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Further Densification of RKH

June 06, 2018 10:47 AM | Anonymous

On April 17 an application to upzone the 2403 28 Ave- nue SW corner parcel from R-C2 to R-CG to allow a 4-unit rowhouse development to be constructed thereon went to a public hearing before City Council. RKHCA typically does not oppose such applications as long as the par- cel in question is located along one our collector roads, such as 26 Avenue SW or Richmond Road SW, or in some other location where slightly higher density would seem to make sense. However, the 2403 28 Avenue SW parcel is not located on a collector road or otherwise in a loca- tion that would make it more suitable for higher density development than any other corner parcel in our com- munity, so this upzoning application was opposed by RKHCA as well as by a number of surrounding residents. Despite this community opposition, which Mayor Nen- shi characterized at the public hearing as “thoughtful”, Councillor Woolley brought forward a motion that the application be approved and his motion passed easily. Despite efforts on our part, we were unable to speak to Councillor Woolley either prior to the public hearing or since (to the time of writing this article) regarding our concerns with this redevelopment proposal, and with R-CG in general, so we don’t have a good understand- ing as to why he did not share our concerns. However, based on the comments he made at the public hearing, it would appear that he feels every R-C1 or R-C2 corner parcel in our community is an appropriate location for a 3-storey rowhouse building. He may feel the same way about mid-block parcels, except developers are not cur- rently showing any interest in upzoning those to R-CG because the R-CG rules do not currently allow 4 units on a mid-block parcel. That may change later this year, as developers are lobbying the City to amend the R-CG rules to allow 4 units on a mid-block parcel. Alterna- tively, given how easy it has become for developers to have R-CG 4-unit rowhouse developments approved on corner parcels, they may try upzoning mid-block parcels to M-CG, as the current M-CG rules do allow 4 units on a mid-block parcel.

At the April 17 public hearing RKHCA also requested that Council direct City Administration to work with our community to update the Richmond Area Re-

development Plan, which is now 32 years old and is summarily dismissed by the City as out-of-date, which effectively leaves us in a position of having no local area plan to guide the ongoing redevelopment of our community. For whatever reason, Councillor Woolley chose not to bring forward any such mo- tion, so it appears that, at least for the time being, the redevelopment of our community will continue to be determined by developers looking to maxi- mize profits, rather than be governed by any sort of thoughtful plan. Speaking of profits, if you live on a corner parcel that has not yet been redeveloped, you will likely be hearing from developers anxious to buy and redevelop your property — don’t sell cheap! If you live next to a corner parcel that has not yet been redeveloped and enjoy gardening, you might want to consider transitioning your garden more towards shade-loving plants!

More Secondary Suite Changes?

For years now our community has been losing its sec- ondary suites, as many of the older bungalows on 50ft/15.2m wide R-C2 parcels, which were allowed to have suites, have been demolished and replaced with 2 single detached dwellings or semi-detached units on 25ft/7.6m wide parcels, which were not allowed to have suites unless they provided at least 3 on-site parking stalls (which is very difficult to do on a 25ft/7.6m wide parcel unless it is located on a corner). A few years ago the owner of a single detached dwelling on a 25ft/7.6m wide parcel on 21 Avenue SW applied for approval to add a basement suite, even though the parcel only had 2 on-site parking stalls, but the City denied the appli- cation. Another such application was made recently for a similar property, and we just heard that this applica- tion was approved by the City, even though it too only provided for 2 on-site parking stalls. We don’t know yet whether this is an indication that the City has changed its mind and decided that single detached dwellings on 25ft/7.6m wide parcels should now be allowed to have suites, even where only 2 on-site parking stalls can be provided. We also don’t know whether this might also apply to semi- detached units on 25ft/7.6m wide par- cels. Stay tuned!

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