Survey on Rental in “Transition Areas” and Some Commercial Zones Closes Soon; Fill it out Today!
The 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 (direct link here - ends July 27th):
Question 1: The City should encourage the construction of secure market rental housing/below market rental housing/social housing in more neighbourhoods?
- We strongly agree with all three of these points.
Question 2: Would the proposed changes make it faster and easier to build new secure rental housing / complete neighbourhoods / to address climate emergency?
- We agree with all three of these points, with some reservations.
Question 3: Do you have any comments specific to the zoning changes for rental housing in C-2 areas [busy commercial streets]?
- This change will allow rental housing at 6-storeys to compete with condos/strata on a more level playing field. This is overdue.
- More options, such as 12-storey mass timber buildings, should be considered, especially on larger sites or near rapid transit.
Question 4: Do you have any comments specific to the rezoning policy changes for rental housing in low density areas, or the new standard rental zones?
- 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!).
- 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.
- This is an important policy for creating much-needed rental housing. The scale of this policy has not changed much from what has been allowed for years; 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 4:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 July 27th!
Thanks for reading. Here are useful references provided by the City:
- Shape Your City page
List of documents for the Low Density Transition Areas policy, including:
- Updated Draft Eligibility Map
- Building Types (and other policy specifics)
- Proposed policy changes, including requirements for blocks to be eligible.