March 16, 2015
Re: 819 Yates Street – Text Amendment to Zoning Bylaw CA-62
Dear Mayor Helps and Council,
The DRA LUC has reviewed the documents and drawings for the above-mentioned application. Additionally, the DRA LUC hosted a CALUC meeting on February 4, 2015 with Dave Chard presenting. Nineteen people from the community registered their attendance at the door.
Based on the information presented by the applicant, we understand that the purpose of the text amendment is to remove a requirement to provide two supportive housing units to facilitate the development of a residential rental building. Apart from this change, we understand that there have been no other material changes to the proposal as originally presented to the DRA LUC as part of the Development Permit Review. (Our letter of response to that presentation, dated September 12, 2014, is attached.)
There were several questions and comments from those who attended, but most were not relevant to this application. Relevant comments and concerns raised at the CALUC meeting by the public are as follows;
One person asked for clarification of the meaning of “supportive housing”;
An attendee enquired if the text amendment did not pass, and the Purchase and Sale Agreement failed, whether the project would fold;
One person enquired whether there was an option to amend the wording of the requirement for two supportive housing units such that those two units could be managed by the owner and not the CRD; and,
Following the previous question, one person asked whether the potential buyer would have an appetite to independently manage two supportive housing units within the proposed rental residential building.
There were significantly more questions and comments offered that are not relevant to this application referring largely to matters of built form, mix of unit size, projected rental prices, location of commercial frontage, parking, en suite amenities, sightlines, and timelines.
While it was encouraging to see supportive housing units included in the previously approved condominium project on this site, the requirement for the supportive units may pose an obstacle for the project to proceed as a purpose-built rental residential building. While the DRA regrets the loss of two supported housing units, on balance we think the project should go ahead with amended zoning as the benefits of 209 new rental units would greatly improve an undersupplied housing sector and add vitality to the downtown precinct. We also strongly support the proposed 10-year rental covenant being placed on the lands to ensure that the building remains market rental housing for that timeframe.
Ian Sutherland Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association PDF copy of letter