West Enders: Buy resident parking permit now (if you don’t have one) to save hundreds of dollars a year in future

West Enders who do not yet have resident parking permits may wish to make their purchase soon, because NEW parking permits in the West End are expected to cost about $600 per year, whereas renewals (May 2017) are expected to be about $75 for existing permit holders.

This is somewhat speculative, but in the near future and without much warning, City staff are likely to send their recommendations to Vancouver City Council to adopt their proposals to “improve” parking in the West End.

If you (or friends or family members) may need street parking in future, you can buy a West End Parking Permit online here (see conditions for eligibility):
https://app.vancouver.ca/ResidentialParkingPermit_net/

If you purchase the permit now, the pricing is “pro-rated” to the end of May 2017, so it works out to about $42 for the remaining portion of the permit lifespan. You will need your ICBC documentation to complete the online renewal.

See our previous coverage on this topic: Continue reading

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West End / Coal Harbour Housing Forum – Nov 24 (Thurs) – by West End/Coal Harbour MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert

spencer-chandra-herbert-photoHere is an announcement from BC MLA for the West End and Coal Harbour, Spencer Chandra Herbert, who says “We are a community currently experiencing a devastating housing crisis that affects so many of us.”

spencer-renter-forum-poster-24-nov-2016
6:30 pm, Thursday, November 24, 2016
St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis St.

Housing Forum Speakers

  • David Eby – NDP Official Opposition Housing Spokesperson
  • David Hutniak – Landlord BC
  • Karen Sawatzky – Air BnB Researcher
  • Danny Oleksiuk –Abundant Housing Vancouver
  • St. Paul’s Advocacy

 

 

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Adriane Carr town hall meeting in West End Nov 30 (Wed) as Neighbourhood Liaison Councillor

adriane-carr-town-hall-photo-nov-2016Councillor Adriane Carr Holding Neighbourhood Liaison Town Hall Meetings

Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr has scheduled Town Hall Meetings in the four neighbourhoods to which she has been assigned “neighbourhood councillor liaison” duty, including the West End. Below are the dates, with the West End event in bold.

  • Mon. Nov. 21 – 7:30-9:30 pm – West Point Grey United Church – 4595 West 8th Avenue
  • Wed. Nov 23 – 7:30-9:30 pm – Killarney Community Centre – 6260 Killarney Street
  • Fri. Nov 25 – 6:30-8:30 pm – Strathcona Community Centre – 601 Keefer Street
  • Wed. Nov 30 – 6:30-8:30 pm – Gordon Neighbourhood House (West End) – 1019 Broughton Street

Councillor Carr will be starting each meeting with an update on Federal Cabinet’s Kinder Morgan decision, urging attendees to help distribute flyers providing Vancouver residents with the information they need to urge Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet to say “NO” to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker expansion plans.

The bulk of the meeting will be an open mic Q&A session allowing people to raise any question or Vancouver issue of concern to them. Councillor Carr has engaged Pete Fry to help her with follow-up on the issues raised. Continue reading

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Realtor lists 1045 Haro strata & offices at 875 Thurlow, potential for 2 new 60-storey towers: Case study for West End Community Plan

The URBAN YVR blog has a post dated November 5 entitled “West End strata goes up for sale, two new 550′ feet tall towers could be allowed: Redevelopment of strata and office buildings could transform block next to Sutton Place Hotel.” It describes a current listing  with realtor Cushman & Wakefield for two sites in one sales package (1045 Haro and 875 Thurlow). One of the buildings currently on the site is a 161-unit strata building just 36 years old. The other is a commercial building just renovated this year in 2016.

This is another site to follow in order for the community to understand the impacts of the West End Community Plan, adopted by City Council in November 2013.

City Council and city planners spoke little of any potential development rush during the consultations with residents in the community, and instead emphasized “affordability”: “Strategically locate opportunities for new growth through increased heights and densities along the Georgia and Burrard Corridors and in Lower Robson to help deepen housing affordability and to contribute public benefits” (excerpt from “Overall directions” (page 43)). The term “deepen” was not defined in the Plan. Will future uses of this property “deepen” affordability in the West End? Changes to the provincial strata corporation act have also facilitated the liquidation of strata condo housing. Are city and provincial policies inviting speculation and the opposite of the promised affordability effect?

It will be interesting to follow this site and learn more about the impacts of the Plan on current residents of this building, how the deal was orchestrated, and who actually controls ownership of the property. And who benefits from the West End Plan.

Below are some points and excerpts, but please visit the original post and the realtor’s pamphlet (PDF) for more text.

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  • The property covers almost an entire downtown city block, and is currently mixed-use building with 161 strata lots. 1045-haro-cushman-wakefield-listing-package-nov-2016-sm
  • Cushman & Wakefield is representing owners of two sites: the “City View” strata condominium complex at 1045 Haro Street (a seven-storey building built in 1980 — making it just 36 years old), and the commercial building at 842 Thurlow Street, which was renovated this year (2016).

    1045-haro-strata-bldg-google-streeview-nov-2016

    36-year old strata at 1045 Haro

  • Cushman & Wakefield describes the property as “one of the largest and most prominent redevelopment opportunities ever experienced in downtown Vancouver.”
  • URBAN YVR says, “These previously under-appreciated properties are suddenly some of downtown Vancouver’s hottest redevelopment opportunities due to changes introduced in the West End Community Plan, adopted by the city in 2013 but now just starting to have an impact on the area.”842-thurlow-office-bldg-google-streetview-nov-2016
  • The Plan allows buildings up to 60 storeys in some locations. This property falls under the “Burrard Corridor E” part of the West End Community Plan, where building heights up to 550 feet can be considered (see page 50 of West End Community Plan).
  • Cushman & Wakefield: “It is estimated that 1045 Haro redevelopment presents the potential to redevelop the site to, likely, a two tower redevelopment scheme.”
  • URBAN YVR: “The increase in allowable building heights has already caused a land rush in the area, with one run-down, three storey walk-up on Nelson Street being flipped for $68 million in a deal earlier this yearIndividual condo owners in strata buildings are cashing out, banding together to sell their buildings in the West End to developers, in some cases receiving double the market value for their units due to the higher building heights now allowed in the West End plan.”
  • The property sale at 1045 Haro Street is subject to a bid process with no formal asking price. More details are in Cushman & Wakefield’s offering brochure here.

Continue reading

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West End parking: Paul Juzkow reports on research, comments on City’s responses. Council decision coming soon.

cov-west-end-parking-9-recommendations-july-2016

Nine recommendations by City staff to solve parking problems in the West End. The public should have a chance to speak to Mayor and City Council when the topic comes up in the fall of 2016.

A year ago, West End residents learned that the City of Vancouver was consulting the public and looking for solutions to parking problems in the West End. In July 2016 we learned that staff had issued nine recommendations, including a 700% percent increase in resident parking permit fees.

Paul Juzkow, a twenty-five year resident of the West End, has spent a lot of time and effort investigating the issues, taking notes and making observations, corresponding with City Hall, and talking to community members on the topic of parking issues and the nine recommendations. He has kindly shared with us some excerpts of responses from the City, plus his own comments and observations. We are happy to post them here, noting that the opinions are his. See our July 14 post for his earlier comments, plus links to media coverage (Resident critiques City’s bulletin on new West End parking policy recommendations after public outcry).

The consultation process has basically ended, and City staff are expected to submit their report to City Council this fall. That will be the public’s last and only real chance to speak to Mayor and Council, your elected officials, on this topic.

Anyone who will be affected by the proposed parking changes in the West End, now is the time to prepare to communicate with Mayor and Council (once the meeting date is set and documents are available).

Nine recommendations from the City:

  1. Charge market-based rates for new parking permits
  2. Keep existing permit holders on the same rates
  3. Create a parking benefit district
  4. Divide the permit zone
  5. Unlock unused parking
  6. Improve parking enforcement and driving alternatives
  7. Let visitors park in residential spaces when it’s less busy
  8. Add parking meters to some visitor parking spaces
  9. Convert some residential parking to visitor parking

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West End Parking Changes Update
By Paul Juzkow, October 18, 2016

The City replied to me on an email that I had sent listing my evaluation of the City’s 9 recommendations regarding parking in the West End (I am “against” 1, 4, 8, 9, “for” 5 and 7, and “neutral” on 2, 3, and 6). (See full details on the City’s web page, http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/west-end-parking-strategy.aspx). My comments are based on what I heard from residents of the West End and some of my own ideas. In this post I share the responses I received from the City, and my comments on each one.

Additionally, many people have asked me to comment on the Mobi Bicycles. At the bottom, I share some thoughts about the impacts of the Mobi bike-sharing system, Construction, and Movie Filming, on parking in the West End.

RESPONSES FROM CITY OF VANCOUVER, AND COMMENTS BY PAUL JUZKOW

Recommendation 1: “Charge market-based rates for new parking permits”
City: “The price increase is intended to reduce the difference in cost between on-street and off-street parking. $50/month would fall near the low end of off-street parking prices in the West End. The risk in implementing a smaller increase, or series of smaller increases is that it wouldn’t achieve the goal of equalizing the cost of parking choices in the neighbourhood.”

Paul: My position is “against.” The City doesn’t even mention my main objection, i.e. that this will decease affordability in the neighbourhood. We are going to make our neighbourhood way less affordable to save some residents “5 minutes and over 1 km of extra driving.” I think residents would pick affordability over the 5 extra minutes any day!

Also, the City also doesn’t mention that this dramatic increase goes against the City Council approved Transportation 2040 plan which states the intent would be to “gradually raise prices.” 700% is not a gradual increase!

Recommendation 3: “Create a parking benefit district”
City: “Regarding the re-investment of parking revenues in a West End benefit district: Our recommendations will be part of a council report that will fully state our intentions on this issue. More details on the benefit district and potential ways to create or enhance West End amenities will be available moving forward.”

Paul: My position is “neutral.” If the City does proceed with these parking changes it could result in up to $5 million more collected from parking permits and meters. We would want this money spent in the West End! From the response it sounds like this will be recommended. Continue reading

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West End topics at City Hall this week: towers at 1550 Alberni, 1488 Robson, 1345 Davie, and more

1550-alberni-1-changingcitybook

1550 Alberni, 43-storey tower, public hearing October 20 (Thurs)

1345-davie-render-1-changingcitybook

1345 Davie Street, two towers at 18 and 20 storeys, going to Urban Design Panel on October 19 (Wednesday)

1400-or-1488-robson-changingcitybook

1400 or 1488 Robson, two towers at 28 and 30 storeys, on current site of Empire Landmark Hotel, going to Urban Design Panel on October 19 (Wednesday)

1280-burrard-render-changingcitybook

1280 Burrard, commercial building at center, part of Burrard Place development, going to Urban Design Panel on October 19 (Wednesday)

(Updated) Heights are rising in and around the West End.

Westenders may want to note a few topics at City Hall this week. The Urban Design Panel on Oct 19 (Wednesday) has three items in or near the West End, and a public hearing on Oct 20 (Thursday) has a major tower proposed. If you are concerned about any of these we encourage you to communicate your concerns to the meeting indicated.

Also, for Regular Council on October 18, Mayor Robertson is proposing that Councillors Tim Stevenson and Adriane Carr be the “Neighbourhood Liaison Councillors” for the West End.

Now, the public Hearing….

On the agenda for the Public Hearing (Oct 20 Thurs), note item #5:

  • REZONING: 1550 Alberni Street (43-storey market residential tower with commercial at grade, height of 132.35 m or 434 ft, FSR 14.15). Information on this project is located at the link below:
    http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1550alberni/index.htmThe density for this project at 14.15 FSR (Floor Space Ratio) is very large – approximately triple that of early projects in the Downtown South area, and exceeding almost all existing sites in the West End – but is representative of the type of density likely to arise through future rezoning applications in the West End.

And the day before that, on the agenda for the Urban Design Panel (Oct 19 Wed), note items #2, #3 and #4:

  • 1400/1488 Robson Street (currently the Empire Landmark Hotel, to be demolished, replaced by two towers, one 28 and one 30 storeys, in the West End, between Broughton and Nicola Streets). More information for this project is located here:
    http://development.vancouver.ca/1488robson/index.htm
  • 1345 Davie Street (two residential towers at 18 and 20 storeys, containing 153 dwelling units, West End, between Jervis and Broughton). More information:
    http://development.vancouver.ca/1345davie/index.htm
  • 1290 Burrard Street (Burrard Place – which already has a 54-storey tower planned — this application is for a 13-storey commercial building, downtown area). (This is technically just across the street from the West End.). More information (though listed for some reason as 1280 Burrard):
    http://development.vancouver.ca/1280burrard/index.htm

Note: Credits for the graphics above go to the respective developers, via the Changing City Updates blog (https://changingcitybook.com/).

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The projects at 1400 Robson Street and 1345 Davie Street each involve re-development of existing sites in the West End. Development of this type was “pre-zoned” with the adoption of the West End Community plan, and no consideration by City Council, or public hearing, is required for these projects – only consideration by the Development Permit Board. Continue reading

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1345 Davie Street to see 18 & 19-storey towers: DPB decision Dec 12

1345-davie-vanmap-location1345 Davie Street is subject to an application to build two new residential towers, 18 and 19 storeys high.

This we have learned from the schedule of the “Development Permit Board” for December 12, 2016. At this moment (Sept 22), only limited information about the application has been made public, and no information about the application is posted on the City’s “Development Applications” web page.

It would replace a four storey rental building built in 1979, and possibly a 1950s 3-storey building next door. The remainder of the block is also being redeveloped with “The Jervis” (condo and non-market rental tower). The location is between Broughton and Jervis on the north side of Davie Street.

This is another outcome of mass rezoning of sections of our community shortly after the West End Community Plan was adopted by City Council in 2013. As we have seen with other major tower developments since then, the application will go straight to the City’s internal DPB. The public may address the DPB, but there is no public hearing, no chance to address elected officials.

Here is information from the DPB listing of upcoming meetings.
Address: 1345 Davie Street
Application no: DP-2016-00373
Applicant: Marcon Project (457) Ltd.
Description: To develop the site with two new 18 and 19-storey residential towers containing 153 market dwelling units [this means condos], with a 3 and 4-storey podium containing 68 social housing units with a total FSR of 6.55, over three levels of below grade parking containing 257 parking spaces accessed from the lane.
Contact: Wendy LeBreton 604.871.6796
DPB date: December 12, 2016

WEN has done a bit of extra research and found this, going back to February 2016…

1345 Davie Street (Berkeley Place – just west of the new “Jervis” building) sold in 2015 for $24 million. There was an “offering for investment interest” (download PDF from British Columbia Securities Commission) from Marcon and McAllister Properties dated December 1, 2015. Continue reading

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West End’s 42-storey Empire Landmark Hotel to be demolished, two towers built (28 & 30 storeys)

entrance-credit-empire-landmark-hotelTwo towers (28 and 30 storeys) are being proposed to take the place of what is now the 42-storey Empire Landmark Hotel at 1400 Robson Street.

This is another outcome of mass rezoning of sections of our community (lower Davie and lower Robson) shortly after the West End Community Plan was adopted by City Council in 2013. The application goes straight to the City’s internal “Development Permit Board” for approval. The public may address the DPB, but there is no public hearing, no chance to address elected officials.

Here is information from the DPB listing of upcoming meetings.
Address: 1400 Robson Street
Application no: DP-2016-00376
Applicant: Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership
Description: To develop the site with a 28 and 30 storey mixed use building that includes 280 dwelling units (223 market/57 social housing), retail use on ground floor, and office use on the second floor all over four levels of underground parking accessed from the lane. There is also a 10% heritage density transfer.
Contact: Lisa King 604.873.7642
DPB date: December 12, 2016

Here are some extra points from the Daily Hive story (Kenneth Chan writing for Daily Hive broke the news yesterday with “42-storey Empire Landmark Hotel in downtown Vancouver to be demolished.”): Continue reading

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Open House for proposed 1500 West Georgia 43-storey tower (Bosa/Kingswood): Sept 29 (Thurs)

1500-west-georgia-building-renderings-sept-2016Open House organized by City of Vancouver
When: 5 to 8 pm, September 29, 2016 (Thursday)
Where: Empire Landmark Hotel (1400 Robson Street)
Note: Applicant team and City staff will be available to answer questions.
Developer: Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties

Provide comments by filling out online feedback form. Comments will be accepted up to the Public Hearing date (not yet schedule as of Sept 22), but you are encouraged to provide your comments by October 30, 2016 to allow staff to consider if any changes need to be made to the proposal and to represent your comments in the report to Council.

This is another outcome of mass rezoning of sections of our community shortly after the West End Community Plan was adopted by City Council in 2013.

This is an application to rezone 1500 West Georgia Street from Downtown (DD) District to Comprehensive Development (CD-1) District to allow for a 43-storey residential development adjacent to the existing office building. The proposal includes:

  • 217 market residential units with 26,242 m2 (282,452 sq.ft.) of new floor area;
  • a floor space ratio of 11.47 and a total floor area of 46,121 m2 (496,452 sq.ft.) across the entire site (including the existing office building);
  • a restaurant at the corner of Georgia and Nicola streets; and
  • seven levels of underground parking.

This rezoning is being considered under the Rezoning Policy for the West End. Is this proposal consistent with the West End Community Plan? Compare: http://www.vancouver.ca/westend

RELATED LINKS

Official rezoning information – Rezoning Application – 1500 West Georgia Street
http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1500wgeorgia/index.htm
Continue reading

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Redevelopment of 1661 Davie Street: Safeway site to get 21 & 23 storey towers, but not fulfilling Community Plan objectives? DPB board decision July 25 (Mon)

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG1

21 and 23 storey towers proposed for Safeway site at 1661 Davie Street

(Update: The DPB approved this application on July 25, with many conditions imposed. We will follow up with a post when details are made public.)

The redevelopment of the Safeway site at 1661 Davie Street (and Cardero) with a new Safeway and two towers goes before the Development Permit Board for final approval on July 25, 2016.

Development Permit Board
Regarding 1661 DAVIE STREET (DE419982) ZONE C-5A

Monday, July 25, 2016, starting at 3:00 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting Room, City Hall
Applicants:  Henriquez Partners Architects, Westbank Project Corp, and Crombie REIT
Link: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/development-permit-board.aspx

This may be the largest development application going through the approval process since the West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2013, and for that reason, deserves close scrutiny. Does it comply with the Community Plan? And is the entire review process respectful of residents and the community? We see some problems, and they are worth noting not only for the West End but for all neighbourhoods in the City, especially those now in planning processes.

West End Neighbours has analyzed the application, comparing the promises of the West End Community Plan with the details proposed by the applicants:

Redevelopment of 1661 Davie Street (existing Safeway site): Does it fulfill Community Plan objectives? (West End Neighbours, 1-May-2016)
https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/de419982-at-1661-davie-safeway/

Our analysis shows concerns and gaps between the application and West End Community Plan, in terms of…

  1. Site Layout
  2. Size of Floorplates
  3. Streetscape and Building Finishes
  4. Lane Frontage
  5. Shadowing
  6. Public Realm
  7. Parking
  8. Construction Management

The application diverges from the West End Plan in several important ways, but the DPB has the power to put things on track — they can reject or approve the application, or require changes. Public input is important.

To provide your input to the Development Permit Board, you can speak in person, or write to the  Meeting Coordinator (lidia.mcleod@vancouver.ca) requesting the message to be distributed.  You may also wish to share comments with City Council on the broader issue of change in the West End (mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca). Continue reading

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