906-982 W 18th Ave and 907-969 W 19th Ave (Balfour Block) rezoning application

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We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 906-982 W 18th Ave and 907-969 W 19th Ave (the Balfour Block). The proposal is to allow for the development of a 6-storey rental building; a 6-storey condo building with a rooftop amenity and a childcare space on the ground floor; six 4-storey and two 3-storey stacked townhome buildings. The zoning would change from RT-2 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal includes:

  • 241 total units consisting of 84 townhouses; 57 market strata residential units; and 100 secured rental units (with 25% of the proposed residential floor area at below-market rates)
  • A floor area of 20,447 sq. m (220,093 sq. ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.16
  • Building heights of 11 m (37.5 ft.) to 25 m (82.6 ft.)
  • 334 vehicle parking spaces and 630 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Cambie Corridor Plan and the Rezoning Policy for Large Sustainable Developments.

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




We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 906-982 W 18th Ave and 907-969 W 19th Ave (the Balfour Block). The proposal is to allow for the development of a 6-storey rental building; a 6-storey condo building with a rooftop amenity and a childcare space on the ground floor; six 4-storey and two 3-storey stacked townhome buildings. The zoning would change from RT-2 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal includes:

  • 241 total units consisting of 84 townhouses; 57 market strata residential units; and 100 secured rental units (with 25% of the proposed residential floor area at below-market rates)
  • A floor area of 20,447 sq. m (220,093 sq. ft.)
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.16
  • Building heights of 11 m (37.5 ft.) to 25 m (82.6 ft.)
  • 334 vehicle parking spaces and 630 bicycle parking spaces

The application is being considered under the Cambie Corridor Plan and the Rezoning Policy for Large Sustainable Developments.

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we will be holding an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period 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 March 1, 2021 to March 21, 2021.

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

We post all questions as-is and aim to respond within two business days.

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    How much noise and push back does city of Vancouver need in order to reduce the number of proposed housing and limiting the height of buildings? Will online petition be a good idea to ensure our voices are heard?

    BonBon asked about 2 months ago

    All public feedback on rezoning applications, including petitions, is considered through the rezoning review process and is an important consideration in any application review. Staff welcome and encourage public feedback which can be submitted via the comment form available on the Shape Your City webpage, or directly to the rezoning planner via email or letter mail. 

    The rezoning review process includes consideration of Council-approved plans (e.g. the Cambie Corridor Plan), policies, and guidelines as well as input from the public, advisory committees, and other City departments. The result of the review is a report for City Council that analyzes the application, summarizes the feedback received, and recommends to refer an application to a public hearing and whether to approve or refuse the application. The report may also set legal conditions and design requirements for approving an application. As the review process is ongoing, no recommendation has been put forward by staff at this time and feedback can still be submitted and considered. 

    If an application is referred to a public hearing another opportunity to provide input is available to the public, this time directly to Council. At public hearings, feedback can be provided to City Council for consideration in discussion and decision either by submitting comments or a petition online for consideration and/or by requesting to speak at a public hearing. 

    City Council decides on all rezonings.

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    The Preliminary “Rainwater Management Plan” says that the project will use several approaches to delay or otherwise mitigate rainwater runoff from the site. However it also indicates that rain falling at a rate in excess of a “10 year storm event” will be routed directly to the City catch-basins and sewer system. From hard earned experience I know that this neighbourhood is very prone to flooding, so much so that our insurance company deems it a “high-risk” zone and has increased our premiums considerably in the last few years. Most of the roughly one dozen floods we have suffered in over thirty years have been a result of “back-flow” events wherein the storm system has backed up after receiving more rain than it can handle. In the past thirty years we have experienced at least 2 “100 year storm cycle” events according to the City’s Risk Management department, with which I have had numerous dealings. I fear that the flood risk will only worsen with the continued effects of global climate change. Does the City have reports that would detail the flood risk for this neighbourhood and is it prepared to require the project to substantially upgrade its rainwater plan?

    about 1 month ago

    As you are aware this rezoning application is currently under review, which includes a technical review of the Rainwater Management Plan (RWMP) by Engineering. Staff note that the site is required to meet our requirements as established by the Rainwater Management Bulletin. Based on the submitted RWMP:  

    • The site will rely on onsite infiltration and evaporation to reduce the runoff prior to managing the runoff with conventional detention tanks. 

    • Stormwater from impervious surfaces is recommended to be directed to adjacent onsite stormwater infiltration and storage infrastructure, including planter boxes and on slab plantings.

    • Excess stormwater will enter a storage tank. The release rate from this tank will be controlled by an orifice and overflow pipe module proceeding tie-in to the City storm sewer. 

    • In the scenario where onsite stormwater conveyance infrastructure is unable to manage the increased flows, a combination of overland flow routes can be utilized to direct waters away from the site.

     

    The 10-year storm event detailed in the submitted RWMP is the higher requirement used for mixed-use and commercial developments and requires the development to follow more stringent flow rate controls to account for the additional usages on-site. 

    Through the rezoning review process Engineering reviews for all aspects of Infrastructure impacts including added capacity to the sewer system. Those reviews are ongoing and we are unable to comment on the addition of this development to the greater community at this time. More detail on the review of the proposal, including the RWMP, will be captured in the referral report for Council, and conditions may be applied as necessary.  

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    The City Boards material outlines that 'rezoning applications will be evaluated in accordance with the principles set out in the Plan', and included in this Plan is a the development of a phasing plan to minimize disruption of existing tenants. Has this plan been developed and shared, so it too can be considered during this evaluation time?

    neighbourNic asked about 2 months ago

    A phasing plan has not yet been developed. The rezoning application puts forward a proposal for redevelopment of the site which as you note is evaluated in accordance with the principles set out in the Plan. Should a rezoning application be approved by Council, a phasing plan would be required at future permitting stages to address the requirement to minimize disruptions to existing tenants.

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    Has there been any research into the additional light pollution for residents on blocks adjacent to this development? I imagine the light from hundreds of living rooms compared to the 40 or so that are there now will be significant.

    neighbourNic asked about 2 months ago

    A light pollution study was not submitted nor required for this rezoning application. Staff note that the City has an Outdoor Lighting Strategy that provides direction on outdoor lighting on streets, public spaces, and private properties across the city. One of the goals of the strategy is to minimize light pollution impacts on neighbours and environment. More information is available on the outdoor lighting design tips brochure.

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    How will you mitigate the significant increase in traffic and on street parking demands on 19th Avenue between Laurel and Cambie that will inevitably result from this development, for example locating a dead end cul-de-sac at Laurel and 19th (eg. 17th & Yukon)?

    Ericka asked about 2 months ago

    The location of the proposed rezoning is well-sited to encourage reduced vehicle trip demand.  The site is in proximity to transit (with transit routes along Oak Street, King Edward Avenue, and Cambie Street), cycling infrastructure (bikeways on Heather Street and W 18th Avenue),  and proposes to meet the minimum vehicle requirements of the parking bylaw, which includes provisions for visitor parking, loading, and bike spaces. As part of the rezoning process, Engineering staff include a review of the application with respect transportation impacts and, if identified, may include development conditions for off-site requirements to improve transportation operations and safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists adjacent to the site. This rezoning application is currently under review.

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    Re: the 25% below market rental. How many bedrooms will there be in total? I realize some will be studio apartments. So, I ask that you please answer in way that illustrates the number of studio and then the number of bedrooms in the 1,2 & 3 bedroom below market apartments. Example: 10 studio and 40 bedrooms.

    Carey asked about 2 months ago

    Wesgroup indicates that the unit mix of the below-market rental housing will generally be consistent with the overall mix of the market rental housing. The explicit unit mix was not provided at this stage; however, the overall rental housing mix is noted in the submission materials as Studio – 10%; 1 Bed – 51%; 2 Bed – 27%; 3 Bed – 12%.

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    I think this is a great project. I am happy to see plans to add more secured rental and affordable housing options for moderate income earners close to VGH and employment in the Cambie Corridor. How will the application process work for the moderate income homes? Would the developer consider offering first right of refusal for VGH hospital staff and other front line workers?

    AEA asked 2 months ago

    Under the Cambie Corridor Plan, for new rental housing on-site 25% of the net new rental floor area is to be below-market, having rental rates and operating requirements in accordance with the City’s Moderate Income Rental Housing Program (MIRHP). Under MIRHP, each building owner or their property manager will be responsible for advertising, qualifying and selecting eligible households for the moderate income rental units in their building. They will also be responsible for verifying that households continue to qualify every five years after they move in and when a household member moves in or out. More information on the MIRHP is available in this FAQ document.

    Wesgroup has noted they are open to the idea of partnerships to prioritize the moderate-income housing for groups such as VGH hospital staff, however they will not be in a position to make any commitments until the rezoning proposal receives approval.

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    What is the reason for cutting down the willow trees which have been such an iconic symbols for the neighborhood?

    BonBon asked about 2 months ago

    Based on the rezoning application materials submitted by Wesgroup Properties, three willow trees within the site are proposed to be removed due to their poor structural condition. More information regarding proposed tree retention and removal is available in the submitted arborist report. The rezoning application is currently under review.

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    What is planned to encourage this to be a live-able community? There is a severe decrease of shared outdoor spaces, and the only rooftop outdoor space is limited to homeowners, which does not foster a shared community atmosphere. An arterial greenspace is a pretty much a walkway, not a place for neighbours and the community to gather safely outdoors. Plus, any children playing, or families or individuals using the arterial space have to be mindful that there is a lane way taking a significant portion of that space, that 300+ cars may be using to access their parking on a daily basis. Again, what is being planned to keep this area green and live-able, and encourage the respect for nature and engaging, dynamic lifestyle that Vancourism (deep respect for nature with enthusiasm for busy, engaging, active streets and dynamic urban life) stresses so greatly online?

    neighbourNic asked about 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Rezoning consideration is guided by the Cambie Corridor Plan, for this specific site see section 6.3 Balfour Block (pgs. 159-161). Recognizing the residential character of this area and the existing rental housing, under the Cambie Corridor Plan, redevelopment of this envisioned as a vibrant family-oriented node with the addition of new housing options including a mix of townhouses, low-rise, and lower mid-rise buildings, reflecting the varied architectural character of the neighbourhood and public open space. The Plan also notes to ensure the design, massing, and setbacks of apartment forms create a sensitive transition to the surrounding neighbourhood.

    This rezoning application, submitted by Wesgroup Properties, is currently under review. Through the rezoning application review process staff evaluate rezoning proposals based on Council-approved plans (e.g. the Cambie Corridor Plan), policies, and guidelines as well as input from the public, advisory committees, and other City departments. As the review process is ongoing, no recommendation has been put forward by staff at this time. City Council decides on all rezonings through a public hearing process.

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    What is the anticipated timeline of this project? I understand it is dependent on how this stage goes, but I imagine a detailed project plan was submitted with a proposed timeline. In an effort to be transparent with the neighbourhood, can you please share what the ideal proposed timeline is for the city and for the developer?

    neighbourNic asked about 2 months ago

    Regarding construction timing, there is limited information available at this stage. This is a rezoning application made by Wesgroup Properties for the site, and rezoning is relatively early on in the development approvals process. Should a rezoning application be approved, subsequent permitting approvals are required such as development permits, and building permits. More information on construction plans would be available through these future stages of the development approval process. At this stage staff are reviewing the rezoning application in detail and seeking public input. More information on the rezoning process is available here.