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Vancouver eliminates the idea of ‘downzoning’ single-family house size as a strategy for prevention demolition

March 17th, 2017 · No Comments

This was a surprise move by the city’s new director of planning.

Gil Kelley, who was supposed to be just giving an update on feedback to the city’s proposals for ways to protect “character houses,” also announced last week that it was removing one city tool from the package — the proposal to drastically limit the size a new house could be if the owner had torn down a pre-1940s house on the lot.

My Globe story on same is here. My colleague Kerry Gold did another one that has more details on people who think that was a bad move. The issue also came up at the Urbanarium debate last week, where there was a really interesting back and forth about the merits and challenges of saving character homes.

Michael Kluckner, arguing for the pro side, made what I thought was a really valid proposal — that, if the city wants more density, it should stop just stringing it along arterials or allowing gentle density throughout the whole area. Instead, it should create more Kerrisdale-like villages that allow people to form more of a sense of community, which won’t happen among apartment dwellers lined up on busy streets.

He had a post on Gordon Price’s blog re this.

Javier Campos from Heritage Vancouver, on the other hand, raised some eyebrows with his statements that the emphasis on preserving homes only pre-1940 was a sign of Vancouver “anglo-colonial bias” when it comes to housing.

The video of the debate is here.

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