City forgets to notify renters re Open House: WEN lobbies City to notify ALL residents of major developments in West End (re Open House for 19-storey tower tonight)

1177 Jervis east elevation Feb 2015Today WEN wrote senior staff at the City of Vancouver asking them to notify tenants (renters), not just property owners, regarding developments in the West End.

As we have written previously (for details, see “19-storey tower proposed at Davie & Jervis: Open House“), the City will hold an open house for a major new development on Monday, March 2, 2015. (Addresses of proposed tower: 1301/1309/1315 Davie Street and 1177 Jervis.) The proposal is for 62 market residential units (i.e., strata condo units) and 28 “social housing” units.

Blue building at centre  is in 3-D image in West End Plan

Blue building at centre is in 3-D image in West End Plan

But it has come to our attention that — contrary to previous commitments by the City to notify ALL residents of upcoming development proposals — the notices went only to owners. This has left many renters out of the process of providing input into a major development that could affect them directly, including views, shadowing, and their enjoyment of the neighbourhood.

We asked the City to respond and to take action by contacting all renters in the vicinity and ensuring that they too have a chance to provide input.

As we have written on our other post on this development, this is the first large development application submitted under the new Community Plan.

This application will NOT require a rezoning or the associated public hearing, since this area of Davie Village (along with other large areas of the West End) was rezoned en masse in the January 2014 amendment to adjust zoning to implement the Community Plan, which was adopted in November 2013. Since there will be no public hearing, and this Open House is one of the only opportunities for West Enders to provide any comment on the proposal, it is all the more important that everyone gets a fair opportunity to know about it and provide input.

WEN encourages all West End residents — regardless of their form of tenure — to participate in this process and observe how it works. This proposal is a real example of how the West End Community Plan will direct development from here on. Click below to read our letter to the City today.

EMAIL FROM WEST END NEIGHBOURS, 2-MARCH-2015

SUBJECT: Public Notification for 1177 Jervis Street – Development Application File: 418742

Wendy LeBreton                              Kevin McNaney

Project Facilitator                            Assistant Director

                                                         Central Area Planning

 

cc to:    Brian Jackson, General Manager Planning & Development

             Mayor & Council

Dear Ms. LeBreton and Mr. McNaney:

The City of Vancouver has arranged for a Public Open House for this evening, Monday March 2, for the development application at 1177 Jervis Street to accommodate a 19 storey residential tower.  The notification letter for the project is available at the link below:

                http://former.vancouver.ca/devapps/1177jervis/documents/notiltr.pdf

 West End Neighbours has learned recently from a neighbour to the site (an owner) that the notification for the project’s Open House did not including tenant households.  A response from city staff confirmed that only owners were notified and that owners are encouraged to share their notification with tenants.

It does not seem reasonable that the tenants of the directly adjacent “Berkeley Place” building (1345 Davie Street), or the hundreds of other nearby rental apartment units, would have no direct notification of a project that has the potential to significantly affect them.

During the West End Community Plan process and in other development applications recently considered in the West End, the issue of notification to tenant households has been raised, and the Planning Department committed to notifying all households, regardless of tenure.  This has been noted as a key issue for the neighbourhood as over 80% of West End households are of rental tenure.   As an example of the response, the Report to Council for the Beach Towers project (1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street) makes it clear that unaddressed ad-mail was one of the techniques used to notify tenant households and notes specifically in Appendix F to the Report to Council:

A Community Open House was held on May 31, 2011 at the Coast Plaza Hotel. A notification postcard, dated May 6, 2011, was mailed to 431 surrounding property owners and an additional 2,015 postcards were sent as unaddressed ad-mail. Staff, the applicant team, and a total of approximately 160 people attended the Open House.

The full report is available at this link:

                http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20130115/documents/p4.pdf

 At this late date West End Neighbours does not anticipate that the City would make changes in the arrangements for the Open House (tonight) for the project.  We do, however, think it reasonable for the Planning Department to address the notification problem with one or both of the following actions:

  1. renter households receive written notification of the project via unaddressed ad-mail or some other means and be invited to provide comments prior to the closure of the comment period for the project; and, or
  2. both owner and renter households be advised in writing in a timely way of the date of the Development Permit Board consideration of the project and offered the opportunity to share their opinions at that time.

 We hope you will agree that notification of proposed developments should be provided to ALL residents, regardless of tenure, and will put in place procedures to ensure this can take place for the project at 1177 Jervis Street and for ALL future development projects within the West End. 

We would appreciate confirmation that you have reviewed this issue, and thank you in advance for your consideration in improving the development application review process for all stakeholders in the West End, regardless of tenure.

Sincerely,

E. Pereira, President, West End Neighbours

www.westendneighbours.ca

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