Check WEN website tonite for basic updates on 1401 Comox public hearing

The Public Hearing for 1401 Comox was held on June 11 and 13, 2012. The majority of speakers were against the rezoning — with the major reason being the developer had failed to justify the huge requested increase in height and density — to build for-profit rental apartments at the highest price the market will bear. The final council decision will be at a 9:30 am Regular Council meeting on June 27, 2012.

Links to video, correspondence (for and against), plus applicant and staff presentations are now online here. Minutes of the meeting indicate names of speakers.

Final update of live blogging of public hearing, 00:28 am, June 14, 2012. Speaker 85 finished, mayor called for more speakers, several came up. Applicant and staff speak. Mayor announces that Public Hearing is closed. Council will discuss next in Regular Council, 9:30 am, June 27.

Near-final speaker shocks the room by directly asking the developer to spare the council from making a difficult decision and spare himself the trouble of being rejected, and to WITHDRAW his application. She said if he doesn’t withdraw his application, she would like to start a movement to raise $4 million dollars and BUY the property for the community. APPLAUSE.

Inspired math: Want 186 rental units for the West End? Miracle solution — The City decides to enforce the bylaws, requires Ben Yeung of Peterson Investment Group to actually use Carmana Plaza as it’s supposed to be — rentals  (96 units), instead of as a hotel. Charge back for taxes that were foregone over the past several years. Then let Westbank/Peterson/Henriquez create 90 units at 1401 Comox  in a revised 2.75 – 3.5 FSR building. Voila, less disruption, a more acceptable building. And 186 new rental units for the West End.

Council video will be up on the city website within a day or two here. First night is already up.

Check back here periodically for updates on speaker number, critical info on the Public Hearing on 1401 Comox, tonight at Vancouver City Hall. Newest entries will be at the top. On Twitter go to WENvancouver.

  • 00:18. Questions from Council to staff. Carr asks (1) about covenants for rentals for 60 years, specifying Carmanan Plaza. Staff cannot answer. (2) About shadowing on Broughton mini-park. Measure at 10, noon, and 2 pm.
  • 00:16. Planner Karen Hoese summarizes for staff. 67 speakers 56 opposed? People in favor want new rentals. Opposed had many reasons.
  • 00:13 Gregory Henriquez gives closing presentation for applicants, praises the democratic process. Mentions how two generations in his family have built affordable housing in Vancouver.
  • 00:07, Duncan Wlodarczak (sp), former member of WEMAC, speaks strongly in favour of the rezoning. First speaker and last speaker at public hearing were from Mayor’s West End Advisory Committee. Both strongly in favor of the rezoning.
  • Midnight: Rand Chatterjee talks about errors in staff report about land lift. Also about rezoning creating speculative pressure.
  • Sarah Isaacs spoke in praise of maintaining FSR of 3.X in West End.
  • A few more speakers. Dr Walsh (sp?) encouraged developer to withdraw the application, or else she would like to raise the money to buy the site for the community.
  • 11:31, rep of Dr. Peter Centre is interested in leasing spaces from Westbank.
  • 10:20, Ned Jacobs speaks on urban design, livability of West End.
  • 9:52: Rusty Ker speaking on 6 important points — fit, greenway, Carmana Plaza, land lift, and more, many questions for Council must get answered by staff before they make there decision — or else it will come back to haunt them.
  • 9:35 Elizabeth Murphy
  • 9:13. Speaker 53
  • 9:05 pm: Mayor says restarting soon.
  • 8:47 pm. Speaker 51 finished. Next is RECESS, then Speaker 52
  • 8:28 Speaker Bill McCreery. Former TEAM parks board commissioner. Continuing on history of West End zoning.
  • 8:21. Speaker 49. Jonathan Baker, municipal lawyer, former NPA alderman. He is not criticizing the architect or developer. “I am criticizing you, Mr. Mayor, for violating the compact” (social contract). I am worried what you are doing to the West End, you’ll do every where else in Vancouver. That’s why I’m here.”
  • 8:13. Speaker 46.
  • 8:03. Speaker 45. Talking about how hard it is for people to speak to council. About diversity of West End.
  • 7:53. Speaker 43 is up now. Mother, professional, family member. Says the development army is at the gates and pleads with council to protect her community. Powerful. Concludes by offering solutions. Mayor didn’t let her ask a question of Clr Meggs who will soon be running for provincial nomination on NDP. Clr Ball asks for copy of her speech.
  • Speaker 42, against 1401 Comox. Main issue is destruction of character of neighbourhood.
  • 7:41 pm. Speaker #41 up now. Andrew Longhurst speaking for COPE.
  • 6:41 pm. Soon to start with Speaker #32.
  • 6:30 She is supposed to answer questions about flaws in WEMAC survey report. Will she do so?
  • 6:28: Ms. Hoese says height was reduced a bit but removing community amenity space on roof. An independent expert believes the real reason (unstated by staff) is that the original design intruded into a protected view corridor.
  • 6:16: Planning staffer Karen Hoese is answering about 15 questions from Council from June 11. Transportation manger D. reports on Comox-Helmcken Greenway project and developer’s sudden idea for greening of Broughton Street.
  • Westbank CEO Ian Gillespie visible at meeting
  • 6:10 pm: People arriving. About 83 names are on list, but there have been some withdrawn/crossed out.
  • Clerk says if Council does not hear all speakers tonight, next night may be late June. Mayor will state at start of meeting.
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