Tell the City We Need Apartments on Quiet Streets

Survey on Rental in “Transition Areas” Closes Soon; Fill it out Today!

Apartments on a quiet streetThe City of Vancouver wants to hear from you about their revised policy allowing apartments near arterial roads. The policy will allow single-family (RS) and duplex (RT) lots to be rezoned for small rental buildings, generally up to 6-storeys on arterial roads and 4-storeys up to one block away. Kitsilano NIMBYs are fighting this hard, the policy is at risk of being watered-down even more. Your voice can make a difference!

TL;DR: Here are a few important points to consider before answering the survey:

Question 1: Do you have comments on any of the proposed policy changes?

  • Still Breathing Diesel Fumes: This policy still only allows apartments within 1 block of arterial streets. Renters deserve to be allowed to live on quiet, clean side streets too. The 1 block limit should be removed entirely: apartments should be allowed anywhere near schools, parks, or shopping nodes (or just anywhere!).

Question 2: Do you have any comments on the new rental zones?

  • More Options for Moderate Income Rental: There are not enough incentives for moderate income rental apartments and the incentives described do not appear very financially attractive. Only a 9% increase in floor space is offered for reserving 20% of an apartment building for below market apartments, and this small bonus is only allowed directly on arterial streets. The City is running way behind the rental targets in the Vancouver Housing Strategy, there should be more and better incentives, such as allowing 6-storey buildings with moderate income homes off-arterial and providing options for 12-storey mass timber construction in at least some locations.

 Question 3: Do you have any other comments on the Secured Rental Policy for Low-Density Transition Areas?

  • This is an important policy for creating much-needed rental housing. The scale of this policy has not changed much from the original 2012 policy; which ignores the worsening crisis, a critical shortage of rental housing and the rapidly rising rents over the past several years. More ambitious policies are needed now.

 You can answer the survey and read more about the policy at the City’s consultation page, but be sure to submit your thoughts as the survey closes soon!

 Want to know more? More analysis after the flip…

More about Question 1:Draft Eligibility Map

  • Why is Shaughnessy Getting Cut-Out of the Map? The new eligibility map mostly excludes Shaughnessy, where two applications on Granville went to rezoning under the previous policy. Instead of banning apartments, a commercial node should be created, if needed to justify keeping Granville St on the map. Besides, Shaughnessy deserves to be a “15-minute neighbourhood” too!

The ban on apartment buildings and other exclusionary measures in Shaughnessy have exacerbated the housing crisis over the last several decades, as the area has “exported” its natural growth to other areas as its own population shrank. It is centrally located and close to tens of thousands of jobs on Broadway and Downtown, making their exclusive zoning extremely wasteful.

More about Question 2:

  • Straightforward Zoning Schedule: The rezoning process should be straightforward and affordable so that homeowners can apply for rezoning themselves, before even hiring an architect for the development application process, if they choose to do so. This will make the rezoning itself less of a financial risk and burden, enabling more rental housing overall. Ideally, the rezoning process should be eliminated through the use of rental-only pre-zoning.

1.75 FSR 4-Storey Apartment on 66'-wide lot (max 99')● What about 50’ Lots? As some lots in Vancouver are 50’ wide, the rezoning policy needs to include options for 50’ or 100’-wide apartment lots (50’ wide lots are only considered for 6-plexes or townhomes in the Rental Zones document). It is suspicious that the apartment lot size starts at 66’ and caps out at 99’, one foot short of a two 50’-lot assembly...

  • Apartment Options for Large Assemblies: The regulations only explicitly allow apartments on assemblies up to 99’ wide. More ambitious options than townhomes should be considered on larger sites, especially with deep lots, such as courtyard apartments, apartments with point towers, 12-storey mass timber, etc.

What do you think of the proposed "Transition Areas" policy? Let us know what you think on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But don’t forget to answer the City’s survey before October 4th!

Thanks for reading. Here are useful references provided by the City: