April 28, 2010 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Development Permit Panel

Wednesday, April 28, 2010



3:30 p.m.


Council Chambers

Richmond City Hall


Joe Erceg, Chair

Robert Gonzalez, General Manager, Engineering and Public Works

Dave Semple, General Manager, Parks and Recreation

The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m.





It was moved and seconded


That the minutes of the meeting of the Development Permit Panel held on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, be adopted.





Development Permit 07-374744
(File Ref. No.:  07-374744)   (REDMS No. 2848066)



Iredale Group Architecture




6888 Cooney Road (formerly 6760, 6780, 6800, 6820 Cooney Road, 8371, 8411 Anderson Road, and 6771, 6811, 6831 Eckersley Road)






To permit the construction of a multi-family residential complex consisting of 227 units (182 market apartment units, 35 affordable housing units and 12 townhouse units) and associated amenity space over two (2) levels of parking on a site zoned “High Rise Apartment (ZHR5) – Brighouse Village (City Centre) District” (formerly “Comprehensive Development District (CD/195”).



Applicant’s Comments


Richard Iredale, Architect, described the proposed development as a multi-family residential complex consisting of 227 units in two high-rise buildings organized around a landscaped courtyard, and 12 two-storey townhouse units on a site in the Brighouse Village area of the City Centre. He added that the townhouse units provide ‘eye on the street’ passive surveillance for the street as well as the occupant’s internal, semi-private space.


Mr. Iredale advised that since the August 27, 2008 Development Permit Panel, where the project was presented and was met with the Panel’s approval, revisions to the project had taken place. One of the revisions was the elimination of a six-storey mid-rise building. Another revision was the addition of three residential to “The Jade” building, which is now a 14-storey tower.


Mr. Iredale provided the following details regarding the revised, modified development scheme:



the two level parkade is depressed and tanked to maintain the townhouses and their entry at approximately four feet above the sidewalk level;



the high-rise towers, the 14-storey “The Jade” building on the northeast corner of the site and 15-storey “The Emerald” building on the west side of the site, are positioned to front Cooney Road and to relate to the densification of the City Centre;



the high-rise towers are concrete and feature strong and unique roof lines to add scale to the project; the towers’ slightly concave roofs extend beyond the building edges of the upper floors, and the short concave roof over the north side of The Jade building accentuates the stepping characteristic to reduce the perceived building height;



the high-rises feature punched windows to break up the mass into prismatic elements, and give the impression the towers are smaller than they are;



a mixture of paint, concrete and three tones of brick cladding was chosen to provide contrast to the wall window system;



townhouse units feature a combination of brick and cedar panels;



The Jade building incorporates a wood soffit to (i) add a West Coast element and (ii) provide a contrast to the brick and green landscaping elements;



the project’s location at Cooney and Eckersley Roads translates into reasonable walking distance to CanadaLine Stations, and reinforces the live/work/play intention of the proposal’s design; and



the site has been intensively landscaped, including brick planters along the sidewalk to achieve and maintain the ‘Garden City’ feel of Richmond.


Jonathan Losee, Landscape Architect drew the Panel’s attention to the following landscaping information:



a large and open courtyard is a central feature of the proposed development; it includes a central, well supervised playground, as well as a hard surface area with a pond, where morning tai chi exercises could take place;



the courtyard features a backdrop of a variety of conifer species, and a small ‘forest’ that adds a finishing touch to the space;



the two-storey street-fronting townhouse units include private terraces at grade, or slightly above street level, and feature cascading gardens, to separate the occupants’ private space from the public space;



the access to the towers’ lobbies provides a generous urban feel, and is more in scale with the height of the high-rise buildings;



the two high-rise towers are accessible via ramps provided at their bases, that lead to the entrance lobbies and the ramp areas are landscaped accordingly;



the public can gain entry to the central courtyard by using a series of stairs and passages that penetrate the site;



private patios adjacent to the central courtyard are provided for all grade level units, and as a result there is a flow to the landscape elements;



the central courtyard is split-level and features a sunken lawn area;



the courtyard is accessible by wheelchair through the lobbies of the two high-rise towers; and



there are different scales of paving materials throughout the proposed development , and private spaces feature different paving textures from public spaces on site.


Mr. Iredale noted that vehicular access to the site avoids the major arterial Cooney Road, and instead car and truck access is from Eckersley Road. The required overhead clearance for manoeuvring loading trucks serving the site is provided at the access to the northern end of the courtyard. The entry is covered with a low, wooden, landscaped trellis structure.



Panel Discussion


In response to the Chair’s inquiry regarding the differences between the original design scheme, presented by the applicant to the panel in 2008, and the applicant’s new design scheme, Mr. Iredale advised that:



the new scheme proposes two high-rise towers and 12 two-storey townhouse units, and original scheme proposed three high-rise towers and six townhouse units;



the new scheme proposes secured rental accommodations in the 14-storey tower (The Jade) to provide a better intermingling of rental and market accommodation, and the original scheme proposed a third single use building;



the new scheme proposes less dense townhouse units than the original scheme, in order to transition better with established and occupied townhouse units on Cooney Road; and



the new scheme features a central courtyard that has been opened up beyond the original scheme’s courtyard design.


In response to the Chair’s comment that the original design scheme’s provision of a variety of building heights is what the City wants to see developed, Mr. Iredale remarked that the new scheme features a 14-storey tower and a 15-storey tower, and that the new design’s roof treatment makes the height difference appear to be two storey, not one storey. This is achieved by a nine-foot ceiling in the penthouse of one tower, and a 12-foot ceiling in the penthouse of the other tower.


In response to a request to clarify if children play equipment is located on site thereby eliminating the need for residents’ children to play on structures located at nearby Cook Elementary School, Mr. Iredale advised that both a children’s play structure and an open space are included in the central courtyard area, and that the applicant could make a voluntary contribution to park development for children’s play.


In response to further queries, Mr. Iredale stated that:



garbage and recycling facilities are located on the second floor of the parkade; and



the incorporation of a geo-exchange system has been explored and evaluated, but the system is economically not feasible; the applicant will proceed with a natural gas/gas heater system.


A brief discussion ensued and the Panel requested that the staff report be revised to indicate the applicant’s decision to proceed with a natural gas system, not a geo-exchange system.



Staff Comments


Brian J. Jackson stated that staff supports the Development Permit application and that the applicant has made revisions to the original development concept for the subject site. Staff had advised the applicant that the variety of building height, provided by the original  three high-rise towers of varying heights, added to the City’s skyline, but staff agrees with the applicant that the two high-rise towers in the new design scheme will present an appealing skyline.


Mr. Jackson added that the streetscape proposed in the new design scheme is an improvement over the streetscape presented in the original design scheme, in terms of the townhouse units that create appealing streetscapes along both Cooney and Eckersley Roads.


In response to a query regarding on-site parking, Mr. Jackson advised that the applicant’s parking plan conforms to the City’s Zoning Bylaw. He added that the applicant did not seek a reduction in the number of parking spaces required, and that 46 visitor parking spaces are provided.





Panel Discussion


In response to a query from the Chair regarding the rationale for not pursuing a geo-exchange system, Mr. Iredale stated that well testing was done on the site to discover the amount of water available, and that after analysis of the tests, it was decided that the cost to install a geo-exchange system was too high to make the system economically feasible. For clarification, Mr. Iredale advised that tests on site indicated ground water flow and that was the reason for the high cost of the geo-exchange system.


In response to a further query from the Chair, Mr. Iredale confirmed that despite the lack of a geo-exchange system as part of the proposed development, the project would achieve a high LEED silver, or a low gold LEED rating.



Gallery Comments


Tina Hu, Unit 7 – 8388 Park Road, addressed the Panel and stated that she occupied a townhouse unit adjacent to the subject site and that she had discerned some shaking movement in her home, which she thought was a result of the pre-loading of the subject site. In response to her query regarding whether any compensation was available, should her home be damaged as a result of construction on the subject site, the Chair:



advised that Ms. Hu was speaking of a civil matter, and that the City does not get involved in a civil matter between one property owner and another property owner; and



recommended that Ms. Hu take photographs of her residence prior to the period when construction on the subject site takes place, to create a photographic record.


In response to Ms. Hu’s second remark, concerning the hours during which construction can take place, Mr. Jackson advised that a City bylaw provides a twelve hour construction day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and that Hs. Hu could approach the applicant, and request that as a good neighbour, the construction start time could perhaps be delayed until 8 a.m.





June Weepers, #102 – 6931 Cooney Road (Schedule 1)


Mr. Jackson stated that Ms. Weeper was concerned with the height of the proposed two high-rise towers. He advised that the applicant’s plans for the height of the proposed towers conform to (i) the City Centre Area Plan, as adopted by Council, and (ii) the recent rezoning on the subject site.



Panel Discussion


Positive comments were made regarding the design of the proposed development. Requests were made that the staff report be revised to (i) accurately indicate the proposed use of a natural gas system, not a geo-exchange system, and (ii) the inclusion of children’s play equipment on site. 


The Chair commended (i) the effort put forth to draw attention to the height differences between the two high-rise towers, and (ii) the improvements to the Eckersley Road streetscape. He commented that these improved details produced a better project than the original design scheme had done.



Panel Decision


It was moved and seconded


That a Development Permit be issued which would permit the construction of a multi-family residential complex consisting of 227 units (182 market apartment units, 35 affordable housing units and 12 townhouse units) and associated amenity space over two (2) levels of parking on a site zoned “High Rise Apartment (ZHR5) – Brighouse Village (City Centre) District” (formerly “Comprehensive Development District (CD/195”).





New Business



Date Of Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 12, 2010





It was moved and seconded


That the meeting be adjourned at 4:01 p.m.





Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Development Permit Panel of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Wednesday, April 28, 2010.



Joe Erceg


Sheila Johnston

Committee Clerk