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What to expect from the ABC majority
Faster permitting, not much change to rezoning.
Someone asked on Reddit:
With the new mayor and council, what might we expect in ways of new condo/rental developments?
Good question. We know the voting record of the ABC incumbents (Lisa Dominato, Sarah Kirby-Yung, and Rebecca Bligh), but we don't know much about how Ken Sim and the four new ABC councillors (Brian Montague, Mike Klassen, Peter Meiszner, and Lenny Zhou) will vote. We'll need to see them in action to get a better idea.
Until that happens, here's my guess.
There's basically three major bottlenecks before you get to construction - economic viability, rezoning, and permitting. In a post-election interview, Ken Sim appears to be focused entirely on the permitting bottleneck, saying that the rezonings which are already in progress are sufficient.
My guess that Ken Sim is overestimating the impact of the Broadway Plan (maybe due to Colleen Hardwick's graphics?). It's only targeting 1000 additional homes per year. CMHC's estimate is that to get back to 2003 levels of affordability, BC needs to more than double its rate of homebuilding between now and 2030.
On the rezoning side, the ABC platform does include replacing negotiated CAC fees (which is how the city takes about 70-80% of the increase in land value whenever there's a rezoning) with a fixed fee per square foot. This should be faster, more certain, and more transparent than the current negotiation process. Thomas Davidoff suggests combining the fixed fee with a target: if the rate of development (e.g. new residential space per year) doesn't meet the target, lower the fee. Or if the rate of development is too high, raise the fee.
Having a solid majority on council may also make rezoning easier. Justin McElroy points out that in the previous term, with no stable majority on council, there was a strong incentive for people to speak to council at public hearings and lobby for their preferred outcome (yes or no), drawing out the process and leading to marathon public hearings. Maybe this won't happen with a majority council?
Rezoning for gentle density: allowing four- or six-storey apartment buildings everywhere (the OneCity plan) is definitely off the table. Maybe townhouse complexes would be acceptable: there's already townhouses being built in Shaughnessy, and I know that Lisa Dominato is very interested in gentle density. Kennedy Stewart's proposal to allow four- or six-plexes on single lots (Making Home) may go ahead under the new council - there's potentially a lot of revenue there ($1 million per lot x 2000 lots = $2 billion), and Ken Sim doesn't want to raise property taxes.
Rentals vs. condos: the advantage of a purpose-built rental building, as opposed to a condo building, is that you have secure housing without having to be rich enough to buy a condo. You can rent a condo, but then you don't have security. Because buyers are willing to pay more for condos than for rentals, the city needs to provide incentives (in terms of forgone CAC fees and/or density bonuses) for rental projects to be economically viable. My guess is that Ken Sim isn't likely to forgo that money in order to get rental housing, so we'll get condos instead.