A skirmish before the Broadway battle
Will council allow a 39-storey rental building over a new SkyTrain station?
Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in! The final count was about 600 comments in support, 400 opposed.
Video of public hearing, April 14: staff presentation and 15 out of 50 speakers.
Speakers list. Council votes Tuesday April 26.
Passed 9-2! Colleen Hardwick and Jean Swanson voted No, Adriane Carr voted Yes.]
A new SkyTrain station is planned for Broadway and Granville. On Thursday April 14, council is deciding whether to rezone for a 39-storey building above the station, at 1477 West Broadway. The building will include:
Two floors of retail space at ground level, including a grocery store
Five floors of office space
223 rental homes, 80% market (174 homes) and 20% below-market (49 homes affordable for a household income of $30K-$80K, roughly $750-$2000/month)
There's no displacement of renters, since it's replacing an office building.
If you'd like to express your support before Thursday, so that council doesn't just hear from opponents - or if you oppose it and you'd like to say so - you can submit comments online (subject: 1477 West Broadway rezoning). It takes literally 60 seconds.
Housing in Vancouver is extremely scarce and expensive, with a vacancy rate around 1% and rising rents. For historical reasons, getting municipal approval to build more housing is a slow process. So we're adding jobs faster than we're adding housing, and it's like musical chairs - rents get bid up and people get pushed out.
The provincial government is providing $1.8 billion in funding for the Broadway Subway, and one of the conditions was that the city agree to add a lot more housing around the SkyTrain stations. There's been various delays, but in mid-May, council will vote on the Broadway Plan, which is basically the detailed plan for how this will happen.
The 1477 West Broadway project is coming up for approval now because of the delays in the Broadway Plan. If it goes ahead, construction can be finished before the new SkyTrain station opens in 2025. This is basically a skirmish before the main battle over the Broadway Plan. We can expect a lot of angry opposition.
As of yesterday morning, there's 28 comments in support, 47 opposed. Lots of complaints about shadows. Example:
I live in Vancouver and I oppose the CD-1 Rezoning at 1477 West Broadway. I do not want to see the entire street become a canyon of high-rises, destroying the character, view, sunlight & friendliness of the street. I do NOT want TOWERS!!
Usually there's four Yes votes on housing, three No votes, and four Maybe votes. In this case it looks like two of the Maybe votes (Sarah Kirby-Yung and Rebecca Bligh) will be joining forces with two of the usual No votes to oppose it - they tried to postpone it until after the Broadway Plan decision in May. They only failed because one of the usual No votes (Adriane Carr) supported it. Kirby-Yung opposing it is a bad sign: she was one of the crucial votes on the 6-5 Broadway and Birch approval.
Daily Hive article, by Kenneth Chan
Vancouver Sun article, by Dan Fumano
1477 West Broadway - description of the project on the city website
Other big decisions likely to come up in the next couple months:
May - Broadway Plan. The big one. Tentative date is May 17. If council rejects the Broadway Plan, I expect the province will be extremely unhappy - they're putting $1.8 billion into the subway, and the city's already agreed to allow more housing near the new stations.
June - Vancouver Plan. This is more of a long-term high-level plan, so I don't think it's as critical as the Broadway Plan decision.
Apparently the Jericho Lands decision isn't going to happen before the election.