1860 Barclay (Mason Residence) public open house, September 6 (Thurs) for heritage, infill development

For a proposed development at 1860 Barclay (the Mason Residence), Merrick Architecture and proponent George Abboud are holding a second public open house to get feedback from the public. This project is a good opportunity for West Enders to observe not only this specific application but also to compare with other projects, and to provide feedback to the City about consultation processes themselves.

September 6, 2012 (Thursday)
Drop-in format from 5 to 8 pm
At the Best Western Sands Hotel (1755 Davie Street)
Download poster: 1860 Barclay, 2nd public open house, 6-Sept-2012

Staff of the City of Vancouver have been reaching out actively to get a good turnout. WEN received the following text from the Project Facilitator:

We have received a Development Application from Merrick Architecture to retain, rehabilitate and heritage designate the existing house (Mason Residence) and to develop an addition of a 6 storey building at the rear of the site, with parking accessed from the lane. The applicant will be hosting an ‘Open House’ on September 6, 2012 @ Best Western Sands Hotel from 5-8pm to answer questions about the proposal.
Further information on this project can be found by clicking on the link below:
Please contact Michelle Au, Project Facilitator directly @ 604.871.6702 or michelle.au@vancouver.ca if you required further information.

The proposal is to construct a 6-storey infill building, retain the existing Mason Residence on the site, and seek a heritage designation. The new building would be between the existing residence and the laneway.

WEN comment: We encourage West End residents to visit the open house, and to observe the proposal and process being followed for this proposal, in contrast to much larger projects that have been approved in the West End since 2009. Of particular interest:

  1. This is a development application, not a rezoning, as it fits within the “conditional” parameters of the RM5B Zoning Bylaw.
  2. The proponent and architect started about a year ago to develop plans and consult with neighbours and neighbourhood groups. Their efforts began long BEFORE an official application went to the City.
  3. The project protects heritage.
  4. The project increases density on the site by “infill” (retaining an existing structure but constructing additional building(s) on the same site). The increase is relatively “gentle” in this case. Under the current West End Community Plan process, the public will be asked how it would like to increase density — so this project provides one example of how it can be done. Many sites in the West End allow for smaller infill developments that can provide additional housing and more density, while still respecting neighbourhood character. A proposed rezoning at Beach Towers uses a dramatic increase in density  by infill, and is opposed by many locals.
  5. In contrast to this project, large tower proposals by prominent architects and development firms since 2009 have come forward with no advance consultation, have been for rezonings with dramatic increases in permitted height and density (400% and 500% increases, respectively), with minimal public outreach by the proponents and City staff. Examples include 1215 Bidwell (originally Maxines, now called Alexandra English Bay, address changed to 1221 Bidwell Street) and 1401 Comox (originally site of St John’s Church).

Some questions the public may wish to consider at the open house:

  • How does the project benefit the community?
  • How does the project deal with zoning guidelines?
  • Is infill an appropriate way to increase density on this site?
  • Are there any features of this project that could influence future projects? For example, it appears to have “zero sideyard” setbacks proposed at the rear of the property. Will they limit what neighbours can do with their sites in future?

Further information:

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