District of North Vancouver Set to Adopt Final Maplewood Village Centre Plan

The District of North Vancouver is set to adopt the final version of the Maplewood Village Centre and Innovation District Implementation Plan & Design Guidelines at council. 

Maplewood had been identified for future density in the DNV’s OCP back when it was adopted in 2011, but planning efforts for Maplewood didn’t formally get underway in 2015.

Overall the Maplewood Plan maintains a low and mid-rise built form, character, and scale. Highest density development within the Maplewood area is to be located within the compact village core. Possible locations for taller buildings ( up to 12 storeys) are included in the land use plan along with policy statements to include provisions to negotiate density and height on a case-by-case basis in order to achieve the District’s housing and community amenity objectives.

The Plan also includes an area being called the “Innovation District”, which comprises several acres of land controlled by Darwin Properties including former Port Metro Vancouver Lands, and a recently acquired boarding school property.

Here are some targets contained with the Maplewood plan:

  • 1,500 net new housing units by 2030
  • 4,500 net new jobs by 2030
  • 100,000 SF of commercial space
  • 300 net new non-market housing units
  • two new parks
  • various transportation improvements including extension of Berkeley Road and B-Line extension from Phibbs Exchange to Maplewood
  • Various community amenities including new community centre.

The Plan features three precincts:

1. Maplewood Village Centre is the central commercial hub and includes a diversity
of multi-family housing, mixed-use commercial/residential, live/work and smallscale
artisan industrial housing, as well as institutional uses including a school and
local community services.

2. Maplewood North Innovation District is a new district offering an innovative mix
of employment, educational, recreational and limited residential and community uses in a campus-style structure. This area will be connected to the Village Centre
by major arterial routes and an active transportation network. Parks, open space
and natural areas are integrated throughout to create a connected network.

3. Dollarton Highway South is a strong industrial and employment area with
opportunities to intensify as existing and local business expand and provides
opportunities for the expansion of business park uses.

Land uses within the plan includes the following:

  • Residential densities at 1.20 – 2.50 FSR
  • Mixed-Use densities at 1.75 – 2.50 FSR
  • Commercial densities up to 1.0 FSR
  • Industrial densities up to 1.10 FSR
  • Mixed Industrial densities up to 2.50 FSR

A full version of the Maplewood Plan can be viewed here: http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3376593

Market Spotlight: District of North Van Development Activity

The District of North Vancouver held a council workshop earlier this week during which an update was provided on development activity in the five town centre and village centre areas.

While rezoning applications do exist outside the town centre and village centre areas, the District of North Van has sought to concentrate development growth in these areas.

A summary of this update is provided below:

Lions Gate Village

DNV Feb 2016 Edgemont Village

DNV Feb 2016_1

Lynn Valley Town Centre

DNV Feb 2016_2Lynn Creek (formerly Lower Lynn)

DNV Feb 2016_3Maplewood

DNV Feb 2016_4

District of North Van Updates CAC Policy

The District of North Vancouver will review a report at council next week that seeks to update the District’s Community Amenity Policy, which has not been reviewed since 2010. The update was required due to increased development pressures and was brought forward partially at the encouragement of the development community. Coriolis Consulting assisted with the review of existing policy.

Here is an excerpt regarding the existing policy:

EXISTING POLICY:

The District of North Vancouver’s existing CAC policy includes two different approaches to
determine the appropriate value of a CAC, depending on the location of the rezoning:

  • In the designated Town and Village Centres (growth centres), the value of the CAC is
    determined through a negotiated approach, equivalent to 75% of the estimated increase in the market value of the property due to the rezoning. The reference to 75% of the increase in property value is to ensure that the CAC does not exceed the
    amount that is financially viable for the development project.
  • Outside the Centres, the CAC value is based on a target fixed rate per square foot of additional residential floorspace approved by the rezoning. Outside of centres, the CAC can be negotiated if the developer thinks the fixed rate is not appropriate or the rezoning exceeds the density identified in the OCP.

Below is an excerpt outlining the recommended changes to be implemented going forward:

“Recommended CAC Approach Outside Centres:

Staffs recommended approach to CACs outside of the Centres is:

1. Establish three separate fixed rate CAC categories outside the Centres with fixed rate
targets as follows:

(a) $6 per square foot (current rate $5) of increased permitted residential gross floor  area for any project with an FSR less than or equal to 0.8 FSR;
(b) $13 per square foot (current rate $5) of increased permitted residential gross floor area for any project with an FSR greater than 0.8 but less than or equal to 1.0 FSR
(c) $20 per square foot (current rate $15) of increased permitted residential gross floor area for any project with an FSR greater than 1.0

2. Negotiate the CAC for the rezoning of any properties that are currently improved with rental housing to take into account the specific details of any rental replacement requirement. The target for negotiations should be at most 75% of the increased value due to the rezoning .

3. Continue to allow negotiated CACs in the specific circumstances currently identified in the District’s policy, but change the target negotiated CAC to be a maximum of 75% of the increased value due to the rezoning, rather than “50% to 75%” of the increased value due to the rezoning as currently written.

Recommended CAC Approach Inside Centres:

Staff’s recommended approach to CACs in the Centres is:

1. Negotiate CACs for major, complex rezonings where it is difficult to determine an appropriate CAC rate in advance of a development application, including:

  • Large sites that have significant land dedications and on-site infrastructure requirements.
  • Sites which include existing rental housing that the District would like to see replaced as part of any redevelopment.
  • Higher density mixed-use sites, such sites in the CRMU 2 and CRMU 3 OCP designations (i.e., mixed-use projects over 1.75 FSR).
  • Highrise residential projects (over 6-storeys in the RES Level 6 designation).
  • Sites identified for a significant on-site amenity.
  • Sites currently zoned for industrial use.
  • Applications that require an OCP amendment.

The target for negotiations should be a maximum of 75% of the increased property value due to the rezoning.

2. Establish new fixed rate area inside the five Centres with a fixed rate target of $20 per square foot (presently negotiated) of additional permitted residential floorspace. The fixed rate areas for inside centres may be found in Schedule 2 of the Draft CAC Policy attached to this report.”

Source: http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=2796413

Grosvenor’s Edgemont Village Project Moving Forward

Following years of planning and community consultation, Grosvenor’s proposal for a mixed-use project on a 2.1 acre land assembly including the Super Valu site in Edgemont Village, which has been under the working name “Grosvenor Edgemont” goes to council on Monday for approval. The site sits on the Western edge of Village, and was acquired by Grosvenor in 2013 for $36,000,000. It went to a public hearing in June 2015.

Development potential for the site was previously limited in terms of density, but recent planning policy including the new DNV OCP and Edgemont Village Centre Plan both facilitated a rezoning above 1.0 FSR.

The overall plan for the site is for a 3-storey building with a partial 4th level. Details from the development permit application include:

  • a total density of 1.67 FSR
  • 84,503 SF of residential space
  • 61,567 SF of commercial space
  • a new Thrifty Goods grocery store
  • 82 residential units including 59 apartments and 23 townhouses
  • 371 underground parking spaces on two levels
  • housing agreement to ensure owners are not prevented from renting units
  • CAC equal to $15.00 per SF per increase in density above 1.0 FSR

Grosvenor Edgemont_1 Grosvenor Edgemont_2 Grosvenor Edgemont_3

Grosvenor Edgemont_4In addition to Grosvenor’s project website (linked above), the District of North Vancouver has a site with links to various info on the proposal: https://www.dnv.org/property-and-development/3260-edgemont-boulevard-grosvenor

As Affordability Worsens, Municipalities Taking Differing Approaches

While the City of Vancouver is most often the focus of debate and discussion surrounding the current housing affordability crisis, development pressures are now forcing other municipalities to engage in research and analysis on the issue. Recent public backlash related to the redevelopment of older low-rise apartment buildings has forced staff and council in many Metro Vancouver cities to spend time reviewing the issues.

The Councils of both City of Burnaby and the District of North Vancouver (“DNV”) received reports in the past week from their respective planning departments on issues surrounding housing affordability. In both cases, the reports were prepared primarily for information purposes only and will not immediately result in policy changes; however, the increasing dialogue at the municipal level is sure to have an impact on planning and rezoning policies in these and other municipalities in the near future. Both Burnaby and DNV are grappling with the impending redevelopment under new OCPs that have targeted older apartment buildings in “town centre” areas, though they appear to have differing perspectives on what can actually be done at the municipal level.

Suburban municipalities are well behind the City of Vancouver which was forced to take more severe measures to protect rental housing stock after development pressure in the 80’s and 90’s. Likewise the City of Van has been more progressive on devising and implementing rental incentive policies, to varying degrees of success.

As both single family and condo values increase throughout Metro Vancouver, redevelopment pressures are now mounting in many areas and citizens throughout Metro Vancouver are urging governments to take a harder look at housing affordability. Even sleepy Maple Ridge is feeling pressure on the rental market.

Below is a brief summary of the two reports that went to each City Council with specific focus on the issues identified in each municipality and potential policy implications (or lack thereof):

City of Burnaby – Growth Management and Housing Policies in Burnaby (Nov 4, 2015)

Purpose of Report

“to place the City’s approach to the management of growth within the context of housing policy and demand, tenure and affordability. This report outlines the City’s policy framework for managing growth; reviews the roles and responsibilities of local and senior levels of government in the provision of housing and housing affordability; highlights the City’s legislative role and ability to improve the range of market and non-market  housing opportunities and affordability levels; and discusses the constraints faced by local governments to directly provide or influence the supply and/or affordability of housing.

This report has been prepared in response to observations and concerns received by the City regarding new developments within the Town Centre…where existing rental housing sites nearing the end of their building life-cycle have been advanced for redevelopment”.

Here is a recent news clip about a project on Silver Avenue:

Snapshot of Burnaby’s Rental Housing Market

  • One third of Burnaby’s dwelling units are rental (32,000 of 96,000)
  • 2nd largest rental market (after City of Van – 55,800 units)
  • Current apartment vacancy rate of under 1%
  • Most town centre areas have buildings from 50s/60s – nearing end of life
  • Land costs largely preventing new rental construction despite demand

Role of Municipality and Burnaby Policies to Date

  • Rental Conversion Control Policy (1972) -can’t convert rental to strata
  • Density Bonus Policy (1997) – allows rezoning, 20% of CAC to non-market
  • Tenant Assistance Policy (2015) – requires tenant assistance exceeding RTA

Overall, the City indicates that 7,900 Non-market units have been developed in 154 developments.

Constraints to Addressing Affordable Rental Housing

  • City cannot impose a moratorium on demolition of existing apartments
  • A “Standard of Maintenance Bylaw” imposed on existing apartment owners would not have the desired effect of increasing supply or addressing affordable rents
  • City is looking at ways to build rental housing directly, but needs support of other levels of gov’t
  • A requirement for rental replacement would impair feasibility of new projects

The report points out that it is estimated that 25% of all new strata are rented out, equating to 8,400 rental units in new supply.

CONCLUSION

The general conclusion of the report is that any policy in the near-term that would slow the redevelopment in town centre areas would have an overall worse impact on housing affordability by suppressing the supply of new units. The report does acknowledge the attendant impact development is having on older apartment stock, but infers that this is necessary to generate housing supply and new rental (through strata investment)

While the discussion isn’t likely to end here, it does not appear that there will be any impact on rezoning applications in the near future. The City of Burnaby is effectively keeping things status quo for now.

District of North Vancouver – Rental and Affordable Housing Green Paper (Nov 2, 2015)

Purpose of Report

“This report…provides an overview of the housing situation in the District and identifies the key issues for rental and affordable housing. Through the implementation of the Official Community Plan and other relevant policies, and the administration of the land development application and review process the District has an opportunity to advance key objectives towards protecting existing rental stock and creating more affordable housing.

Emerging developer interest in redeveloping existing rental, and older fractional interest multi-family residential properties in the District has prompted concerns from Council over the potential loss of older, more affordable purpose built rental and low end market ownership units and the potential displacement of lower to moderate income residents.”

Snapshot of Rental Housing in District of North Van

  • 9,020 total market rental units
  • 4,500 estimated secondary suites
  • 850 strata rental units
  • $1,209 average rent per month

Key Housing Challenges in the District of North Van

  • High housing prices relative to income
  • Aging purpose built rental housing stock and lack of renewal
  • Almost 90% of 1,269 rental units built before 1980
  • Existing rental at risk for redevelopment (over half of stock in town centre areas)
  • Displacement of tenants an issue through new market rents
  • Apartment vacancy rate is under 1%
  • Lack of options for rental for families, students and seniors
  • Expiring operating agreements for co-ops and non-profit societies
  • Growing homeless population

Potential Tools to Consider

Below is an outline of some of the tools DNV planning staff are examining and considering to address some of the issues above.

  • Update Standards of Maintenance Bylaw to improve effectiveness
  • Establishment of DNV Housing Corporation to acquire and operate rental
  • Amending 1:1 rental replacement to acquire fewer but more affordable units
  • Phasing development to replace existing rental
  • Create a rent bank
  • Priority processing and potential density bonus for rental applications
  • More affordable housing incentives in rezoning including CACs to fund
  • More affordable ground oriented housing / market value restrictions

CONCLUSION

The District of North Van appears to be taking these issues quite seriously and in fact staff has indicated that they will not consider new applications involving rental housing until these issues are more thoroughly explored.

This may lead to a new rental and affordable housing policy that could potentially impact future rezoning applications. Time will tell which measures actually get implemented. In the short term, the above analysis will almost certainly have the negative effect of slowing rezoning and development applications.


As older rental stock continues to age through Metro Vancouver, we’re likely to see more municipalities exploring ways to address housing affordability, primarily on the rental side.

Lynn Valley Grows Up in Height

District of North Vancouver council adopted a plan for future development in Lynn Valley Town Centre Monday night that allows for building heights of between eight and 12 storeys to be considered in key locations.

Council unanimously passed the plan that calls for most building heights to be limited to five storeys, but allows up to eight storeys on several “strategic” parcels, including land on the north side of East 27th Street between Lynn Valley Road and Mountain Highway and two blocks that abut the corner of Kirkstone Park.

Council will also consider buildings up to 12 storeys on a “case by case” basis. The decision Monday night came after a long and emotional process, which has seen residents split on what kind of density and height they’d like to see in the centre of Lynn Valley.

Prior to the vote Monday, a number of residents spoke both for and against the plan for increased density.

Read more: http://www.nsnews.com/news/lynn-valley-grows-up-in-height-1.656180#sthash.PSLtDTMq.dpuf