May 18, 2010 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

Planning Committee



Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Councillor Bill McNulty, Chair

Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt, Vice-Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Harold Steves

Mayor Malcolm Brodie

Also Present:

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt

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, May 4, 2010, be adopted as circulated.











Tuesday, June 8, 2010, (tentative date) at 4:00 p.m. in the Anderson Room









(File Ref. No.:  12-8060-20-8604/8605, RZ 07-380222) (REDMS No. 2891798)



Brian J. Jackson, Director of Development, introduced the high-rise, high-density development proposed by Onni Group of Companies, incorporating 325 residential and 69 live/work units on the third and sixth floors of three towers, over ground-floor retail units, located where Elmbridge Way meets Hollybridge Way.



Mr. Jackson drew Committee’s attention to the following details: (i) Onni is the first developer with a new City Centre development in the new Oval Village centre, adjacent to the Olympic Oval; (ii) Onni’s proposed project integrates significant environmental and natural features into the development; (iii) the applicant will provide 40 public parking spaces for the area, available to Oval users on an hourly basis; (iv) the applicant’s contributions include $447,104 toward Child Care, $210,300 toward the Public Art Reserve and $87,626 toward Richmond’s community planning program; (v) Onni is proposing to save as many existing trees as possible along the Riparian Management Area, as part of its detailed plan for the restoration of the Hollybridge Canal park; and (vi) staff recommends noise covenants for both aircraft noise and industrial development.



Mr. Jackson advised that staff supports Onni’s rezoning application.



Discussion took place between Committee and staff regarding:




a rain garden storm water system to take the place of conventional stormwater management systems;




the potential for a future district energy system;




the live/work units are located above the street level;




retail uses of units on the street level and Onni’s desire to attract a food store chain;




the need to provide enough parking spaces to accommodate residents drawn to the area to take advantage of Oval events, the river front, and the dyke; and




the environmental efficiency of the proposed development, including the integration of significant environmental features, sustainability issues and green roofs.



Further discussion took place among Alex Orr, Development Manager, Onni, Committee and staff, and in particular on:




Onni’s plan to link with the City’s plan regarding a future district energy system;




recycled construction materials are on the LEED checklist as a criteria to achieve a silver rating;




Onni takes a financial risk if retail units are not leased, so the developer is motivated to fill the units; a hotel is not being pursued by Onni;




a public art component on the subject site would create an identity for the proposed development and would compliment the planned high quality street finishes;




Onni would continue to work with staff and with the architects to create an architectural element to be sited at the entrance to the Oval Village;




Onni has explored energy alternative such as a passive design, and orientation that would aid in heat gain and decrease heat loss; and




the residential units will be stratified, with Onni holding ownership of the retail units.



It was moved and seconded




That Bylaw No. 8604, to amend the “Residential/Limited Commercial (RCL3)” zone to more accurately reflect the intent of the City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) with regard to non-residential uses and related considerations for lands designated “Urban Centre T5 (45 m)” and “Village Centre Bonus”, be introduced and given first reading; and




That Bylaw No. 8605, to rezone 6951 Elmbridge Way from “Industrial Business Park (IB1)” to “Residential/Limited Commercial (RCL3)”, as amended by Bylaw No. 8604, be introduced and given first reading.



The question on the motion was not called as a comment was made that it is in the best interests of the City to work with the developer community, especially with regard to mutually shared environmental interests. A further comment was made that accessibility is key, as in future years there will be more elderly people to accommodate than younger people, and that developers should be cautious and pay attention to the impending demographic shift.



The question on the motion was then called and it was CARRIED, with Greg Halsey-Brandt opposed.




Mayor Brodie left the meeting at 4:45 p.m. and returned at 4:47 p.m.





(File Ref. No.:  08-4105-20-AMANDA #/2010-Vol 01, 12-8060-20-8607) (REDMS No. 2868048)



Mr. Jackson advised that on behalf of IKEA Properties Limited, Brook and Associates has applied to rezone properties in the East Cambie Area to accommodate a new 348,634 square foot IKEA store to replace the existing 175,000 square foot store. The existing store will be demolished upon the opening of the proposed new store.



Mr. Jackson drew Committee’s attention to the following details: (i) the proposal is in conformity with both the Bridgeport and the East Cambie Area Plans; (ii) economic benefits include an additional 72 employees for the new store, 150 construction jobs, additional municipal property taxes, and the provision of Development Cost Charges to the City; (iii) improvements to traffic flow will be realized by road widening and bike lanes along Bridgeport, new road lanes and bike lanes along Sweden Way, a new southbound lane on the Knight Street connector, road widening along Jacombs Road, and a new, one-way westbound public road from Knight Street, to Jacombs, to provide the main new access point into the new store; and (iv) IKEA would meet the Green Roof and Other Options Bylaw No. 8385 by using alternative methods to reduce stormwater runoff.



Mr. Jackson noted that IKEA’s redevelopment has been in the development stage for almost ten years, but was once withdrawn for cost reasons, and IKEA’s overall lower mainland development strategy. Mr. Jackson concluded his remarks by stating that staff recommends that the rezoning application move forward.



Discussion ensued between Committee and staff on:




the roof, though not ‘green’, would respond to the City’s policies by incorporating innovative solutions to lessen the heat island effect and reduce storm water run-off;




the Knight Street corridor is a local road, but the City and TransLink share the costs for the corridor;




transportation staff’s analysis of the proposed traffic patterns around the new IKEA store would eliminate current traffic issues in the Sweden Way/Bridgeport Road area;




the proposed parking scheme meets bylaw requirements;




the proposed landscaping plan includes: (i) a green canopy of 400 trees in and around the parking lot area; (ii) permeable paving and soil cells to increase the amount of top soil around the trees; and (iii) an upsize in the calliper of the proposed trees on site;




the siting of the new store, as well as landscaping, will mitigate the large size of the building; and




City bylaws mandate “green roofs or other measures” for buildings like the proposed new IKEA store.



Discussion continued between Committee and David O’Sheehan, Principal, Abbarch Architecture Inc. and in particular on:




how to achieve sustainability features;




the applicant’s goal to have a ‘blue roof’ that allows an accumulation of water, with slow release rainwater outlets, troughs and valleys; the weight issue has been examined;




the feasibility of geo-thermal energy in Richmond;




a grid of columns would raise the IKEA store above the 500 parking stalls situated beneath the store and daylight would enter the parking lot from all four sides;




the size of the IKEA sign would be addressed during the development permit process;




traffic management would be enhanced by the proposed Jacombs Road cul-de-sac in front of the new store;




the proposed future IKEA warehouse would serve only the Richmond store, not Coquitlam’s IKEA store;




the ratio of deciduous trees to coniferous trees; the tree heights are dictated by the hydro right-of-way that bisects the site;




the rationale for the applicant’s public art contribution being contingent upon the cost to relocate trees on site;




the supervised play area inside the store is more sophisticated than the one in the present store; and




flags will be featured on the store’s flagpoles.



It was moved and seconded



That Bylaw No. 8607, to rezone 13091, 13131, 13080, 13120 Bathgate Place and the northern 1.62 hectares (4 acres) of 3810 Jacombs Road (addressed as 3760 and 3820 Jacombs Road), the existing Bathgate Place surplus City Road Right-of-Way and portions of the existing Jacombs Road surplus City Road Right-of-Way from Industrial Business Park (IB1) to Industrial Retail (IR1), be introduced and given first reading.


Opposed: Cllr. H. Steves




Councillor Steves left the meeting at 5:33 p.m.





(File Ref. No.:  12-8060-20-8608, RZ 09-504936) (REDMS No. 2884737)



It was moved and seconded



That Bylaw No. 8608, for the rezoning of 5051 Williams Road from “Single Detached (RS1/E)” to “Single Detached (RS2/C)”, be introduced and given first reading.






(File Ref. No.) (REDMS No. 2820785)



Committee commended the Richmond Heritage Commission, represented at the meeting by Mr. Laurie Wozny, on the 2009 Annual Report and 2010 Work Plan.



It was moved and seconded



That the Richmond Heritage Commission 2010 Work Plan (attached to the report dated May 5, 2010, from the General Manager, Planning and Development) be approved.





Councillor Steves returned to the meeting at 5:40 p.m.





(File Ref. No.:  08-4430-03-07/2010-Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2886311)



Holger Burke, Development Coordinator, used a PowerPoint presentation to provide background information on (i) Agriculture (AG) Zone setback, and (ii) house size, as it relates to the Richmond Zoning Bylaw 8500. (PowerPoint presentation is attached as Schedule 1 to these Minutes.)



Mr. Burke reviewed three options with regard to the 50 metre setback issue, as set out in the staff report:



Option 1:

return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback;



Option 2:

retain the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 setback except for septic fields; or



Option 3:

amend the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 setback for certain lots.



Mr. Burke reviewed three options with regard to the house size limit issue, as set out in the staff report:



Option 1:

do nothing at this point in time;



Option 2:

examine establishing a farm home plate; or



Option 3:

and examine establishing a maximum house size limit.



Discussion ensued between Committee and staff and in particular on:




the impact of the 50 metre setback stipulation on smaller properties;




staff’s inventory of 72 parcels with development potential;




Delta’s implementation of a maximum house size and farm home plate;




the size of home regulation does not form part of the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 but was re-examined by staff as a result of an October, 2009 referral to staff;




the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, as well as Metro Vancouver’s examination of the size of homes in agricultural areas and the timing of the release of their guidelines;




the composition of the Working Group that was established to act in an advisory capacity, the group’s number of meetings, and the group’s lack of consensus on any of the three options regarding the 50 metre setback issue; and




in February 1992 when Zoning Bylaw 5300 was amended, the bylaw did not address the difference between smaller lots; members of the Working Group who own smaller lots support Zoning Bylaw 5300. 



Committee then heard from speakers who wished to address the issue.



Arzeena Hamir, Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society and an invited member of the Working Group, spoke in support of Setback Option 2 (retain the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 setback except for septic fields) and examining establishing a farm home plate (House Size Limits Option 2). She stated that when development occurs on agricultural land, land becomes inaccessible for those who want to farm the land. She remarked that all buildings on agriculture zoned land should be limited to 50 metres, regardless of the size of the lot.



In response to a query from Committee, Ms. Hamir advised that land on top of a septic field could not be successfully farmed.



Todd May, an invited member of the Working Group, advised that he was appearing before Committee in his role as Co-Chair of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (ACC). He requested of the Committee that the ACC be provided with the opportunity to discuss the three options for the setback and the house size limits issues. Mr. May commented that the Working Group did not include a significant representation of active farmers.



A brief discussion ensued between Mr. May and Committee, regarding the timing of ACC meetings. In conclusion Mr. May stated that the ACC had not seen the options outlined the staff report, and that it was important that the ACC review the options.



Gord Pushee stated that Rezoning Bylaw 8500 diminishes owners’ use of their lots, and he spoke in support of Option 1 (return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback). He noted that it is impractical to reserve 50 metres, due to existing buildings and septic fields on an individual lot. He noted that Richmond has not added any agriculture land to its agriculture land inventory. 



Carol Southgate, a horticulturalist and an owner of a lot in the MacLennan area, stated that small lots are capable of food production, but that the economics of farming small lots cannot be applied to farming large lots. She said that there is a resurgence of people interested in becoming involved in farming, as evidenced by long wait lists for community garden plots. Ms. Southgate spoke in favour of Setback Option 2 (retain the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 setback except for septic fields).



De Whelan, 1363 Blundell Road, stated that the lot her family owns is 1 and 1/3 acres near Sidaway Road, and spoke in favour of Setback Option 2 (retain the new Zoning Bylaw 8500 setback except for septic fields) and spoke against a 70 metre setback. She stated that large homes are crowding out smaller homes, and that land is lost once it is built on. She cautioned that a real estate gold rush could happen if limits are not set.



Mr. Sandhu, No. 6 Road, identified himself as a developer who actively farms acres on a lot on Sidaway Road. He stated that he and other farmers are neglected and that the City denies requests for upgrades to the ditch system and to move tractors along Williams Road. He remarked that the new water metre program has been an added difficulty for blueberry farmers.



Mr. Sandhu raised the issue of illegal dumping of soils on lands within the City’s agriculture zoneand questioned who has governance over such activity.



Lois Carson Boyce remarked that it was important for Council to clarify their intentions. She stated that Council’s priority for the densification of the City Centre was clear, but that Council’s priority, with regard to the retention of (i) agriculture land and (ii) single-family lots, should also be made clear to residents.



Mr. Sander, 8511 No 5 Road, identified himself as a realtor, and noted that many farms that were, in the past, neglected and allowed to run down, are now active farms producing crops. He remarked that capping home size and restricting setbacks would not preserve the farmland. He added that large homes are the result of hard work and dedication by local families, and if lot owners have the means to build large homes, that does not mean they are neglecting their farming endeavours.



Rod Lynde, an invited member of the Working Group, identified himself as a designer of homes in Richmond’s agriculture zone. He stated that a 50 metre setback limit on a wide lot does not present a problem, but when the 50 metre setback limit is applied to a narrow lot, that is when problems arise. He added that all buildings have to be put at the front of the lot, where the setback is located.



Mr. Batth, 8171 No. 6 Road, stated that he farms 7.5 acres of blueberries, and that the frontage of his lot is 66 metres. If he constructed a new shed to replace the aged one on his property, he would have no place to build it, under Zoning Bylaw 8500. He added that he supports the setback Option 1 (return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback)



In response to a query, Mr. Burke advised that 70 metre setbacks do not apply to farm buildings.



Liz Morel, Granville Ave., stated that her family’s home is on a narrow lot that has never been farmed. She wants to (i) build a new home on her lot, and (ii) provide an outdoor play space for her children. She advised that she was unaware of the setback issue and noted that under Zoning Bylaw 8500, if the family wants to construct a greenhouse on their property, they would not be able to do so. She remarked advised that she supports the set back Option 1 (return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback).



In response to queries from Committee, Ms. Morel clarified that due to the narrowness of her lot, a future garage would have to be at the back of the property, and this was not desirable.



Mr. Burke advised that a detached garage would have to be within 50 metres, and that staff recommends 70 metres.



Greg Morel, Granville Ave., stated that under Zoning Bylaw 8500 his family’s property would be non-useable, and for that reason he supports the setback Option 1 (return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback).



Mr. Berar, 9600 No 6 Road, stated that he purchased a neglected farm in 1995. He remarked that if the City limits what residents can build on their lots, the City discourages farming on small parcels. He added that some families that build large homes on agriculture zoned lots can afford to take a loss from farming activities, but that they continue to farm nonetheless. He concluded by stating that he supports the setback Option 1 (return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback).



Charan Sethi, 10571 Granville Ave., an invited member of the Working Group, advised that he farms blueberries on half an acre of land. When he sought farm status from the Agriculture Land Commission he was unsuccessful because his property is under two acres, but he does farm the land. With regard to the house size limit issue, Mr. Sethi stated that it is not unusual for extended families to live together, and that when other residents refer to ‘large houses’ they are in fact referring to ‘family homes’.



He stated that the City has to look more closely at the two issues, setback and house size limits, and that further consultation should take place.



Mr. Sethi referred to the issue of illegal dumping of soils on lands within the City’s agriculture zone, and stated that this activity is destroying the soil.



Mr. Takhar, 7040 No. 5 Road, stated that many members of his family live in the large family home on his property and that his family wants to keep their property as a hobby farm. He said he was unaware of the Zoning Bylaw changes. A 50 metre setback was not enough, and that more room was required in his front yard and also in his back yard.



Roland Hoegler, No. 4 Road, involved in the Working Group meetings, stated that Zoning Bylaw 8500 (i) would remove the use of the back portion of his lot, and (ii) does not reflect the diversity of the needs of people who live on agriculture zoned lots. He said that the front half acre of a lot such as his own is the portion with the highest market value. He advised that not everyone wants to build a large house, and that food security is a personal responsibility.



Mr. Hoegler spoke in support of Bylaw 5300 and the flexibility it afforded, and remarked that the City should return to the previous Zoning Bylaw 5300 setback.



Dale Badh, Ash Street, an invited member of the Working Group, identified himself as a realtor, and the person who raised the issue of the new 50 metre setback. He noted that the main issue before Committee was consultation, and that when Zoning Bylaw 5300 was replaced by Zoning Bylaw 8500 no notification went to owners of agriculture zoned lots.



He remarked that everyone had to be treated equally under Zoning Bylaw 8500, and that there were between 800 and 900 parcels that should be examined in terms of the 50 metre setback issue.



In addition to the seventeen speakers, a letter from Gabrielle A. Grun, 10551 No. 6 Road, was distributed to Committee members. Ms. Grun wrote that set back and house size limits are overreaching and constrain the allowed uses of land. (The letter is on file in the City Clerk’s Office.)



Discussion ensued among Committee regarding: (i) the 50 metre setback issue, (ii) the house size issue, and (iii) the issue of illegal dumping of soils on lands within the City’s agriculture zone.



A comment was made that with so many ways to examine the issue, finding one solution to fit every variable is difficult, but that there was nothing underhanded in the process by which Zoning Bylaw 8500 was arrived at.



A suggestion was made that staff further examine the 50 metre setback issue.



A further suggestion was made that the Agricultural Advisory Committee be consulted on the 50 metre setback and the house size issues.



In response to a query, Mr. Erceg advised that if Committee referred the report back to staff, and if a property owner made application for changes to their property, a variance permit that would usually take approximately four months to process, could be expedited.  



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



It was moved and seconded



That with regard to the matter of Agriculture Zone Setback:





staff consult with the Agricultural Advisory Committee;





staff hold a public open house to explain, consult with, and seek input regarding Richmond Zoning Bylaw 8500, Amendment Bylaw 8689, and other options; and





notice of this public open house be sent to all the Agriculture (AG) zoned property owners and tenants/leaseholders, in addition to being advertised in the local newspapers.





Further discussion ensued regarding illegal dumping of soils on lands within the City’s agriculture zone.



As a result of concerns expressed by Committee members, and by the speakers who addressed Committee, the following referral motion was introduced:



It was moved and seconded



That staff:




update the Planning Committee on the matter of illegally dumped soils in the City’s Agriculture (AG) zone; and




identify what resources are available for enforcement.










(File Ref. No.) (REDMS No. 2873262)



A brief discussion ensued between Committee and Lesley Sherlock, Social Planner, regarding the Community Amenity Lands and safety concerns identified by the Hamilton Community Association, with the Lands, such as limited visibility of oncoming traffic due primarily to the bend in Westminster Highway. Ms. Sherlock stated that an examination of access to the CAL through the buffer zone is one way to address safety concerns.



Joe Erceg, General Manager, Planning and Development, advised that a memorandum on the issue, with an illustration such as a map, would be distributed to Council before the May 25, 2010 Council meeting.



Sharon Brake Leong, accompanied by Gordon Graham, addressed Committee and advised that she and Mr. Graham serve on the Hamilton Community Association (HCA) under the chairmanship of Dick Chan.



Ms. Brake Leong stated that the HCA has submitted a letter to the City expressing their concern regarding safety issues associated with the Community Amenity Lands (CAL), negotiated as part of the Tranlink rezoning application. Ms. Brake Leong opined that the CAL is situated at a blind corner that requires significant traffic calming measures.



The HCA wishes to look at a City owned property as an alternative location for the proposed City-owned childcare centre in Hamilton.



Ms. Brake Leong requested that the HAC engage in direct conversation with City staff.



Discussion ensued between Committee and staff during which Mr. Jackson, Director of Development, clarified that Translink had donated the CAL to the City.



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



It was moved and seconded







the report entitled “TransLink Rezoning (RZ 09-484669): Proposed Use of Community Amenity Benefits for a City-Owned Child Care Facility” be referred back to staff for further discussion with the Hamilton Community Association; and




after discussion has taken place with the Hamilton Community Association, staff report back to the Planning Committee.



The question on the motion was not called as advice was sought from Cathryn Volkering Carlile, General Manager, Community Services regarding any cost implications involved if there is a delay in establishing a City-owned childcare facility on the Community Amenity Lands.



Ms. Volkering Carlile was directed by Committee to (i) contact the Chair of the HAC regarding the CAL lands, and (ii) meet with the HAC during the ten days following the date of the May 18, 2010 Planning Committee meeting.



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








City Property for a Shelter for Women and Children



John Foster, Acting Manager, Social Services, addressed Committee and noted that, to date, the City has not had a response to its request to the Province for operating funds for the proposed shelter for women and children. Mr. Foster noted that the June 30, 2010 deadline for notification of the outcome of the operating funds request is only six weeks away.



In response to Mr. Foster’s request that Council consider submitting a further letter to the Minister to enquire as to the status of the City’s funding request, Committee directed Mr. Foster to (i) make an appointment with the Minister of Housing and Social Development, and (ii) travel to Victoria to ascertain the status of the City’s funding request.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (8:05 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, May 18, 2010.



Councillor Bill McNulty


Sheila Johnston

Committee Clerk