January 12, 2011 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Development Permit Panel

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



3:30 p.m.


Council Chambers

Richmond City Hall


Joe Erceg, Chair

Jeff Day, General Manager, Project Development & Facilities Services

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, December 15, 2010, be adopted.





Development Permit DP 10-545010
(File Ref. No.: 
DP 10-545010) (REDMS No. 3061789)



Ontrea Inc.




6551 No. 3 Road






That a Development Permit be issued which would permit the construction of a second floor addition, roof alterations, and minor exterior modifications in association with interior renovations at 6551 No. 3 Road on a site zoned “Downtown Commercial (CDT1)” and “Gas & Service Stations (CG1)”.



Applicant’s Comments


David O’Sheehan, Principal Architect at Abbarch Architecture Inc., Vancouver, accompanied by Daryl Hutchison, Associate Principal, Abbarch Architecture Inc., addressed the Panel, on behalf of the applicant, Ontrea Inc., with regard to the southern portion of the Richmond Centre Mall, bounded by No. 3 Road to the east, and Minoru Blvd. to the west. The northern portion of the mall extends to Westminster Highway, but is under separate ownership and is not part of the development proposal.


Mr. O’Sheehan advised that the development permit application was initiated as a result of the decision of the second floor movie theatre to vacate the Richmond Centre Mall. He noted that the decision taken by the movie theatre tenant provided an opportunity for the applicant to make alterations to the mall. 


Mr. O’Sheehan and Mr. Hutchison provided the following design details:



the second floor movie theatre area is to be converted into a food court area, and the current food court area will be infilled with retail units;



the proposed second floor food court area would be accessed with a new escalator and elevator;



alterations also include: (i) skylights at the roof level to provide food court lighting; (ii) a new pedestrian access to the existing roof-top parking level; (iii) storage rooms; and (iv) public washrooms;



in order for the proposed second floor food court to work, the applicant is requesting an additional approximate 11,550 square feet to expand the second floor level in three separate areas: (i) the Minoru Blvd. side; (ii) the south side; and (iii) a small lobby on the north side to connect to roof-top parking;



only slight modifications are proposed for the façade, with the intention of maintaining the existing architecture design;



the proposed alterations have no impact on the number of parking stalls that surround the mall;



the applicant’s many sustainability efforts include: (i) the introduction of some basic energy mechanical equipment; (ii) low flush toilets; (iii) sensors; (iv) low energy lighting fixtures; and (v) harvesting of natural daylight into the mall’s upper floor; and



the applicant intends to seek LEED certification for interiors for the upper level food court area.


In response to the Chair’s request to identify each elevation in relation to the proposed additions, Mr. Hutchison used display boards. He noted that the impact of the additional square footage is negligible on the No. 3 Road side of the mall, the bulk of the additional square footage is towards the south, and a small entry lobby impacted the north elevation to the roof-top parking. He added that a small build-out would be on the west elevation facing Minoru Blvd., but visually, there would not be much difference to what is already visible on that façade.


In response to the Chair’s query regarding what differences residents who live to the west of the mall would see upon completion of the alterations, Mr. Hutchison explained that the cladding materials would remain the same as the current cladding materials, and that the second floor of the mall building would be brought out, and further south, by approximately 40 feet, a relatively small distance when consideration is given to the complete mass of the whole mall.



Panel Discussion


In response to a query regarding the idea to introduce some landscape elements to enhance the parking areas, the Panel was advised that the renovation scheme does not include any landscape design change, but the design of the new roof-top mall entrance presents some opportunity for some planting in planters, and that the applicant is working with a landscape architect to develop some ideas;


In response to a query regarding whether the proposed upper floor food court was the final phase of redevelopment at Richmond Centre Mall (RCM), Sheila Luft, General Manager for the south RCM advised that The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd., the management company for the south end of the mall, at this time has no other development plans for the site. She advised that she could not speak on behalf of the north end of the RCM because that was owned by a different entity.


A brief discussion ensued as a result of the Chair’s query regarding whether the architects had (i) considered landscaping, and (ii) studied the pattern of pedestrians accessing the mall from No. 3 Road and Minoru Blvd.


The architects advised that they had not received direction from the applicant to review how pedestrians access the mall.


The Chair noted that in the past, during renovations to Lansdowne Mall, the City had asked the mall to undertake landscaping improvements, and a comprehensive study of how pedestrians access the mall, and move around the site. 


Ms. Luft queried whether the Chair was concerned more with the No. 3 Road entrance or the Minoru Blvd. entrance.


In response the Chair stated that both sides were of interest, as was general circulation around the mall site. He noted that the City Centre was home to many residents, and that the RCM is surrounded by residents who are likely to access the mall on foot, rather than in vehicles, and for this reason it would be advisable for the applicant to enhance the pedestrians’ experience of gaining entrance to the mall


Ms. Luft thanked the Chair for his comments and advice.



Staff Comments


Brian J. Jackson, Director of Development advised that: (i) staff supports the proposed Development Permit application, and (ii) there are no variances requested. He noted that the proposed alterations are on a minor scale.


Mr. Jackson stated that staff examined the potential for improved pedestrian flow around the mall and one item that has potential for upgrading relates to the bus bay area at No. 3 and Cook Roads. However, the cost for the upgrade would be significant for a temporary measure, as the bus bays are due to be moved to a new bus loop in the future. There was no point in asking the applicant to assign significant funds to upgrade a temporary bus area.


Mr. Jackson added that pedestrian flow improvements can be made at the mall interface with the Canada Line Brighouse station and that staff would work with the owners of the north end of the RCM with this in mind.


Mr. Jackson addressed a misunderstanding that has arisen, due to the inclusion of the phrase “Gas & Service Station” in the application. He explained that a remnant gas station zone forms part of the west edge of the RCM property, but that it has been decades since a gas station stood on the site, and that there is no intention on the part of the applicant, or any other party, to place a gas station in the area of the RCM.



Gallery Comments


Walter Taylor, 6651 Minoru Blvd., queried whether, as a result of the proposed alterations, the roof height would be different than the current roof height of the Sears building at the south end of the RCM.


Mr. Hutchison advised that the roof height would be the same as the existing second floor.


Shirley Peters, a resident of Blaine Washington, and manager of Hennessey Salon at RCM, stated that her business location in the mall ensures high traffic and high visibility, and she asked for clarification regarding the proposed location of the escalator and elevator that would move shoppers to the second level food court.


Ms. Luft advised that the elevator would be located directly across from the entrance to Hennessey Salon, and that Ms. Peters could anticipate a consistent level of high traffic and high visibility.





Richard Ho, #1212-6631 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 1)


Mr. Jackson advised that in his letter Mr. Ho requested a balance between more shopping space and a pleasing exterior for residents surrounding the RCM. Mr. Jackson advised that the applicant had no plans to enclose the parking levels with unsightly walls.


Mr. Jackson added that Mr. Ho was under the impression that the application included a gas station, but as discussed earlier, no gas station is proposed for the RCM site, or surrounding area.


Resident, Regency Park Tower, 6631 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 2)


Mr. Jackson advised that the correspondent was concerned that the alterations included a large addition that would obscure the view from the residential tower, but Mr. Jackson explained that the alteration was limited to a small addition that would extend only 40 feet from the current west facing façade.


Mr. Jackson added that the correspondent believed that the application included a gas station, but as discussed earlier, no gas station is proposed for the RCM site, or surrounding area.


Susan E. Match, #1301-6651 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 3)


Mr. Jackson noted that Ms. Match wrote regarding the construction phase that has occurred in the south end of the mall, and that she was concerned with construction noise, dump truck noise, and garbage disposal noise impacting her peace.


Mr. Jackson advised that City staff passed Ms. Match’s comments to the owners of the mall and that mall representatives are in the process of responding to the correspondent.


Mr. Jackson further noted that mall representatives have assured the City that the mall will take a more active role to ensure that the same issues will not arise during the next construction phase.


In response to the Chair’s query, regarding whether any variances have been made to the City’s bylaw that regulates hours of construction, Mr. Jackson confirmed that there have been no such variances to the bylaw.


Bob Friedland, #1002-6651 Minoru Blvd. (Schedule 4)


Mr. Jackson stated that Mr. Friedland wrote to express his concern regarding noise issues that have occurred throughout the construction process undertaken at the south end of the mall.


In his letter Mr. Friedland requested that the RCM swear that construction work will not extend beyond the hours outlined in the noise bylaw, and he asked for a bond to be posted, and he expressed hope that action would be taken against potential noise problems.


The Chair noted that the correspondent’s stated requests fell outside the mandate of the Development Permit Panel. He added, however, that the City could enforce any infractions of the noise bylaw.



Panel Discussion


There was general agreement that the proposed alterations were relatively minor ones, and most of them were internal.


Concern was stated with regard to the manner in which construction had been carried out at the south end of the mall during the last year. The Chair noted that he had spoken to bylaw and engineering staff, and that he understood that the issues that led to complaints, such as those made by residents Mr. Friedland and Ms. Match, could have been avoided.


The Chair suggested that before the Ontrea Inc.’s application is presented to City Council, the applicant should meet with (i) Brian J. Jackson, Director of Development, (ii) bylaw staff, and (iii) engineering staff, to (a) ensure that the applicant is fully aware of the parameters of the City’s noise bylaw, and (b) express commitment to abide by the noise bylaw.


There was general agreement that creating nuisance for residents who live near the RCM is unacceptable, and that the applicant should be mindful of the City’s ‘good neighbour’ policy.



Panel Decision


It was moved and seconded


That a Development Permit be issued which would permit the construction of a second floor addition, roof alterations, and minor exterior modifications in association with interior renovations at 6551 No. 3 Road on a site zoned “Downtown Commercial (CDT1)” and “Gas & Service Stations (CG1)”.





New Business



Date Of Next Meeting:           Wednesday, January 26, 2011





It was moved and seconded


That the meeting be adjourned at 4:05 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, January 12, 2011.



Joe Erceg


Sheila Johnston

Committee Clerk