1766 Frances St rezoning application

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We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 1766 Frances St. The proposal is to allow for the development of 9-storey social housing building. The zoning would change from RM-4 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. This proposal includes:

  • 84 social housing units
  • Floor space ratio (FSR) of 4.06
  • a total floor area of 7,847.7 sq.m (84,472 sq.ft.)
  • Building height of 26.7 m (87.6 ft.)
  • 25 vehicle parking spaces and 96 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Grandview Woodland Community Plan.


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 1766 Frances St. The proposal is to allow for the development of 9-storey social housing building. The zoning would change from RM-4 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. This proposal includes:

  • 84 social housing units
  • Floor space ratio (FSR) of 4.06
  • a total floor area of 7,847.7 sq.m (84,472 sq.ft.)
  • Building height of 26.7 m (87.6 ft.)
  • 25 vehicle parking spaces and 96 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Grandview Woodland Community Plan.


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 September 8, 2020 to September 28, 2020.

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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    I live very close to the development property and have always been curious why it has been left empty for over 3 years after the fire. If started construction right away with the insurance that I imagine would have been mandatory for a social housing building - there would be existing housing there NOW rather than whenever this project is slated to be finished. What parties have been responsible for those delays? My other question would be, considering a lot of public money via BC Housing will be utilized for this construction, what transparencies will be set up so that the BC taxpayers can scrutinize the costs and specific components of this project? I’m somewhat concerned because Government projects (Not just in BC) are particularly fraught with large budget over-runs.

    BryanN asked 2 months ago

    Vancouver Native Housing Society has been working with funders, regulators and insurance since the 2017 fire to bring affordable housing back to this site.

    Funders have processes in place to ensure that public dollars are spent in alignment with public priorities. The society is working with its funders through these processes. 

    Please contact BC Housing and/or CMHC for any questions related to their financial policies and budgeting of public dollars.  


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    In other answers, you mention referring to Section 7 in the Granview-Woodland OCP in regards to increased density. This is very frustrating for most of the public to scan such a massive document to find this. Here is maybe the excerpt you are referring to for others to see, found on page 131: “Where appropriate, allow development of existing non-market housing properties to provide additional height and density with the goal of preserving and increasing affordability over the long term. (Note: Rezoning of existing non-market properties will be subject to urban design analysis including shadow studies and transition to adjacent residential areas).” My question is how can urban design analysis consider a 10 story structure as a good transition to adjacent residential areas when the areas are made of 2-3 story rentals? I know the OCP suggests 6 stories as the maximum in that block, but you cannot presume that the low-rise apartments will change anytime soon. You just don’t have the context in this area to go so over-the-top with the height. I would not oppose 5 stories as gives a 40% increased height allowance if neighbourhood context is considered.

    BryanN asked 2 months ago

    Neighbourhood context and shadow studies are considered throughout the review process and factor into the form of development analysis. The City is actively addressing the current housing crisis issue through various policies and initiatives including the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the City’s vision for ensuring that Vancouver can be a home for people of all incomes and backgrounds. It prioritizes affordable housing and making housing markets work for all people who live and work in the City. This includes introducing new affordable housing developments while ensuring existing and future residents have a safe and liveable environment.

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    I question how a rezoning request from a developer is even considered when it is so out of line with the current zoning of a neighbourhood? This request is to build a nine-storey building in a neighbourhood that is zoned for four storeys – double the allowable limit plus one! The proposed building is to be constructed between a four storey and two storey building – I am sorry, but this a square peg in a round hole – how does this fit into the character of the neighbourhood? According to the “shadow study” done by the developer of this proposed building, there will not be an impact on the light for neighbouring buildings – how can this be? Back in 2015, the City of Vancouver formed the Citizens Assembly on the Grandview-Woodland Plan, seeking neighbourhood input into the development in this area. After many meetings and time, they wrote in their report: “We strongly recommend that the City maintain the existing RM4 height restriction throughout the Britannia-Woodland sub-area.” Does anyone remember this? Is anybody listening?

    Sandy asked 2 months ago

    The proposed site is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan which includes key principles aimed at supporting a range of affordable housing options and support towards goals of Reconciliation in partnership with Aboriginal communities. The Plan anticipates a 6-storey rental building at this location, however, section 7 of the Plan allows for increased density and height to be considered through rezoning where social housing is proposed. The Housing Vancouver Strategy also guides the City’s vision for ensuring that Vancouver can be a home for people of all incomes and backgrounds. It prioritizes affordable housing and making housing markets work for all people who live and work in the City. This requires gradually introducing new affordable housing developments while ensuring existing and future residents have a safe and liveable environment.

    Throughout the planning process of the Grandview Woodland Community Plan, the role of the Citizens’ Assembly was to also provide advice to staff, and it was one of several sources of community input that helped inform the Council approved Plan; along with other City-wide policies and technical assessments. In this area, the Plan identifies opportunities to permit incremental change and renewal in the apartment areas through rezoning policies, as well as opportunities to consider additional height and density to support the creation of new non-market housing. The overall zoning in the area remains the same as it was, however, there are avenues for consideration of change above and beyond what the district schedule permits.

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    The previous building on this site had a history of late night noise. I am concerned that increasing the density of the site by over 300% to 84 units may exacerbate the issue. Are there any considerations for addressing noise and safety issues at this much increased density? What provisions for on-site management will there be?

    Frances Street neighbour asked 2 months ago

    If approved by Council, the project will be required to provide strategies that include Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design measures which generally include, but are not limited to, the following examples: 

    • Having particular regard for mischief in alcoves and vandalism such as graffiti;
    • Consideration of mail theft in the design and location of mailboxes;
    • Consideration of residential break and enter;
    • Provision of outdoor common area and path lighting; and
    • Provisions for visibility and security in the underground parking garage in accordance with the Parking By-law, including:
      • Providing 24 hour overhead lighting at exit doors and step lights;
      • Providing white-painted walls, and;
      • Ensuring a high degree of visibility at doors, lobbied, stairs, and other access routes.
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    As a neighbour next to the site for over 10 years, I have a concern about the reduced underground parking allowance for the new building. The previous building had underground parking, but many residents and visitors regularly parked on the street. The new building demographic is likely to be similar. I think, in this case, it would be incorrect and insensitive to make the equation that social housing generates reduced parking demand. My question is—how can the process of permit parking on the block be expedited to reduce the impact of the increased density/parking demand?

    Frances Street neighbour asked 2 months ago

    Residents can typically make a request for a new Residential Parking Permit zone or changes to an existing Residential Parking Permit zone (https://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/permit-zone-request.aspx )  However, the streets are not to be relied upon for guaranteed parking spaces as there is limited street space available that can be designated for permit zone parking.

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    How were notices about this application distributed? This is a highly tenanted area. If it was only to registered owners then a high majority of local residents would not be aware of this opportunity to comment. Anyone that was involved with the OCP process should have been notified when a project goes way over the agreed MAX densities - Social housing or not. I recommend lengthening the open house period, unless, as stated below, the COV has already made up its mind to push this through against the majority of local interest.

    B Well asked 2 months ago

    Notices for this application, and every rezoning application, are distributed within the notification boundary to owners,  absentee owners (local and international), tenants, and business owners. Tenants’ addresses are captured through Canada Post Data Solutions Centre to ensure everyone receives a notification. The Virtual Open House spans a period of three weeks (with opportunity to submit comments before and after the Virtual Open House) compared to the pre-Covid in person Open House that took place in one evening for three hours. 

    All public input provided for a rezoning application is added to the case records for that file and considered in staff review. Further opportunity exists to submit feedback directly to Mayor and Council at Public Hearing (date to be determined), where Council will make the final decision on a rezoning application. 

    To sign up to participate at a Public Hearing you can do so at these links: 


    The online comment form on the project webpage also allows you to check off the option to be contacted about this application in the future, which includes the Public Hearing notification.

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    https://britanniarenewal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Britannia-Renewal-Grandview-Woodland-Citizens-Assembly-Final-Report-2015.pdf The City of Vancouver sponsored the formation of the Grandview Woodland Citizens Assembly, which submitted a detailed document with recommendations (url noted above) about the Grandview Woodlands area. One of the key recommendations was keeping this neighbourhood a neighbourhood in look and feel, and keeping a height limit to 4 storeys. Why is this report and recommendations of the Citizens Assembly of Grandview Woodland -- which was tasked by the City to present feedback and recommendation --not being taken into consideration?

    Ariela asked 2 months ago

    Throughout the planning process of the Grandview Woodland Community Plan, the role of the Citizens’ Assembly was to provide advice to staff, and it was one of several sources of community input that helped inform the Council approved Plan; along with other City-wide policies and technical assessments. 

    During the planning process, staff heard several overlapping aspirations that included protection for existing rental housing, a desire for new rental, additional support for non-market housing, support for Indigenous service providers, and numerous other objectives. The final Plan sought to balance the many community-identified desires. 

    In this area, the Plan identifies opportunities to permit incremental change and renewal in the apartment areas through rezoning policies, as well as opportunities to consider additional height and density to support the creation of new non-market housing. The overall zoning in the area remains the same as it was, however, there are avenues for consideration of change above and beyond what the district schedule permits. 

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    Why is it so high compared to everything else around it? Doesn’t the City have rules in place to keep the uniformity of the height of neighbourhood, and if so why is this being exempt?

    MarcL asked 3 months ago

    The proposed site is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, which includes key principles aimed at supporting a range of affordable housing options and support towards goals of Reconciliation in partnership with Aboriginal communities. The Plan anticipates a six storey rental building at this location, however, section 7 of the Plan allows for increased density and height to be considered through rezoning where social housing is proposed.

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    I would love to see more social housing in the neighbourhood. But there are only 2-3 story buildings in the adjacent NSEW blocks and plopping a 9 story building is very aggressive urban planning which seems much more than a “concession” for social housing units. How many units are there in the more narrow top 3 floors? And can some of those units be made up by minimizing set-backs? Because wouldn’t it be an amazing place to live if it had a massive rooftop community garden with greenspace, benches and sweatlodge. Give residents a private place to “get away” from their TV’s and tiny rooms and get some sense of purpose in maintaining the beauty of this space.

    Jen asked 3 months ago

    The applicant has proposed an indoor and outdoor amenity space at the ground level and on the 7th level. These spaces will be reviewed by staff to ensure they comply with City policies. Each unit will also have private outdoor space.

    The upper levels contain between 5 to 8 units per floor.

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    I live right next door to the proposed development. The existing 4-storey had a fire almost 3 years ago. Because the proposed development is made of mass timber, and is proposed to far surpass the existing zoning height allowance, what measures will be taken for a fire envelope and fire prevention safety for existing dwellings beside and across the street?

    Ariela asked 2 months ago

    The proposed building will be built from Mass Timber Construction, this material is harder to ignite than a light wood frame building. The former building was constructed of light-wood frame construction. Further, most of the timbers will be covered by fire-rated gypsum board. The fire rating on floor assemblies and suite separation in mass timber construction is a longer period of time than light wood frame building (Two hours rated compared to 45 minute rated). The mass timber building will be sprinklered and the fire alarm system will be designed to call the fire department if it senses fire or a pull station is activated. 

    A risk assessment on potential impact to neighbouring buildings from a fire during construction will be performed. This will ensure that additional site safety measures during construction are provided as identified and required by the risk assessment. Once the building is complete, protective measures required by the building code (e.g. fire rating walls that are near to property lines)  will be incorporated into the completed design features of the building to further reduce risk to adjacent properties.