Council: New Davie Village plaza to be named in memory of Vancouver LGBT leader Jim Deva

Davie Village Public Space Improvements, June 2015 report coverVancouver City Council will hear from the public on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 regarding “Davie Village Public Space Improvements and Jim Deva’s Commemoration.”

Here is a link to the meeting agenda:

http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150722/ptec20150722ag.htm

According to the design concept document, the plaza will include expanded patios, weather-protected seating and tables, additional movable seating, overhead strand lighting, new trees and plants, and a “Jim Deva Soapbox,” which the plans describe as a speaker’s corner kiosk.

Davie Village Plaza, Public Space Improvements and Jim Deva’s Commemoration
Staff report: http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150722/documents/ptec3.pdf

Georgia Straight article on the City’s conclusions regarding the Bute Street Plaza:

http://www.straight.com/news/483756/new-davie-village-plaza-be-named-memory-vancouver-lgbt-leader-jim-deva

And Planning Department summary:

http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/heart-of-davie-village-phase-3-public-consultation-summary.pdf

Article by MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert:

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Urban Design Panel (Wed, July 15) to review 22-storey tower application at 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street)

1188 Bidwell East Elevation, June 2015Please spread the word to any residents who might be interested. The Urban Design Panel will review the application for a 22-storey tower at 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street) starting at 7:15 pm on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The UDP is an advisory body to City Council. Important information often comes up at these meetings. The public is welcome to attend, but not to address the meeting.

Urban Design Panel meeting (starting 4 pm, but this item starts at 7:15 pm) Wednesday, 15-July-2015
Agenda:
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/Urban_Design_Panel_-_Agenda_-_2015.07.15.pdf

Agenda item #4.

7:15 pm Address: 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street)
DA: DE419087
Description: To construct a 22-storey mixed-use building. This proposal is for a total of 108 secured market rental dwelling units with three commercial retail units at grade.
Zoning: C-5A
Application Status: Complete Development Application
Review: First
Architect: DIALOG (Adrian Politano)
Staff: Sailen Black

WEN has described this project previously. A public open house was held on June 29. This UDP meeting is the next step. The final act will be a Development Permit Board decision slated for September 8, 2015. As this area was “pre-zoned” with the West End Community Plan many months ago, the public unfortunately has no opportunity to speak directly to elected officials at Vancouver City Council. (But nothing stops you from writing or speaking to them anyway.)

22-storey rental tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell & Davie (Reliance Properties): DPB meeting Sept 8 (Tues)

Open House Monday, June 29 for 22-storey tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell

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Public Hearing July 13 (Monday): REZONING of 1754-1772 Pendrell Street for 21-storey rental tower

1754 Pendrell model shown to UDP, April 2015

1754 Pendrell model shown to UDP, April 2015

(Epilogue: After about 18 speakers, this item was completed. City Council will hear responses from City staff and vote on this application during the next regular Council meeting, starting 9:30 am, on July 21, 2015.)

The fourth item on the agenda of the next Public Hearing is a major rezoning for a 21-storey rental tower at 1754-1722 Pendrell (just off Denman Street). This particular story goes back many years.

The proposal is by Westbank Projects Corp, with Henriquez Partners Architects.

WEN encourages anyone concerned about this rezoning to write or speak to City Council to share your opinions. (The City website above provides instructions.) Below is our short summary of information.

(Update: Please note that a News1130 story posted on July 12 has now been corrected. The title was “West End Neighbours saying ‘no’ to tower,” but WEN as an organization has not taken a position for or against this project. Our goal here is to encourage the community to be involved, and for City Council to listen. We encourage anyone with concerns to direct them to City Council — tell them whether you support or oppose, and why.)1754-1772 Pendrell mapbig

BASIC DETAILS

This is a revised rezoning application, under the new owner Westbank, to rezone the site from RM-5A (Multiple Dwelling) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District:

  • 21 storey tower, with a maximum height of 58 meters (190 ft) — versus current RM-5A outright height of 18.3 meters (about 6 storeys), and conditional height of 58 meters.
  • 171 rental units, including 43 studios, 51 One-Bedroom, 72 Two-Bedroom, and 3 Three-Bedroom units
  • A proposed density of 6.55 FSR — versus current zoned density of 2.20 FSR.

You can review some of the correspondence already submitted to the Public Hearing on the agenda page.

People opposed appear concerned about height, density, loss of views, shadows, and character of neighbourhood, among other things. Updated: One resident wrote us  that the Alexandra (Millennium project, 21 storeys, architect Henriquez, at Bidwell and Davie) took away a picturesque water and Maritime Museum beach view. The Lauren “block of concrete” (Westbank project, 22 storeys, architect Henriquez, at Nelson and Comox) took away light and views of the distance. This project at 1754 Pendrell will take away the view of the centre of English Bay (fireworks). All of these things the person cherished and were part of the reason to live there, but are being steadily eroded. We also received a comment about design errors by Henriquez at the Lauren, hoping they will not be repeated here (see bottom).

People in favour appear to like new buildings, the mix of units, the 26 units at rent 20% below market price, “secure market rental,” new design, car share, landscaping, public art, and potential funding (Gordon Neighbourhood House hopes to get a share of the $250,000 Community Amenity Contribution).  (There appears to have been some organized effort to solicit “support” letters.)

WEN has provided additional information here (history, chronology) and here (open house) and here (Urban Design Panel).

Beyond the specifics of this application, it is interesting to notice some major milestones in its evolution.

1754-1772 Pendrell yellow sign, in 2010

1754-1772 Pendrell yellow sign, in 2010

2008: An application for a 19-storey condo tower to replace a three-story walkup and coach house jolted the community awake. Outrage brought about 500 people turning out at a town hall meeting at the Coast Plaza Hotel, organized by the West End Residents Association. With the 2008 civic election in mind,  Councillor Tim Stevenson (with Vision Vancouver, then in minority on Council), told the audience, “What it’s going to take is all of us together, all of us together, letting [then mayor] Sam Sullivan and the NPA know that we’re not going any further down the road that they’ve been going and that developers are not going to make the West End into another Yaletown.”

(Based on promises like these, Vision Vancouver gained its first majority on Vancouver City Council in 2011. Co-host WERA director Jasper later later left WERA when elected with Vision Vancouver for Park Board Commissioner in 2011. WERA president ran with Vision in the 2014 election, but did not get elected. WERA closed its doors in 2015.) Continue reading

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Explained (Public Hearing July 13): Text Amendments to Zoning and Development By-law, RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, RM-5C and RM-5D Districts Schedules, etc.

West End Residential Neighbourhoods, Fig 1The Public Hearing at Vancouver City Hall starting 6 pm on Monday, July 13, 2015, includes three items affecting the West End. The title of the first would make anyone’s head spin:

TEXT AMENDMENT: Miscellaneous Text Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law, RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, RM-5C and RM-5D Districts Schedules, Downtown Official Development Plan, and various CD-1 By-laws

We asked an expert on zoning for an explanation, and she was unable to do so — links to some of the relevant documents did not even connect on the City website. So a citizen asked the City’s West End planning team for a brief explanation, in layperson’s terms, of the gist of these bylaw changes. “What are the most important points required for a person to understand what is being done here? What are the implications for the West End neighbourhood and residents? Further below is the reply, from Hale Jones-Cox, Planner, Downtown Division.

That answer seems to answer the questions without fully answering them. Sure, the City wants to include an updated map, but the underlying story might interest residents. The new RM-5D zoning on both sides of Davie Street goes from Jervis to Cardero, and includes the 19-storey Intracorp tower at 1177 Jervis (1171 Jervis) (which attracted attention for having separate doors for renters and owners, Public Hearing March 24). So we looked deeper. On the City’s Zoning & Development Bylaw 3575 page we can see RM-5D. which is one of the districts that permits greater densities than RM-5, and RM-5D in particular supports the development of social housing. Anyone interested, you are welcome to dig deeper.

******

The amendments were administrative corrections to the guidelines that were missed at the time that the zoning changes associated with the West End Plan were enacted. These housekeeping fixes have no impact on policy for the West End.

Continue reading

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Westbank/Peterson “pre-application” open house for 1550 Alberni Street: Monday, June 29, 5 pm

1500 Alberni Vanmap locationThe City of Vancouver has e-mailed out notices about the following:

Westbank/Peterson “pre-application” open house for 1550 Alberni Street
Monday, June 29, 2015
5 to 8 pm (drop-in format)
Shangri-La Hotel  (Conway Room, 6th floor, 1128 West Georgia Street)

This is a developer-hosted pre-application open house to review preliminary plans and share your feedback. More information: Sophie Perndl, Brook Pooni Associates, at sperndl@brookpooni.com.

To our knowledge, no other information is officially available about the specific plans for this site, but it appears the new West End Community Plan adopted in 2013 permits 500 foot heights here now, which could mean something like fifty storeys. The proponents are familiar names in the City’s planning department — Westbank Projects Corp and Peterson Investment Group.

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Open House Monday, June 29 for 22-storey tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell

1188 Bidwell West Elevation, June 2015As we have reported, a 22-storey rental tower is proposed at 1188 Bidwell & Davie (Reliance Properties). The City describes it as a mixed-use multi-family secured market rental residential building. As the next step, the City staff and applicant team are holding an open house, with display panels as follows:

Open House for 22-storey tower at 1188 Bidwell (DE419087)
Monday, June 29, 2015
5 to 8 pm (drop-in format)
Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson Street

As we have mentioned, it is WEN’s understanding that there will be no public hearing for this application and no review by City Council.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Your chances to speak directly to City Council regarding the future of this site was with West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2013, and then zoning was changed in January 2014. All that remains for public input is likely to be a questionnaire at the open house (June 29) and an opportunity to write and/or speak to the DPB on September 8, 2015. There will likely be no Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) paid to the City to contribute to improvements in the West End. As well, it is likely that there will be no Development Cost Levies (DCLs) charged to help offset the increased burden on City infrastructure.

Due to the West End Community Plan, that’s it for the official process on this particular site. (However, there is nothing stopping anyone from communicating to Mayor and Council on any matter at any time.)

For more information, please see http://former.vancouver.ca/devapps/1188bidwell/index.htm

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Sunday June 14 last day for survey input on Heart of Davie (which NOW includes Jervis Street)

heart-of-davie-village-project-map, COVAs we have covered earlier, the City is planning changes to the Davie and Bute intersection “to create a plaza that’s an inviting, dynamic space, which celebrates Davie Village and the local LGBTQ community.” Sunday, June 14 is the last day for public input on the survey. The city’s web link: vancouver.ca/heartofdavie. The direct link to the survey is here.

Here is something extra, not widely covered during this consultation. If you carefully review the presentation materials for the Heart of Davie consultation, you will notice that the City has quietly included changes to the Jervis Street area as part of the “Heart of Davie” plaza project. The top left corner above is part of the original presentation.

Now, see page 10 of the new display panel document: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/heart-of-davie-village-june-2015-open-house-information-displays.pdf

 heart-of-davie-village-Transpo concept

It appears that a full signal is proposed at Jervis and Davie, two way traffic to the lane, and southbound traffic only from the lane to Pendrell.

Did the City throw this in at the last moment to make life more convenient for the Intracorp development recently approved at Jervis and Davie (1177 Jervis Street).

In fact, Jervis Street is outside of the project area as shown on Page 5 of the document.heart-of-davie-village-PROJECT AREA

Here below is an enlarged view of what is now being proposed for Davie and Jervis.

heart-of-davie-village-Transpo concept JERVIS corner

General information on the project, and a link to the survey, is here:

http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/heart-of-davie-village-public-space-improvement-project.aspx

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Q&A on 19-storey tower proposed for 1171 Jervis Street (formerly 1177 Jervis) – DE418742

QUESTION FROM A WEST END RESIDENT:

What is the status of this 19-storey tower project proposed for the corner of Jervis and Davie? I would like to contribute as much as I possibly can to having it stopped if it is still possible. I have lived in the West End for nearly twenty years and am very concerned about the neighborhood and poor city planning that’s happening in Vancouver in general.1177 Jervis east elevation Feb 2015

RESPONSE FROM WEN:

Thank you for your note.

The development application at 1171 Jervis Street was approved at the Development Permit Board meeting of May 4, 2015. (A link to the meeting minutes is below.)

The West End can expect to see many more of these types of developments, unless the public gets involved in the process. Read below to see if the City’s officials opinions on the application match your own. If there is a gap, it may be a sign that the City needs to get more and better public input next time.

In this particular application, the City also failed to provide adequate notice to the community (failed to post meeting date on the notice board, and failed to notify hundreds renters living in the vicinity), so it is important to stay alert. WEN will do its best to notify residents via this website when major projects come to our attention. 

We don’t know the current status of the Building Permit at 1171 Jervis Street, but expect that within the next several months it will be processed, and demolition of the heritage houses on the site will begin.

As this site, along with many others in the West End, was rezoned as part of the implementation of the West End Community Plan, City Council is not involved in the approval process of this type of project. 

WEN’s information on the project is available here:

Continue reading

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Breaking News: Beach Towers demolition/construction project is not proceeding

Tenants at Beach Towers in Vancouver’s West End received this letter from owner Devonshire Properties. This is major news for the neighbourhood as well as tenants of 607 rental apartments in four towers (19 to 21 storeys) on two sites where the work was slated to happen — 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street.Beach Towers, Devonshire Properties letter to tenants 5-June-2015

By way of background, after a controversial public hearing and considerable public opposition in February 2013, Vancouver City Council had approved a rezoning at this site to add 133 rental units under the STIR developer incentive program. Below are some images of the current and proposed buildings.

The reasons for the change in plans  are not publicly known at this time, but these words by one tenant probably express the relief being felt in the area: “Most residents are deeply relieved, especially those who have lived a long time in the complex. The demolition and infill construction of a mid-rise, low-rise and town houses on all available open space on both sides of Harwood would have been intolerable, forcing many to move, as well as casting a dark blight on the entire neighbourhood.”

The company’s website starts with this: “People first. That has been the guiding philosophy behind Devonshire Properties since 1959.” Perhaps they have taken their philosophy to heart.

See our chronology and past coverage of this case here.

Devonshire has poured a significant amount of money into the rezoning, design, and application process. The voices of opposition expressed concerns about heritage loss, demolition/construction disruptions, scenic view loss, shadowing, expensive costs for future renters, the consultation/approval process, and many other impacts. Some even wrote to the Planning Institute of British Columbia complaining about the City’s planning department (particularly the head planner), seeking sanctions.

Below is the text of the letter to tenants. Continue reading

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22-storey rental tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell & Davie (Reliance Properties): DPB meeting Sept 8 (Tues)

Vanmap 1100 block Bidwell Street, West End(Updated 16-June-2015. After our web post on June 8, an official development application notice went up on the site, and further details have come out. Some tenants have already received notice that they will be evicted and the buildings demolished.) According to the schedule for the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board (DPB), a 22-storey tower is being proposed for 1188 Bidwell (at the corner of Davie and Bidwell). The application is listed on the DPB schedule for September 8, 2015.

Official details of the application are here: http://former.vancouver.ca/devapps/1188bidwell/index.htm

An open house sponsored by Reliance Holdings is set for 5 to 8 pm on Monday, June 29, 2015, at the Empire Landmark Hotel (1400 Robson Street) with Reliance and City staff available to answer questions and receive comments.

  • Project address: 1188 Bidwell Street
  • Application number: DE419087
  • Applicant: Reliance Holdings (http://relianceproperties.ca/)
  • Description: The development of a 22-storey mixed use building comprising 108 “secured market rental” dwelling units, and three commercial retail units at grade, all over 4 levels of underground parking, accessed off the lane.
  • Contact at City of Vancouver: Wendy LeBreton, Tel 604-871-6796

It is WEN’s understanding that there will be no public hearing for this application and no review by City Council. Why not? Many people may be surprised, but this entire section of the West End was rezoned by City Council in January 2014 to accommodate tower development as part of the implementation of the West End Community Plan, which was adopted by Council in November 2013.

All that remains for public input is likely to be a questionnaire at the open house (June 29) and an opportunity to write and/or speak to the DPB in September. Since this project appears to be under the Rental 100 developer incentive program, there will likely be no Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) paid to the City to contribute to improvements in the West End. As well, it is likely that there will be no Development Cost Levies (DCLs) charged to help offset the increased burden on City infrastructure.

WEN notes that these shops are currently on the site at the north-east corner of Bidwell and Davie: Mac’s, Enchante Hair Salon, Bosley’s Pet Foods, and Vivien’s Fashions.

We also note that Reliance Holdings also owns the rental apartment building at 1170 Bidwell, and

1170 Bidwell, image courtesy of Reliance Properties

1170 Bidwell, image courtesy of Reliance Properties

expect that is is proposed to be demolished if this project is approved.
http://relianceproperties.ca/residential-building/1170-bidwell-street

Information on the Development Proposal at 1188 Bidwell Street has been posted on the City’s website:
http://former.vancouver.ca/devapps/1188bidwell/index.htm

Reliance also owns almost all of the north side of 1400 Block Davie Street:
http://relianceproperties.ca/residential-building/1485-davie-street

Image couret

Image couret

Below are more comments on this application DE419087. You may wish to share your observations with elected officials (Mayor and Council) or seek clarifications with the West End Planning Team (westendplan@vancouver.ca). Continue reading

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