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”)

Dear Mayor and Council,

West End Neighbours (WEN) opposes the staff-proposed referral to Public Hearing of “Proposed Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan,” on your agenda for February 4.

We call upon the City to take more time and provide adequate public notice, explain the contents/implications comprehensively and in plain language, give residents an opportunity to provide input, and use that input to improve the content of the amendments. We hope that by doing things right, the public input will improve the proposed changes and help avoid future problems for both citizens and the City.

We echo community concerns expressed by many others regarding this Motion, which appears be trying to rush through changes in response to the Supreme Court ruling that came down on Jan 27th (Mr. Justice McEwan: Community Association of New Yaletown v. CoV, DPB, and Brenhill Developments Limited). Justice McEwan called for numerous changes in the City’s way of doing things, but the content and process of the proposed amendments fail to address the spirit of his ruling.

As one very basic example, even the very title of the document appear to be misleading, as the proposed changes relate not only to Downtown, but also to the West End and other neighbourhoods.

We refer to CANY’s letter to Mayor and Council on February 2.
http://www.newyaletown.ca/2015/02/cany-letter-re-amendments-to-downtown-official-development-plan/
In particular, we share these concerns identified therein:

  • There has been no public consultation or input into the amendments
  • There has been insufficient notice
  • The amendments appear to remove council oversight and public input
  • The amendments may violate the Vancouver Charter
  • The amendments would implement inconsistent definitions of social housing terminology
  • This is a citywide issue, deserving of citywide input

Please send this document back to staff for further work and revisions before considering sending it on to a Public Hearing.

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Epilogue.

After a detailed discussion, Council passed this motion. Below is an excerpt of the minutes.

http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150204/documents/cfsc20150204min.pdf

A Regular Meeting of the Standing Committee of Council on City Finance and Services was held on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at 9:40 am, in the Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall.

Item 3. Proposed Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan January 29, 2015

The General Manager of Planning and Development Services explained the rationale for the application and responded to questions.

REFERRAL MOVED by Councillor Louie
THAT the Committee recommend to Council

THAT Council refer the Policy Report dated January 29, 2015, entitled “Proposed Amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan”, back to staff in order to provide clarity on questions from Council and to allow the public additional time to review the staff proposal in advance of a future Council meeting.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY The Committee adjourned at 10:40 am.

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The video is now online from the meeting.
http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver/
Click on Feb 4 date – this item: 3. Proposed Amendments – Downtown Official Development Plan 2015-02-04 00:57:24

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