As hearings on the final 15 recommendations of Vancouver’s affordable housing task force began Wednesday, concerns emerged about the team’s first priority: allowing developers to apply to build mid-rise structures on transit arteries that would be up to six storeys in height.
If passed, the city would test the waters by processing 20 applications, and then expand or revise the interim rezoning policy based on feedback.
The policy would only allow council to consider applications for mid-rise rental and condo developments within 500 metres of neighbourhood centres and local shopping centres well-served by transit. These areas are indicated on the map in pink and red, respectively.
Condos would have to be sold for at least 20 per cent below market value and include legal mechanisms to maintain that level of affordability over time.
In areas within 1.5 blocks of high frequency transit arteries, but not near commercial centres, the maximum eligible height would go down to 3.5 storeys. These arterials are indicated on the map with grey lines.
Dunbar resident Susan Davis, one of 22 speakers lined up to address council Wednesday, told Metro she wouldn’t mind if duplexes, row houses, and stacked townhouses up to 3.5 storeys were developed just behind her home — but six storeys would put too much pressure on the busy neighbourhood.
“Pretty soon, along all the arterials, not just Dunbar Street, they’ll look like canyons. You’ll look down the street and there will be these huge structures,” she said.
“A six-storey, block-long structure in a residential area of single-family homes is unsuitable.”
Her concerns include height, shadowing, and invasion of privacy for those living in single-family homes.
The task force’s final report says all applications would be scrutinized for “shadow analysis, view impacts, frontage length, building massing, setbacks,” and applicants would have to be able to demonstrate “a degree of community support.”
Deputy city manager David McLellan emphasized on Tuesday that if the interim rezoning policy passes, applications will still be subject to standard rezoning processes, including public hearings.
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Download the affordable housing task force’s final report here.