Vancouver urban design panel rejects Cedar Cottage cohousing proposal
Making a cohousing breakthrough in Vancouver is proving to be challenging.
Where a previous attempt didn’t succeed because of the difficulty in assembling land, a recent rezoning-and-development application that covers three available lots has been sent back to the drawing board.
The Cedar Cottage Cohousing Company has again failed to win the support of the city’s urban design panel for a multifamily residential building in the 1700 block of East 33rd Avenue.
The panel is composed of members appointed by council to provide professional advice on development projects seeking city approval. For the second time, it didn’t endorse the plan, this time at its January 16 meeting.
Cohousing is a model that emphasizes cooperation among homeowners, from the conceptualization to the development and management of their buildings. Although homes are individually owned, projects feature common areas that typically include a community kitchen and dining hall.
There are cohousing developments in a number of cities in the Lower Mainland, but Vancouver has none. According to Cedar Cottage project manager Yonas Jongkind, the urban design panel had concerns about density, height, and the siting of the proposed 3.5-storey building containing 31 housing units.
“We feel a little frustrated,” Jongkind told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “We feel a little disheartened by it, and the urban design panel feels that we’re not adequately respectful of the single-family context.”
Cedar Cottage intends to present a revised application. Jongkind said, “We need to figure out how we can create a proposal that meets our needs as a cohousing [group] and meets everyone else’s needs.”