HOUSING More housing options delayed
An unfinished rezoning by the previous Vancouver city council may have to wait some more.
It’s the blanket reclassification of certain portions of Kitsilano and Kensington–cedar Cottage to allow additional housing options.
Had the changes been approved, some areas in west and central parts of Kitsilano would have had additional choices, like two single-family homes on a single lot.
The same choice of more than one principal building would also have been available in certain sectors of Kensington–cedar Cottage.
In addition, duplexes were to be deemed outright uses in sections of these two neighbourhoods. Laneway houses would also have been allowed.
However, the expansion of housing choices in these low-density areas is on hold. The last council decided this September that there wasn’t time to consider the matter in a public hearing.
A new council was elected in October, one that seems more interested in first having a citywide development plan than going in piecemeal by neighbourhood.
As far as housing advocate Brendan Dawe is concerned, the proposed changes in Kitsilano and Kensington–cedar Cottage are “incremental and modest”.
According to the founding member of Abundant Housing Vancouver, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of difference if the rezoning has to wait for the citywide plan.
“It can sort of feed into that process of developing a plan from here on out,” Dawe told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
On November 15, council directed staff to come up with a program to create a vision for the city’s future, in cooperation with residents and other stakeholders.
Staff will report back to council in early 2019 on what is expected to be a multiyear effort.
The motion to formulate a city plan was put forward by Green councillor Adriane Carr and seconded by Colleen Hardwick of the Non-partisan Association.
In her first motion as a councillor, Hardwick had sought to reverse the previous council’s mass rezoning of all single-family properties for duplexes.
However, council voted for a measured approach and will examine options to be presented by staff on December 18.
Hardwick was sought for comment on how she thinks council should proceed on the deferred consideration of zoning changes in certain areas in Kitsilano and Kensington–cedar Cottage.
“The big question now is should, in fact, this whole subject be integrated into the citywide planning process?” Hardwick asked the Straight by phone. “Because it would be nice to start with a clean slate, rather than, you know, breaking it down into specific areas like Kitsilano and Kensington–cedar Cottage. Should we not be reconsidering this in the larger context of the citywide plan?”
According to the first-term councillor, what the city needs is a plan that “recognizes the nuance of neighbourhoods”.
“What I heard from people across the city was, ‘We recognize that we need to have greater density. We just want to have a role in shaping how that density plays out in our neighbourhoods,’ ” Hardwick said.
A staff report on the proposed changes in Kitsilano and Kensington–cedar Cottage that are now on hold points to some tradeoffs for more housing options.
These include the likely demolition of small character houses in Kitsilano. In Kensington–cedar Cottage, older homes could be knocked down for “more viable duplex development”, according to the staff report.
More homes will also lead to pressures on street parking. Trees may be cut to create space for new buildings. According to the staff report, there will be less green space and natural light and more concerns about privacy.