Objections to Current Interpretation of Policy

My wife and I would like to register our objections to the current interpretation of the laneway housing policy. From what our intial understanding was that it would be for existing older properties. It seems to have been relaxed considerably to the detriment of neighbourhoods. The current policy seems to maximize the number of living spaces per property to the point where along with a basement suite, there could be three times as many persons residing on the property than just a single family. It appears like the City and developers have exploited the potential of the laneway house to maximize profits and property taxes. The worst example that we have observed is at the new housing/laneway housing at West 11th Ave and Blanca Street. I cannot imagine what the neighbourhood must feel besides being deceived by the City policy that allowed this to happen. There used to be consultation with neighbourhoods before development happened but this seems to have gone by the boards. We live in Dunbar and I do not want to see this happen around us as we have had to put up with enough already what with the destruction of bungalows which are being replaced by 4,500+ square foot houses. In our area, most if these houses sit empty as the owners live in China. The City is asking a lot of its tax-paying residents to accept such changes when there has been no consultation whatsover. My wife and I are gardeners and we take much pride in our property. A laneway house next door would reduce the amount of sun that our yard would receive and three residences on one property would increase the number of automobiles, on street parking and garbage collection requirements In regard to laneway housing we urge you to re-examine the policy so that:

The owner must occupy one of the dwellings.
That Laneway housing only be permitted for existing single family dwellings not new construction.
The neighbourhoods must be notified regarding one story structures.
That neighbourhoods approve any two story structures that may be considered.

Because of the backlash that laneway housing has caused, there may be value in the City imposing a moritorium until public hearings have taken place.

Yours sincerely,

Dunbar Resident

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2 Responses to Objections to Current Interpretation of Policy

  1. Michael Lyons says:

    Points on your anonymous letter:
    (why are they always anonymous..hmmm)

    – It is a fact that less people live on Vancouver properties than ever before, not more.
    – Laneway housing does not triple this already low number of occupants – it adds one or two people at maximum.
    – If the big new houses lay vacant, as you say, there is less pressure on parking and garbage pickup, not more. (although I do agree we must somehow save our beautiful older homes, some other houses are well past their usefulness and need replacing)
    – Transit usage is up hugely in Vancouver. Greater density allows for greater transit infrastructure and that means less reliance on cars and fewer cars on every block.
    – Neighbourhood consultation was never intended for small residential additions like this because: it is expensive to implement and administer, very slow process for homeowners, adds too much uncertainty for homeowners contemplating a project, and discriminatory if some neighbours can have one and some not just because of who they happen to live close to.
    – There is no backlash. The program is generally very well received
    Michael Lyons

  2. Brian says:

    Dunbar res,
    You are very lucky to have one of Vancouver’s best organized residents associations in Dunbar. If you are not a member already I urge you to join. The only thing that is going to stop the destruction that these monstrous laneway units visit on neighbourhoods is organized pushback. Our current crop of muni pols don’t even have the wisdom of those in Toronto (!) who stopped laneway housing outright and Seattle, where they have serious restrictions.

    There’s no eco in laneway housing, just the opposite in fact. And a lot of the density lies between the ears of those currently in power at city hall. It’s clear from council’s attitude to development issues in various neighbourhoods all over the city, that city hall (surprise, surprise) is in the philosophical if not the actual pocket of developers and doesn’t give a rat’s ass to what those living in those communities want.

    The only thing that will deviate this council from its development-at-any-cost path is organized pushback, like Vancouver Not Vegas which managed to reverse what was considered a sure thing.

    The sad think about what happened at W11th and Blanca, is that there is NOTHING to stop that kind of abortion from happening to virtually every single-family lot on every block in every neighbourhood in the city. Except to throw this current crop of political bozos under the bus.

    Any time you see one of these new monstosities going up, I urge you to print off the “No eco, all density” flyers from this website and leaflet the houses around it. As you are gardeners, I can assure you you’ll find fertile ground there, among lots of other people who feel as you do. Spin doctors, not withstanding.

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