Vision Vancouver proposes city-wide rezoning for housing density within first 90 days

Sep 19 2022, 8:27 pm

If Vision Vancouver candidates are elected to Vancouver City Council, they will pursue drastic policy changes to allow all neighbourhoods across Vancouver to see residential densification through City-wide zoning changes.

The party released its five-point housing platform over the weekend, promising to direct City staff to put together a zoning reform policy that will allow low- and mid-rise housing options across the city. Such a policy decision would be voted on within 90 days of taking office.

The current City Council approved the Vancouver Plan for densifying the city, but the plan is only a high-level vision and does not introduce any actual zoning changes. Currently, the strategy is to create new area plans — such as the Broadway Plan, Cambie Corridor Plan, and West End Plan — to realize the vision and establish the specific details under the Vancouver Plan. Vision Vancouver’s proposal would effectively create blanket zoning changes without going through the lengthy, area-specific planning process.

For below-market housing, including non-profit and public co-op housing, Vision Vancouver is vowing to eliminate the public hearing requirements. This follows marathon public hearings for controversial below-market housing projects during the current City Council’s term, including the most recent public hearing of the supportive housing building near SkyTrain’s future Arbutus Station in Kitsilano.

As a separate point, Vision Vancouver will also expand the mandate of the City’s Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency by giving it more resources to build more affordable housing projects on City-owned land.

New housing will be catalyzed by supportive policies such as addressing the municipal government’s permitting delays. Policy changes will be made to guarantee a permit under three months for any single-family home densifying their lot with a secondary suite, duplex, triplex, or laneway home. As well, small home renovation permits — projects worth under $50,000 — will be guaranteed with a 30-day decision. Vision Vancouver’s solution to permitting delays is to hire more staff in the building and licensing department.

In addition to creating new supply, the party will expand protection and advocacy for existing residents living in rental housing, including fully activating the City’s Renters Protection Office and appointing a renters’ advocate.

“The housing crisis is the greatest challenge facing Vancouver today, and it demands leadership — not another motion to defer or delay,” said Vision Vancouver City Councillor candidate Lesli Boldt in a statement.

“We need a City Council that has the courage to act on the public’s priorities. Vision’s housing plan will take swift, bold action to remove the barriers to new housing – particularly rental housing — and to work with other councillors who share our commitment to getting things done.”

Vision Vancouver is fielding three candidates for City Council, including current Park Board commissioner Suart Mackinnon, who was previously with the Green Party, two candidates for the Vancouver Park Board, and five candidates for the Vancouver School Board. The party does not have a mayoral candidate.

The civic election is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, 2022.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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