Draft West End Community Plan ONLINE – Important Reading – Going to Council Nov 20

CoV West End Community Plan cover page DRAFT Oct 2013(Updated Oct 24, with link to consultation summary) The City’s official draft of the West End Community Plan went online late this afternoon, October 22, 2013. This is an important draft document, to influence development in the West End for the next 30 years. We have been unable to confirm exactly the status of public input yet. Comments on June 2013 open houses have not yet been made public. Some spaces are still available for the “Learning Sessions” hosted by the City on Oct 25, 26, and 29. See here (right side of page) for details.

We are not completely sure if residents will have any opportunity to see changes to this West End aerial view, in CoV WE Plan draft 22-Oct-2013text before it goes to Council and are awaiting confirmation from City staff. For further news, please see our recent web posts:

We welcome your comments and analysis of the plan and will happily compile them for the community to see.

The City of Vancouver announcement today to registered people made these points.

  • The draft West End Community Plan is available on the city webpage. Hard copies of the draft plan will be available at Joe Fortes Library, West End Seniors Network and Gordon Neighbourhood House by the end of the week.
  • The draft West End Design Guidelines for Infill Housing and the draft Rezoning Policy for the West End are also available on our webpage. These documents, along with the draft plan will be considered by Council and will help to implement the plan, after Council approval.
  • If you haven’t already, please take a look at the map and short video available on our webpage. These provide an overview of how the plan will help address long term demand for job space, new housing opportunities, and the provision of public amenities over the next 30 years.
  • If you’d like to learn more about the draft plan, the registration information for our upcoming “Learning Sessions” is available on our webpage. These sessions will provide an opportunity to learn about the plan, understand how it will help shape the future of the community, and ask questions.
  • We anticipate that the draft West End Community Plan, draft West End Design Guidelines for Infill Housing, and the draft Rezoning Policy for the West End will be considered by City Council on November 20, 2013. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details.
  • We understand no public hearing is needed for City Council to adopt the West End Community Plan.  A Public Hearing is only required for adoption of the subsequent zoning bylaw changes (an administrative step), anticipated in early 2014. If this is true, effectively, the chance for public input actually ended shortly after the June 2013 open house on the plan “directions.”
  • The first time the public saw the actual “draft community plan” was yesterday evening, October 22, 2013.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

The city has offered other Vancouver neighbourhoods currently undergoing a community plan process more time, more money, and revised processes, but this is not the case in the West End. This community deserves fair treatment and it’s up to residents to educate themselves and speak up.
 
The draft West End Community plan was released on October 22nd.  This new community plan is very important, with implications for decades. The document is 124 pages, with additional zoning provisions and laneway housing guidelines.  All of this will take some time to analyze. The implications for the West End are as yet unclear. But what is clear, is a very compressed timeline between the release of the draft plan and consideration by City Council — likely to take place November 20. 
There may be much that is good in the plan and the content does appear to offer some answers to questions previously raised.  This might make some residents wonder why this information was not provided previously.   The plan provisions have gone from general concepts and broad themes to very specific land use provisions.
A key objective for residents in this planning process was a desire for predictability and certainty, but upon initial review there appear to be some rather “open-ended” provisions regarding density bonuses.  Further, the proposed densities in the range of 8 to 9 FSR for some areas of the plan (such as lower Robson) appear to be high – far higher than most existing developed sites in the West End. 
The process moving forward is somewhat unclear, but it appears that residents have no further chance to suggest modifications to the plan. We can review it, but are offered no ability to make comments or provide input. Our last opportunity appears to have ended several months ago.
On October 24, the City published the report of the Phase 3 consultation summary:
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/west-end-community-plan-consultation-phase-3-consultation-summary.pdf
Some observations:

  • Only 36 questionnaires were submitted on laneway housing.
  • “150 participants” are listed for the “laneway housing table” at Car Free Day
  • Proposals to change parking had the lowest amount of support at 49%.

  • It is not clear how this public input informed or guided the conclusions in the draft plan.
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