City Changes Chinatown Policy to Slow Development

Summary

Staff are rescinding rezoning policy, making changes to Chinatown Historic Area HA-1 and HA-1A Districts Schedule and preparing recommendations to Council that are intended to temper land speculation and slow development.

Significance

  1. Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) as tool for financing public benefit 

    Many community members have voiced the concern that the community benefits derived from the additional height are not enough and not worth the exchange. Staff is recommending rescinding the use of CACs in Chinatown.

  2. Community involvement 

    The policy changes are partly driven by calls for action from community members. The Chinatown community has been vocal over pace of development in the neighbourhood. Many are worried that the quick pace of development has put pressure on existing businesses and housing for Chinese seniors.

  3. Discussion over Chinatown heritage conservationUnder the Chinatown Historic Area District Schedule there is no floor area density provision. Development building forms come from maximum height and design guidelines. There is renewed discussion over what constitutes Chinatown character as well as considerations for both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
  4. Impact on future developmentThe Rezoning Policy was adopted only 6 years ago. The escalating real estate market in Vancouver has made visible in a short time frame drastic neighbourhood changes.
  5. TimingThe changes to development policies came at a time of contentious rezoning decision for a 12-story building by Beedie Development at 105 Keefer Street.

Background

Rezoning Policy for Chinatown South (HA-1A) was adopted in 2011.The base zoning height for Chinatown South (HA-1A) is up to 90 feet. The Rezoning Policy allows additional height for the provision of public benefits in the form of CACs and affordable or social housing.

Sources


Prepared by: Leslie Shieh, Vancouver City Planning Commission Chronology Committee
Revised: Friday, December 1, 2017