Frances Bula header image 2

Did the new five-storey building going up at Broadway and Carnarvon go through any public consultation?

Q. Frances, I noticed that the Orr development at West Broadway and Carnarvon is now framing a 5th storey on their rental building project, which is very surprising since the height limit is 4 storeys (45 feet) under the existing C2 zoning. I would be interested to know whether this additional height was approved through the Rental 100 program and whether this was done without any public consultation?

Regards, Eric

A. So, even though I have been somewhat erratic about answering some of the spine-tingling questions that are directed to City Plumber, I got interested in this one because I’ve been working on a magazine story about mid-rises (appearing soon! film rights under discussion!) and I had noticed this low-rise building going up on Broadway, where Windmill Toys used to be, if I’m not mistaken.

I really had no idea what the situation was with this project and so had to employ all of my search tricks on the City of Vancouver website. Did you know, dear readers, that there are now almost 600 sites in Vancouver zoned CD-1 (a zoning that means — we decide whatever the hell we want in terms of what kinds of uses will go on this site) and that getting to the list that itemizes them clearly is not the most simple process? It always takes me a few steps and I end up the first time at the not-so-helpful list of recently passed bylaws, which doesn’t give details on the address until you click on each item — very tedious.

Anyway, for all of you trying to find out what the actual, actual bylaw governing the latest development in your neighbourhood is, it’s very likely in this list of CD-1 rezonings here.

Now, after that little digression, back to Eric’s question. What is the deal with the building at Broadway and Carnarvon.

Yes, it is a Rental 100 project, although it doesn’t seem to say that in exactly those words in official city documents. However the official city documents do talk about giving some extra density to this site (3.37 FSR instead of the usual 3) and 83 rental units that are for-profit but affordable. (Their words, not mine.)

It did go through the standard public-hearing process. There is a link here to the initial listing of the project as a rezoning. There is a link here to the initial report, where council seems to have voted unanimously to send it to public hearing. Then there are the minutes of the public hearing, where apparently only five people came out to speak and council received seven letters in opposition and four in favour. No wonder I never noticed it. I have no time for public hearings any more that don’t generate at least 100 angry delegations!! Council also voted unanimously to approve it.

Then there is the actual bylaw as it appears in the city’s list of CD-1 bylaws.

So it appears that council did not pull a fast one here and sneak this through, but it certainly didn’t generate much attention — as is happening with a lot of the low-rise Rental 100 projects being built these days.