HOUS­ING More hous­ing op­tions de­layed

The Georgia Straight - - Housing - By Photo by Stephen Hui

Car­l­ito Pablo

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.

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