1317 Richards St and 508 Drake St rezoning application

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We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 1317 Richards St and 508 Drake St. The proposal is to allow for the development of a 39-storey building. The zoning would change from DD (Downtown District) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District.

On March 1, 2021, the applicant provided an addendum to their December 1, 2020 submission. This addendum forms their updated rezoning application package. The proposal includes:

  • 193 units of social housing
  • Community space to include a place of worship, early childhood playspace, social spaces and reading rooms
  • A total floor area of 15,991 sq. m (172,129 sq. ft.)
  • A building height of 125.21 m (411 ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 13.91
  • 53 vehicle parking spaces and 226 bicycle parking spaces (209 Class A and 17 Class B)

The most significant changes between the March 2021 submission and the previous December 2020 submission include:

  • The addition of balconies or Juliet balconies for all of the social housing units within the lower tower and the upper tower.
  • Slight reduction in the number of social housing units from 198 to 193.
  • Slight re-design of the residential units to improve liveability and functionality.

Please note that the building height and form of development remains the same.

The previous rezoning application included:

  • 198 units of social housing
  • Community space to include a place of worship, early childhood playspace, social spaces and reading rooms
  • A total floor area of 16,024 sq. m (172,483 sq. ft.)
  • A building height of 125.21 m (411 ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 13.79
  • 53 vehicle parking spaces and 226 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Affordable Housing Policies.

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period was held in place of an in-person open house for this project.



We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 1317 Richards St and 508 Drake St. The proposal is to allow for the development of a 39-storey building. The zoning would change from DD (Downtown District) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District.

On March 1, 2021, the applicant provided an addendum to their December 1, 2020 submission. This addendum forms their updated rezoning application package. The proposal includes:

  • 193 units of social housing
  • Community space to include a place of worship, early childhood playspace, social spaces and reading rooms
  • A total floor area of 15,991 sq. m (172,129 sq. ft.)
  • A building height of 125.21 m (411 ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 13.91
  • 53 vehicle parking spaces and 226 bicycle parking spaces (209 Class A and 17 Class B)

The most significant changes between the March 2021 submission and the previous December 2020 submission include:

  • The addition of balconies or Juliet balconies for all of the social housing units within the lower tower and the upper tower.
  • Slight reduction in the number of social housing units from 198 to 193.
  • Slight re-design of the residential units to improve liveability and functionality.

Please note that the building height and form of development remains the same.

The previous rezoning application included:

  • 198 units of social housing
  • Community space to include a place of worship, early childhood playspace, social spaces and reading rooms
  • A total floor area of 16,024 sq. m (172,483 sq. ft.)
  • A building height of 125.21 m (411 ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 13.79
  • 53 vehicle parking spaces and 226 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Affordable Housing Policies.

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period was held in place of an in-person open house for this project.


The virtual open house has concluded. Please use the “Send your comments” tab or contact the Planner directly for any further feedback. Thank you for participating.

Q&A is available from January 11 to January 31, 2021.

Q&A replaces in-person open houses, which are on hold due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

We post all questions as-is and reply here within two business days. To find out when we reply to your questions, sign in or register.

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    While I don't fully disagree with this rezoning as more housing is generally better. My concern is more about the insane amount of construction going on in this area. I live on this intersection and the noise from construction is deafening during the day. This is 6 days a week, during a pandemic when I have to work from home. What is being done to deal with noise pollution amidst all this construction? How many constructions projects do I have to deal with all at once, everyday? Maybe you can stage development to lessen the impact? Wait until other projects have finished maybe?

    sdk asked 3 months ago

    During the demolition and construction phase, the applicant is required to adhere to the Noise Control Bylaw. This sets out times for construction. We don’t work to stage concurrent developments as timeline is driven by the applicant.

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    My concern is increase demand on public parks. The sea wall and David Lam and George Wayneburn parks have all had been heavily utilized and are now increasingly being used more and more. My question is what is being done to increase public parks in this area to allieviate some of the pressure on existing public parks. There has been the revamping of the public park on Davie in the yaletown area but this is not always proven to be a family friendly park.

    Rhonda asked 3 months ago

    Park Board is the body that works to increase public parks. The future plans are up to that body. However, what we do know is that in and around the area is David Lam Park, George Wainborn Park, and Emery Barnes Park. The seawall also offers access to green space. While this site is not connected to the Park Board and their master plans, we can certainly connect you to the staff person at the Park Board for additional information, should you wish.

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    Why is the City encouraging such an ever increasing density in this area creating a concrete jungle?

    Brian C asked 3 months ago

    The applicant is applying for a rezoning to go beyond the base density and the base height for the provision of 100% social housing. As such, there is City policy to support this proposal, recognizing that the increase density creates additional development in the city. Design efforts have been integrated into the proposal to lessen the impact of a new building on adjacent residents, on members of the public, to retain sunlight onto parks, and to preserve view corridors.

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    Are there balconies for each suite

    Brian C asked 3 months ago

    The submitted proposal does not contain balconies for each suite. As shown, the outdoor space for residents are accessed shown on Level 4, 10, and 40. The application is currently being reviewed by City staff. As such, the current proposal is subject to conditions.

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    When does this build intend to start and when is the expected competition date? With COVID-19 many people are home much of the day, the noise from construction would be an extreme stressor for the mental health of residents near by. I have just signed a one year lease at 1310 Richards across the street. I know I can not handle potential noise of the construction development every day for potentially a year. I can also not afford to break my lease. What do you suggest for residents who will have to relocate based on your development proposal? I was not informed of this proposed build when I signed my lease mid-December.

    Jacquie asked 3 months ago

    The applicant is in the rezoning review process. That will typically take 7 months from submission for a project coming in under the expedited Social Housing or Rental Tenure program. After that, Council makes a decision on whether the rezoning is supported. Applicants must then satisfy their enactment conditions and their development permit conditions. This usually takes at least a few months. It is a bit hard to know at this point when the project will start.

    While we appreciate your question about the City’s capacity to compensate tenants in the area with a form of relocation, this is not currently within the City’s purvue to do. The proposal became an application on December 1, 2020 and the City notified the community in January 2021 of this proposal. 

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    An FSR of 14 is unprecedented in this City. Can you provide examples of other sites with similar FSR’s. My understanding is the buildings such as Charleson and Wall have FSR’s of approximately 8. This would set a very concerning precedent for the city.

    GG asked 3 months ago

    Projects have come forward in the last couple of years have generated an FSR of 23.3 (443 Seymour) and 13.9 FSR (1157 Burrard). These are only a few examples – many more exist. Smaller sites with a tower that is built out would often generate an FSR in the double digits, especially in the downtown area. Other projects still contain towers but perhaps on a site size that is larger.

     

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    The developer is asking for 14 FSR which is unheard of within the area. Other buildings within the same block/area are closer to 8 FRS. Why do you feel this smalll lot can sustain such a large increase? This request clearly falls outside the current zoning by-laws, which have been set for a reason. This change will put added pressure on surrounding infrastructure. Why do you feel this is justified. My initial reaction is this request is extremely excessive. Please provide specifics in your response.

    Kurt asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your question. This is a rezoning that seeks to go beyond the base density as set out in the Downtown Official Development Plan. So you are correct, it is beyond the existing FSR under the existing by-law. Under a rezoning, they can be considered for a customized by-law that sets out specific height and density for this site. As such, the City is evaluating this application under Council-adopted policy that allows opportunities for density for 2/3 social housing. The applicant has provided 100% social housing, exceeding the plan and therefore allowing the City to consider a site-specific rezoning.

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    Can you provide a copy of the detailed proposal by MCYH Society, including its justification and intention for such a large social housing development. What is the relationship between Jamatkhana and MCYH? This 40 odd story building, along with other 40 to 60 story buildings in progress, is just too much for our area to bear. Why not spread some of this effort further along Granville Street which is so badly in need of upgrade. What is the idea behind the society's plan? Where does it envisage the residents coming from. Is the idea to house the homeless from DTES? How is the city planning to mitigate the inevitable social and mental health issues that will also arrive, further exacerbating the existing problems we increasingly experience here. Where is the integrated plan for this endeavour?

    Alistair Kent asked 3 months ago

    The applicant drawings are available on the website in the tabs to the right. If you require other information, please contact the Rezoning Planner. Some of that information is public and other information is confidential, so it would depend on what you’re looking for.

    Regarding the relationship – MCYH is the owner of the site that currently contains a Jamatkhana and will be part of the redevelopment.

     Regarding the society’s plan, their intention is to provide a new place of worship for the community along with community space. Proposed is a learning centre and child minding, as shown in their application drawings. The tenanting will depend on the non-profit society and a percentage of tenants are expected to meet an annual income maximum to qualify for the social housing. 

     The City does not expect that social housing would result in “inevitable” social and mental health issues. As such, we can’t speak to a plan to mitigate this. 

     

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    Richards and Drake Streets are both approved for new Bike Lanes Reducing traffic and making Drake a one way. Drake Street with two way bike lane on the side of this development in question. The lanes that are affected coming in and out of their lanes from parkades right into a 2 way bike lane -- seems very dangerous. This adds way more traffic and way more danger if the rezoning is changed so drastically. Will the Drake Street Bike Lane be put on hold to assess this danger. Was this taken into account when making Richards a one lane street with double bike lane??? This building with proposed FSR is way too big for this corner and that lane behind. It is already a difficult lane to get out of with all the traffic already and servicing trucks....

    Loergas asked 3 months ago

    The Drake Street Upgrade project has been approved by Council. Throughout the public engagement and design process Engineering was aware of the proposed Development at 1317 Richards St. The potential impacts of this project were also taken into consideration throughout this process. The development is proposing 25 parking spaces (including accessible and visitor) for 198 Social Housing units, and 28 spaces (including accessible) for the place of worship. The Drake Street design is also providing on-street space for the installation of Passenger Loading zones for community-serving functions.

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    When you say “social housing” does that mean it is a BC housing building for low income tenants?we need more B.C. housing, that’s for sure. What are the rental costs for this building?

    Nokomis asked 3 months ago

    The definition of social housing is guided by the City’s Zoning and Development bylaw. Please refer to page 30-31 of the by-law: https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/zoning/zoning-by-law-section-2.pdf?_ga=2.217031766.1928985978.1610404906-848646390.1604965841. This definition requires that 30% of the units are occupied by households with incomes below BC Housing’s HILS rates. The updated 2021 rates are here: https://www.bchousing.org/publications/2021-Housing-Income-Limits-HILs.pdf

     This definition and the corresponding rates for the units are set by BC Housing as a way of ensuring a level of affordability.