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

West Enders may take exception to the staff report stating that about 16,600 participants were involved in the planning processes for the Downtown Eastside and the West End. City staff have separately clarified that they were counting “interactions,” not “people” and that the number includes multiple counting if the same person participated more than once during the entire planning process. You may wish to request Mayor and Council to have these statements clarified by staff.

For other official information on the West End Plan implementation, you can download the January 2015 and February 2015Implementation Newsletter” from the City of Vancouver website. Note that the Feb. 2015 newsletter came out on February 27, but somehow missed mentioning the topic of amendments being made to key housing definitions to “implement the West End and Downtown Eastside plans” and the likely Public Hearing on this topic in March.

For a copy of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan’s judgement chastising Vancouver City Hall for its conduct of the Public Hearing on New Yaletown developments, which set off this whole process, see the actual text here from the Community Association of New Yaletown website:

http://www.newyaletown.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Judge-McEwan-re-Community-Association-of-New-Yaletown-v.-Vancouver-City-01-27-2015.pdf

 

 

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