Council modifies timelines for plans in Marpole, Grandview-Woodland, and Downtown Eastside
The Vision Vancouver–controlled council has tried to mollify residents who've expressed outrage over the community-planning process.
This evening, council approved Mayor Gregor Robertson's motion amending a staff report's recommendations regarding the Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, and the Downtown Eastside area plans.
The vote came three days after dozens of residents held a rally at Vancouver City Hall to protest the community-planning process.
Originally, the Grandview-Woodland community plan was scheduled to be considered by council in December.
Robertson's amendment extends this by a minimum of 12 months.
This means that the Grandview-Woodland community plan won't be voted on until after the November 2014 municipal election.
Staff had previously proposed to report back in December on creating a Citizens' Assembly to offer input into the Grandview-Woodland planning process.
This came after residents had expressed alarm about a staff proposal for 11 towers of between 18 to 36 storeys near the Commercial-Broadway Station.
The original Grandview-Woodland community plan also called for increased building heights at the intersections of Commercial Drive and Hastings Street, Commercial Drive and Venables Street, and Commercial Drive and East 1st Avenue.
Robertson added a directive in response to concerns about the Kettle Friendship Society site near Venables and Commercial.
It calls on city staff "to work with the Kettle Friendship Society, Boffo Properties, other potential partners and the community to explore development options for the Commercial and Venables proposal that would significantly reduce the proposed height of the development"
The amendment stated that this should be done "while maintaining the expanded Kettle program and maximizing the number of supportive housing units".
Marpole plan changes
Robertson also tried to defuse tensions in Marpole, where some residents complained of being blind-sided by city hall.
The Marpole community plan includes a 50 percent increase in housing units by 2041. This would involve introducing different housing types in single-family areas.
Staff tried to mollify some outraged residents by recommending that the plan be deferred for additional consultation into late 2013 or early 2014.
The staff report also suggested removing part of Marpole—bounded by West 59th and West 69th avenues and Heather and Cambie streets—from the community plan.
Robertson's amendment called for this part of Marpole to keep its existing zoning.
The mayor and council also instructed staff to examine how to "buffer the already-approved six-storey Cambie Street developments" and this single-family area.
This would occur in phase three of the Cambie corridor planning process, which will begin in 2014.
Not much changes for DTES, West End
Meanwhile, Robertson called for a minor change to the Downtown Eastside community plan, with a council vote coming no later than January 31, 2014.
Zoning and bylaw amendments would then be referred to a public hearing.
The staff report had earlier recommended a final vote by November.
There is no change to the timetable for the West End community plan, which will be considered in November.
Associated zoning and bylaw amendments for the West End are expected to go to a public hearing in early 2014.
One of the most contentious aspects of the West End plan is a recommendation for laneway housing.
At a public meeting in late August at the West End Community Centre, Vancouver's general manager of planning and development, Brian Jackson, said that laneway housing would "help us renew the rental stock".
Robertson defended the decision to bring forward community plans, saying: "We have to address the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver."