February 19, 2008 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Planning Committee




Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Anderson Room
Richmond City Hall


Councillor Harold Steves, Chair
Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt
Councillor Rob Howard

Mayor Malcolm Brodie


Councillor Bill McNulty, Vice-Chair

Also Present:

Councillor Cynthia Chen

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.








It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee held on Tuesday, February 5, 2008, be adopted as circulated.







It was agreed to add Building Heights in the City Centre and Trees to the agenda under:  Item 6. MANAGER’S REPORT.



It was further agreed to add Public Information Open Houses as Item 5A. and the City’s Parking Bylaw as Item 5B.








The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 4:00 p.m. in the Anderson Room.









(RZ 06-345524 - Report:  January 31, 2008, File No.:  12-8060-20-8304) (REDMS No. 2242403, 2291250, 2291253)



Brian Jackson, Director of Development, advised that staff recommends that the rezoning take place as the proposed development conforms to the provisions of the McLennan South Sub-Area Plan. In addition the lot size is consistent with other lots in the neighbourhood. Mr. Jackson concluded by remarking that the applicant’s recommendations that the sanitary sewer system has sufficient capacity for this development is acceptable to the Engineering Department.



In response to a query regarding whether the City or the developer provides a latecomer agreement, Eric Fiss, Policy Planner advised that a latecomer agreement does not apply to this development as the new frontage road is required to giveaccess to the proposed three new lots.



It was moved and seconded



That Bylaw No. 8304, for the rezoning of 7611 Bridge Street from "Single-Family Housing District, Subdivision Area F (R1/F)" to "Comprehensive Development District (CD/139)", be introduced and given first reading.






(Report:  January 29, 2008, File No.:  06-2270-13) (REDMS No. 2335683)



In response to a query regarding the ability of landlords to ask for an annual rent increase, staff advised that landlords who are subject to the affordable housing agreement are only allowed to raise rental rates on an annual basis using the Consumer Price Index.



In response to a query, staff advised that the report had been advertised to the stakeholders of the Richmond Affordable Housing Strategy, but that no stakeholders had signified any opposition to the report.



Staff was directed to submit the report, before the Council meeting of Monday, February 25, 2008, to the Richmond Poverty Response Committee for their comments.




It was moved and seconded



That clause Part I (o) of the template Housing Agreement for the Affordable Housing Strategy be removed and replaced with the following:



Part I (o):

Original Rent





$500.00 a month for a bachelor suite (e.g., for eligible tenant having an annual income of  $23,000 or less);





$625.00 a month for a one bedroom suite (e.g., for eligible tenant having an annual income of $28,000 or less);





$750.00 a month for a two bedroom suite (e.g., for eligible tenant having an annual income of $33,000 or less);





$943.00 a month for a three bedroom suite (e.g., for eligible tenant having an annual income of $37,700 or less)






(RZ 06-322803 - Report:  January 7, 2008, File No.:  12-8060-20-8327/8316) (REDMS No. 2257193, 2283745, 2324150)



Mr. Jackson stated that the proposed development includes three different building types (a fifteen-storey high rise, an eleven-storey high rise, a six-storey low rise, and six townhouse units). He advised that the application was submitted before Council adopted the Affordable Housing Strategy but that the six-storey building consists entirely of affordable rental units. Of the 35 rental units on-site, 13 are defined as low end market rental, while 22 units are defined as market rental.  Mr. Jackson added that the applicant has responded to all suggestions by staff, has developed a public art initiative to develop a public art program on-site or adjacent to the site, and that the proposed development is responsive to the objectives of the City Centre Area Plan Update Study.



Discussion ensued with regard to:




the provision of both indoor amenity and outdoor amenity space;




all amenities are accessible to and shared by all residents on-site, including those in rental units;




there is no requirement for a building manager to reside on site for the affordable rental units;




all 35 market rental units are subject to a 25 year agreement term;




the first two floors of the low rise building are concrete construction and the rental units are in this location;




the applicant’s ongoing investigation of the possible introduction of a Geo-exchange system;




the proximity to the Canada Line is one factor in considering the number of parking spaces;




the owner’s intention is to retain ownership of the units.



In response to queries regarding whether geothermal heating and power would be used in the development, Tina Mathur representing the applicant, advised that the developer is evaluating whether a geothermal system is financially viable for the development. She further advised that, if a geothermal system is not the way to go, that analysis would be undertaken to discover what other green components can be undertaken.



In response to the Mayor’s request that staff include a geothermal system on the list of Rezoning Considerations (Attachment 9 of the staff report) Mr. Jackson advised that staff would ask the developer to submit a letter outlining the attempts being made to make the development geothermal.



In response to a query regarding whether or not the Richmond School Board had reviewed the application, Terry Crowe, Manager, Policy Planning, advised that the City has an agreement with the School Board to have them review any Official Community Plan bylaw amendment applications that propose 295 units or more. This application proposes 211 units.



Committee encouraged the applicant in their attempts to incorporate a geothermal system.



It was moved and seconded




That Bylaw No. 8327, to amend the Richmond Zoning and Development Bylaw 5300 Division 100 and 200 to include terms and provisions in accordance with the Richmond Affordable Housing Strategy, be introduced and given first reading; and




That Bylaw No. 8316, to create “Comprehensive Development District (CD/195)” and for the rezoning of 6760, 6780, 6800, 6820 Cooney Road, 8371, 8411 Anderson Road, and 6771, 6811, 6831 Eckersley Road from “Single-Family Housing District, Subdivision Area E (R1/E)” to “Comprehensive Development District (CD/195)”, be introduced and given first reading.





Public Information Open Houses



The Chair referenced a letter from resident Julia Frate, 8451 Seafair Drive (on file in the Clerk’s Office) and a letter from Fern Keene, 8591 Seafair Drive (on file in the Clerk’s Office) and advised that both letters were critical of the recent Public Information Open House held in the Seafair neighbourhood.



The Chair then tabled his memorandum, with a copy of an on-line Garden City Lands questionnaire he had completed (attached to these Minutes as Schedule 1). He stated that in the past, public information open houses were forums for a free exchange of ideas and input but that the process has changed and now surveys are prepared by public relations firms, hired by developers, and that questions are pre-tested with focus groups in order to determine which questions are best for getting answers desired by developers. He suggested that staff review ways of conducting impartial surveys and methods of producing translations for non-English speaking Richmond residents at open houses.



The Chair advised that in filling out the on-line Garden City Lands questionnaire he had used a fictitious name and address, and this information was accepted, but that his answers to some of the survey questions were rejected.



It was moved and seconded



That staff:




investigate ways of conducting impartial surveys that allow the assembly and tabulation of opinions for and against a proposal; and




explore methods of producing on-site translations at public information open houses.



The question on the motion was not called as discussion ensued and the following comments were made:




the language used on surveys and on information panels must be clear and understandable to members of the public who are not involved in planning or development endeavours;




consultation must be fair, complete, accurate and responsive;




if a City politician is at a public information open house s/he must be impartial;




Richmond is proud of the diversity of its residents representing various cultural backgrounds, and the City needs realistic options to communicate with non-English speaking attendees at public information open houses.



Mr. Erceg advised Committee that:



·         a)

the survey for the recent open house in the Seafair neighbourhood, addressing proposed development on Youngmore Road, was prepared by City staff, and that Brian Jackson is leading a review of the process to gather public input to changes made to the Single-Family Lot Size Policy 702; and



·           b)

the City, the Musqueam and the Canada Lands Corporation are partners in the Garden City Lands issue and that, in consultation with City staff, people employed by the City’s partners designed the on-line survey.



Mr. Erceg further advised that City staff is aware of concerns regarding the Garden City Lands on-line survey, including the fact there is a short period of time in which to submit a survey. He stated that it was recently modified so that it is no longer compulsory to answer every question, and that surveys with unanswered questions will no longer be rejected. He added that Ted Townsend, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications is continuing to respond to concerns expressed by some members of the public, and is preparing a memo to Council giving more information on the Garden City Lands survey results.



The Chair directed Mr. Erceg to advise Mr. Townsend that the memorandum should include information on when the Garden City Lands on-line survey was modified.



The question on the motion was then called and it was CARRIED.




Parking and Traffic Bylaw



Cllr. Barnes suggested that staff review the City’s Parking Bylaw to explore ways to encompass community needs, particularly for health care providers such as health support nurses and homecare nurses who, when providing services to clients, require parking permits.



Discussion ensued with regard to: (i) identifying the need for these types of permits, (ii) in what areas of the City they are most required, and (iii) the pros and cons of providing such parking permits.



As a result of the discussion the following referral motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That staff review and report back on the Parking Regulation Bylaw No. 7403 in view of the City’s sustainability program, and its triple bottom line focus.










City Centre Area Plan (CCAP)



No report was given.





Steveston Study



No report was given.





Official Community Plan (OCP)



No report was given.





Liveable Region Strategic Plan Review (LRSP)



No report was given.





Building Heights in the City Centre



In response to a query regarding building height restrictions in the City, in relation to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Mr. Erceg advised that staff are drafting a report that will be presented to Committee. The report includes details on YVR’s proposed 2027 Master Plan which outlines third runway options and how it impacts height restrictions in the City. The report outlines whether a blanket policy or a site-specific policy on height restrictions is necessary.



Discussion ensued and a comment was made that the City Centre’s future skyline could resemble a wall, with all building heights the same, and it was generally agreed that the City should avoid this type of skyline.



In response to a query with regard to the appealing varied building heights of the buildings proposed by the Iredale Group at Anderson Road and Eckersley Road (Item 5), staff advised that the development is located just inside the periphery of the City Centre height restriction zone, and that staff and the developer achieved high density, but did so in such a way that successfully varied the building heights.



Mr. Erceg concluded the discussion by advising that working on the building height restriction issue is a slow process, and that staff shares Committee’s concerns with the pace of activity on the issue.



As a result of the discussion the following referral was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That a letter be prepared to Peter Dhillon, the City’s representative on the Vancouver International Airport Board (YVR), for the Mayor’s signature, with a copy to Larry Berg, CEO of YVR, to:





request a status report on the suggestion that building height restrictions in the southern section of the City Centre be increased; and





suggest that a meeting, attended by City representatives, Peter Dhillon and Larry Berg, take place before the YVR Board responds to the City’s letter.









Cllr. Howard noted that a resident made him aware of an issue regarding the removal of trees and a subsequent fine. Mr. Erceg advised that John Irving, Director, Building Approvals would look into the matter and would provide Committee with a memorandum addressing the question of the fine appeal process in the Tree Protection Bylaw. 





Proposed Urban Design Awards



Mr. Jackson proposed his idea to create urban design awards for Richmond to celebrate good architectural design. He offered to submit a report to Committee that would outline how the award process would be managed, including the nomination, judging and ceremony processes.



A brief discussion ensued, and it was noted that in the early 1990s there had been a similar award program. The Chair remarked that the awards program could include recognition of homeowners who bring creativity and sensitivity to a renovation of an older Richmond home.



As a result of Mr. Jackson’s proposed idea, the following referral motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That the Director of Development submit a report to the Planning Committee outlining his proposal to create Urban Design Awards to celebrate good architectural design in the City of Richmond, including information on the process of judging, identifying and awarding winners.









It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (5:05 p.m.).





Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Tuesday, February 19, 2008.



Councillor Harold Steves

Sheila Johnston
Committee Clerk