RT7 and RT8 REZONING ALERT
Dear West Kitsilano Resident
No Neighbourhood Consultation Before Referral to Public Hearing
On July 24, City Council voted to refer the rezoning of all RT7 and RT8 zoned areas of Kitsilano to Public Hearing. The date for this hearing is September 18 - just a few weeks before the upcoming municipal election.
The City will hold just one information Open House on September 5, so there will be no opportunity for feedback to incorporate neighbourhood views other than what City Council hears from speakers at the Pubic Hearing itself. This lack of neighbourhood consultation sets a new precedent for the City.
The proposed new zoning will be RT5 - the same as that recently adopted in parts of East Vancouver. Planners say that it will be cheaper for the city to administer if all these areas have the same rules and if new development does not have to have design review.
Our current zoning was developed through a broad based neighbourhood planning process that lasted five years and was developed to reflect and support the unique character of our area. In contrast, the current proposal to rezone has been done behind closed doors with no public consultation, little or no analysis, and no prior notification to property owners.
The changes involved in this rezoning are very significant such as:
· no design review for new development (are we going back to pink stucco and aluminum windows?)
· weakened retention rules for character houses with significant increases in numbers of houses eligible for demolition
· new opportunities for large infill buildings and even new main houses in rear yards - on lots as small as 33 feet.. These will be beside our backyards blocking sunlight, require cutting down many trees and result in new residents looking from their windows right into adjacent houses. While smaller and more neighbourly laneway houses may be an option as well, it is unlikely anyone would build them given the chance to do a full-size infill.
· Standardized front yards rather than setbacks that fit into the streetscape
· In addition, parking requirements are being reduced.
· The effect of this rezoning will be to open wide our neighbourhood to developers, incentivize the loss of our affordable rental accommodation, and lead to loss of privacy, trees and sunlight (the planners report outlines these losses as ‘trade-offs’). What is the value of liveability, sunlight, privacy in our homes, and trees and gardens in our rearyards compared to RT5 rules that encourage major development in rearyards rather than encouraging additions to the original house? Are these mere trade-offs?
We can stop this stealthy and rushed rezoning. We demand a proper public process to review and amend our RT7 and RT8 zoning based on what residents want and what works for our neighbourhood
BUT we need everyone’s involvement if we are to be successful.
If you care about our wonderful neighbourhood with its mix of housing types, its liveability and backyards and trees, NOW is the time to make your voice heard. Together, we can force City Council to step back and start a proper zoning review process – the city’s accepted approach for the last 40 years. This imposition of rezoning without neighbourhood consultation will set a precedent for future changes. If we say and do nothing, more of the same will follow!
If you are able and willing to join us to stop this hasty rezoning,
· please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Please come to the Information Open House on September 5 at St. James Community Square, 5 – 8, learn about what is being proposed, and let planners hear your views
We need at least 300-400 people to get involved to ensure success so
WE NEED YOU!