City forgets to notify renters re Open House: WEN lobbies City to notify ALL residents of major developments in West End (re Open House for 19-storey tower tonight)

1177 Jervis east elevation Feb 2015Today WEN wrote senior staff at the City of Vancouver asking them to notify tenants (renters), not just property owners, regarding developments in the West End.

As we have written previously (for details, see “19-storey tower proposed at Davie & Jervis: Open House“), the City will hold an open house for a major new development on Monday, March 2, 2015. (Addresses of proposed tower: 1301/1309/1315 Davie Street and 1177 Jervis.) The proposal is for 62 market residential units (i.e., strata condo units) and 28 “social housing” units.

Blue building at centre  is in 3-D image in West End Plan

Blue building at centre is in 3-D image in West End Plan

But it has come to our attention that — contrary to previous commitments by the City to notify ALL residents of upcoming development proposals — the notices went only to owners. This has left many renters out of the process of providing input into a major development that could affect them directly, including views, shadowing, and their enjoyment of the neighbourhood.

We asked the City to respond and to take action by contacting all renters in the vicinity and ensuring that they too have a chance to provide input.

As we have written on our other post on this development, this is the first large development application submitted under the new Community Plan.

This application will NOT require a rezoning or the associated public hearing, since this area of Davie Village (along with other large areas of the West End) was rezoned en masse in the January 2014 amendment to adjust zoning to implement the Community Plan, which was adopted in November 2013. Since there will be no public hearing, and this Open House is one of the only opportunities for West Enders to provide any comment on the proposal, it is all the more important that everyone gets a fair opportunity to know about it and provide input.

WEN encourages all West End residents — regardless of their form of tenure — to participate in this process and observe how it works. This proposal is a real example of how the West End Community Plan will direct development from here on. Click below to read our letter to the City today. Continue reading

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City Council considers new housing definitions affecting West End, Downtown, and Downtown Eastside community plans (Tues, March 3)

West End aerial view, in CoV WE Plan draft 22-Oct-2013On Tuesday, March 3, Vancouver City Council will consider  “Proposed Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) including new housing definitions applicable to all areas within the DODP and including amendments to implement the West End and Downtown Eastside plans

Download the 44 page document here:  http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150303/documents/p3.pdf

The discussion will be during a Regular Council meeting starting at 9:30 am meeting on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Here is the agenda for the meeting:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150303/regu20150303ag.htm

This document was just released a few days ago, and we have not yet analyzed it for implications in the West End. (We welcome your analysis and comments.) City Hall is apparently planning to send these amendments to a Public Hearing in late March.

The background story is covered in this recent article in the Vancouver Sun:

“City of Vancouver embarks on extensive public consultation plan” (Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 25-Feb-2015):
http://www.vancouversun.com/City+Vancouver+embarks+extensive+public+consultation+plan/10843060/story.html

Excerpts:

  • In an effort to fix three little but troublesome words in its guiding downtown overall development plan, the City of Vancouver is proposing one of the most extensive public consultation and notification programs ever. 
  • From postcards and ad mail delivered to the approximately 23,000 property owners, 13,000 business license holders and 30,000 renters in the downtown districts, to accessing email lists and social media, the city is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to make sure people understand why the words “low-cost housing” are being replaced with “social housing.”
  • The extraordinary efforts, which will cost taxpayers about $60,000, stem directly from a stinging B.C. Supreme Court ruling last month that quashed two major New Yaletown developments, related public hearings and the guiding downtown overall development plan.
  • The Brenhill case, as it is known, has had wide implications for municipal governments, which are now examining the extent to which they must consult the public.
  • In his ruling, Justice Mark McEwan said Vancouver did not adequately notify residents living in the downtown overall development plan area or DODP, which covers much of the downtown. 
  • In quashing the DODP and ordering new public hearings for the Brenhill developments, the judge’s findings also exposed a similar flaw in the West End and Downtown Eastside area plans.

Additional information Continue reading

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19-storey tower proposed at Davie & Jervis: Open House Monday, March 2

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At 1301, 1309, and 1315 Davie Street there are currently three heritage houses on the north side of Davie Street, west of Jervis – an interesting 1940s three-storey walk-up sits just to the west, with a number of generally affordable rental apartments existing in the four buildings. A development application has been submitted under a new RM-5D zone created by the new West End Community Plan. The proposed development by Intracorp (see other projects in the region) is for a 19-storey tower with an FSR of 6.61. (Note that the address for the application has been changed to 1177 Jervis though the Davie Street addresses may appear in some documents).

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE
Monday, March 2, 2015, 5 to 8 pm
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
1130 Jervis Street (Just north of Davie)

This is the first large development application submitted under the new Community Plan. It appears that this application will NOT require a rezoning or the associated public hearing, since this area of Davie Village (along with other large areas of the West End) was rezoned en masse in the January 2014 amendment to adjust zoning to implement the Community Plan, which was adopted in November 2013. WEN encourages West End residents to participate in this process and observe how it works, as it is a real example of how the West End Community Plan will direct development from here on. Continue reading

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West End Arts Plan event Feb 22 – Picture the neighbourhood even more rich with arts & cultural opportunities

(We carry this story as a public service, to support WE ARTS and the arts in the West End. You can also go directly to their announcement here for more details, including sponsors. Also, at the bottom we provide a link to their Facebook page and an article. They are the folks behind the stunning news mural at the West End Community Centre.)WEArts-ArtPlanAnnouncement_web, Feb 2015

What would our West End neighbourhood be like if it were even more rich with arts and cultural opportunities?

Register FREE Now…

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/west-end-art-plan-community-consultation-tickets-15485190622

What’s an Art Plan ?

An Art Plan is the shared vision of a community. Created through a series of community arts workshops and dialogue sessions, this record will communicate a more detailed vision for arts activities and resources for the West End.

Who should attend ?

Everyone is invited to attend! This includes West End residents, businesses, community groups, families, and artists of all disciplines, cultures, and ages.

How does it work ?

The community will engage in an afternoon of creative exploration, workshops and dialogue hosted by acclaimed choreographer and teacher Judith Marcuse. The first major public event is Sunday February 22nd, (1-4pm) at the West End Community Centre. It is free-of-charge.

Why do we need it?

Continue reading

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21 story tower at 1754-1772 Pendrell Street? Revised rezoning application – Open house Feb 16, 2015 (Westbank + Henriquez)

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Community open house for public input
Monday, February 16, 2015 (5 to 8 pm)
The Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites

Henriquez Partners, on behalf of Westbank Developments, has taken over this rezoning application and revised the proposal to rezone the site to CD-1: 

  • 21 storey tower, max. height 58 m (190 ft)
  • 171 rental units, including 43 studios, 51 one-bedroom, 72 two-bedroom, and 3 three-bedroom units.
  • A proposed density of 6.55 FSR (floor space ratio)

This site has a bit of a history. It set off a storm in the West End back in 2008 when a proposal to rezone the site for a condo tower resulted in a big outcry, a town hall meeting, and political promises. Concern about the City’s plans for the future of this neighbourhood let to a 13,000+ signature petition by West End Neighbours, a virtual freeze on spot rezonings, a community plan process, and a neighbourhood-wide rezoning. See a short chronology here: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/other-rezonings/1754-pendrell/

Now the owners and architect have changed. Westbank Projects Corp built the 22-storey “The Lauren” at Comox and Broughton after demolishing St. John’s Church. CEO Ian Gillespie appears to have acquired the site and is partnering with Henriquez Partners Architects (also architect for “The Lauren” as well as “The Alexandra” on the former site of Maxine’s at Davie and Bidwell, and other buildings in the West End). This new proposal appears to be moving ahead.

The Urban Design Panel, an advisory body for City Council, unanimously rejected the designs proposed for a 21-storey tower on this site back in 2010, so it will be interesting to see how the UDP views the current proposal.

We encourage neighbours and anyone interested in this application to attend the Open House and stay involved. Rental units are being proposed. How will they be priced? What will be the positive and negative impacts on the community? How will neighbours be affected?

Some basic details are below, copied from the City’s rezoning web page: http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/

REVISED Rezoning Application – 1754-1772 Pendrell Street Continue reading

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WEN asks City Council for more time before sending “Proposed Amendments to Downtown Official Development Plan” to Public Hearing

Downtown District, subject to proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan -- implications for the West End

Downtown District, subject to proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan — implications for the West End

(Update: Council agreed to send this back to staff and NOT to move forward to a Public Hearing yet. This is a very rare outcome. See link to video and minutes of the meeting at bottom of this post.)

On January 27, WEN carried  this post “Mysterious West End connection: Yaletown residents Supreme Court victory in Emery Barnes Park raises questions,” in reference to a Supreme Court decision. Today (Feb 4) City Council is considering changes to the Downtown Official Development Plan” — which actually has implications for the West End.

In that context, WEN sent this message to Council, asking for more time before the amendments go to a Public Hearing. This is a topic to watch, as it affects the future of the West End and processes for City Hall to approve developments here.

Subject: Feb 4 Council: Opposed to referral to Public Hearing (“Proposed Amendments to Downtown Official Development Plan”) Continue reading

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Mysterious West End connection: Yaletown residents Supreme Court victory in Emery Barnes Park raises questions

508-helmcken-artists-rendering-a(Updated Jan 28 with more details) On January 27, 2015, the BC Supreme Court delivered a scathing ruling against the City of Vancouver in its dealings with the New Yaletown community downtown regarding a 36-story tower approved to be built on a corner of Emery Barnes Park (land owned by the City) and a land swap for a private lot on Richards Street. The media have covered the story extensively today (see links below). The Community Association of New Yaletown has done a detailed post (Supreme Court: Vancouver Development Process Unfair, Illegal). The essence of the case had to do with the City of Vancouver’s failure of “procedural fairness” for the public.

The West End has a mysterious connection with this case. It deserves further scrutiny. At a January 23, 2014 Public Hearing, Vancouver City Council approved bylaw changes and amendments in the West End to make zoning compatible with the West End Community Plan, which itself was adopted by Council in November 2013.

But it is somewhat of a mystery how, in the appendix at end of a 90-page document for bylaw changes for the West End, text was inserted to change provisions that would affect New Yaletown (a completely different neighbourhood) and the entire Downtown area. The City made no effort to point out the implications to residents in either neighbourhood, or to citizens who spoke at any public hearing.

Who knew? Richards & Helmcken is clearly NOT in the West End. But subtle text in zoning bylaw changes for the West End Community Plan had huge implications, for the New Yaletown neighbourhood. Map courtesy of VANMAP

Who knew? Richards & Helmcken is clearly NOT in the West End. But subtle text in zoning bylaw changes for the West End Community Plan had huge implications, for the New Yaletown neighbourhood. Map courtesy of VANMAP

In effect, the changes remove the requirement for Council’s prior approval of density increases, and remove the requirement that density increases be for social housing. On top of that, the City did not notify the public that these hidden changes would affect the New Yaletown neighbourhood, paving the way for the 508 Helmcken development. See the CANY chronology for reference to this topic.

Perhaps the public will never know how this mysterious connection came about.

Below, we provide a link to the full text of the judgement, and provide a few excerpts specifically relating to the West End, plus media links. Continue reading

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Recycle electronics, small appliances and power tools Saturday (Jan 10) at Gordon Neighbourhood House

Public service announcement14-044-23 DOE Poster GNH Dec 2014_11X17 pressready-page-001Download in PDF format: 4-044-23 DOE Poster GNH Dec 2014_11X17 pressready

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2015 in the West End: Best Wishes to All – 2nd Year of Community Plan Implementation

Thank you to all supporters who have followed and contributed to West End Neighbours and who got actively involved in the community in 2014.

We got started in 2010 and have been actively engaged in various issues in the West End since then. Last year was the first year of the implementation of the new West End Community Plan, and as a community we are still observing how it is playing out. Residents’ involvement continues to be important.

In 2015, West End Neighbours looks forward to your support, and we will continue to follow our mission: To enhance and celebrate the quality of life, the distinct, diverse character and the heritage of the West End, a livable neighbourhood between downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park. We accomplish this by influencing policy decisions and ensuring change is based on evolving community needs, is neighbourly and respectful and reflects relevant and timely engagement with residents. (More info here.)

From City Hall’s West End planning team, a message went out to the public in December. We copy it below, for your convenience.

West End Community Plan Header Dec 2014

MESSAGE FROM CITY OF VANCOUVER
WEST END PLANNING TEAM (16-Dec-2014) Continue reading

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Comox Winter Jam on the Comox-Helmcken Greenway (Sat, Dec 13), part of Lumiere West End & Yaletown (Dec 11-13)

Lumiere WEBIA image Dec 2014, image
From December 11-13, shine bright with the Lumiere Festival Society, West End BIA and Yaletown!
COMOX WINTER JAM
On Saturday, December 13, at the 1100 Block on Comox Street, enjoy seasonal music and crafting (3:30 to 5:30 pm). Then, a lantern procession (5:30 to 6:30 pm) along the Comox-Helmcken Greenway from Thurlow to the West End Community Centre at 870 Denman.  (Info: Call 3-1-1, or see facebook.com/bikevancouver)
FULL PROGRAM
Check out the full program of great Lumiere 2014 festival activities, including the Comox Winter Jam on Saturday December 13th! via West End BIAYaletown and the Lumiere Festival Society
See West End Business Improvement Association for map an itinerary: http://westendbia.com/lumiere/
***************
This holiday season, the city’s newest event organization, the Lumière Festival Vancouver Society is teaming up with the West End and Yaletown BIAs to launch Lumière 2014 from From December 11-13.In addition to new and expanded lighting installations, Lumière 2014 spectators can expect the commercial streets of Yaletown and the West End to be filled with live entertainment, street activations, and a free festive trolley tour.

Other highlights include the Comox Winter Jam light parade down the Comox-Helmcken Greenway, free ice skating at the West End Community Centre, a special appearance by Santa Claus and a Surprise Celebrity Drag Claus at the Denman Place Mall, and a carnivalesque light and performance spectacle at Yaletown’s Bill Curtis Square.

Join Yaletown and the West End BIAs and the Lumière Festival Vancouver Society in launching a new lighting event that will ‘link communities with light’ and spread holiday cheer for all to enjoy.

Lumiere WEBIA image Dec 2014, map
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