Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision councillors voted to adopt the city’s housing affordability task force’s recommendations Wednesday, with some amendments.
While the majority of the 15 recommendations went without opposition, council heard from more than 20 speakers concerned about an interim rezoning policy that could see more diverse forms of mid-rise affordable housing built near transit arteries, as well as the hot-button issue of thin streets.
The interim rezoning policy will allow council to consider applications for mid-rise rental and condo developments within 500 metres of neighbourhood centres and shopping centres well-served by transit. These areas are indicated on the map in pink and red, respectively.
The city will test the waters by processing 20 applications, limited to two within 10 blocks on any arterial, and then expand or revise the policy based on feedback.
To be considered, condo developers will have to sell units 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 goes down to 3.5 storeys. These arterials are indicated on the map with grey lines.
In response to speakers’ demand for more community consultation, the mayor asked staff to present the interim affordable housing rezoning policy to all of the city’s citizen advisory committees and neighbourhood advisory groups for feedback. They were also asked to reconvene the city’s renters’ roundtable for feedback, and report back by June 1 with a policy that incorporates the feedback.
Staff will begin looking immediately for options and community feedback on where about a dozen thin street pilot projects could be adopted into community plans underway in Marpole, Grandview-Woodland and the West End. They are expected to report back on that by the end of 2013.
Download the affordable housing task force’s final report here.