1401 Comox, 22-story Tower: Issues

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Presentation by www.westendneighbours.ca at April 22, 2010 Town Hall Meeting. About a 120,000 sq ft, 22 storey tower proposed by Westbank Projects Corp. Peterson Investment Group, Henriquez Partners Architects, with taxpayer subsidy of about $15 million to build 192 rentals. Proposal flaunts current zoning and community plan.

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  • Cut off most of large black base Cut off building showing: only first 3 floors (levels 1, 2 & 3); first 7 floors (levels 1 to 7); and total building. I will enlarge and add text boxes
  • Cut off most of large black base Cut off building showing: only first 3 floors (levels 1, 2 & 3); first 7 floors (levels 1 to 7); and total building. I will enlarge and add text boxes
  • 1401 Comox, 22-story Tower: Issues

    1. 1. 1401 Comox (St. John’s Church) Issues about the Proposed Development by Westbank/Peterson/Henriquez www.westendneighbours.ca Town Hall Meeting APRIL 22, 2010 Coast Plaza Hotel, Comox Street, Vancouver
    2. 2. 1401 Comox Proposed Development
    3. 3. 1401 Comox Proposed Development The property is at the corner of Comox and Broughton and is 132 by 131 ft which is 17,300 sq ft. Current zoning which is called RM5 in planners language, would allow 26,000 sq. ft. of residential development with a maximum height of 60 ft. This zoning was set in 1989 following a visioning process and this section of the West End was designed to encourage developments suited to families with children. It has also been described as the West End valley and an oasis area free of high rise development. Current zoning places emphasis on achieving development which is compatible with neighbouring development with respect to streetscape character, open spaces, view retention, sunlight access and privacy. I would like to talk about the new proposed building to see how it compares in each of the planned achievements.
    4. 4. The West End Valley or Family Zone
    5. 5. RM5
    6. 6. The West End Valley or Family Zone The neighbouring high rise is across the lane and has 139 suites on 18 floors. It is built on four lots, has approximately 90,000 sq ft and built to about three times the land area. The new building with 192 suites on 22 floors is on two lots and will be built over 7 times the lot size for a total of about 130, 000 sq ft. The new building will be almost 50 % larger than the neighbour on less land. It is a very large building in the heart of the family zone.
    7. 7. Streetscape Character Across the street from the new development is an older six story brick apartment building and all the other neighbouring buildings built more recently under the 1989 zoning rules are a maximum of three stories, though zoning allows up to six stories.
    8. 8. On the ground floor the community garden area in the south west corner of the lot is less than 20% of the property. The building is located with almost no setbacks on the Broughton and lane sides. The neighbouring buildings are built with mostly solid walls of stucco, brick or metal siding. The new building is glass faced unlike any other building in the area and is completely out of character with the streetscape. Streetscape Character and Open Space
    9. 9. a tall, massive glass building that looks unlike anything in the West End! The West End gets Nothing for: the library, community and aquatic centers not to mention the parking congestion. The landlord gets the rental revenue from 192 suites instead of 40. I was advised when I spoke to the Mayor and Council to be respectful, do you think by approving this project they are respecting the residents of the West End? The Neighbourhood gets…
    10. 10. 81 parking stalls are provided for the 192 unit occupants and their guests. Access will be from a ramp in the lane. Parking issues for existing residents will obviously increase. City Planners are about to rewrite the zoning rules for this property. They can do this through the CD-1 rezoning process with no appeal once Council approves. Most CD-1 rezoning requests are processed for properties either on or adjacent to a major traffic street. It is most unusual for the City to consider a CD-1 application in the heart of a residential zone more than two blocks from a bus route. It is even more unusual to consider an application which would allow a building with floor space 500% more than current zoning allows. Parking Issues both on the Property and Surrounding Streets
    11. 11. Amenity Space The developer has set aside less than 3% of the building for neighbourhood group use. Is this a fair tradeoff for being allowed to build 192 units instead of 40? Is this just and fair for the community. 3% 192 units
    12. 12. The West End Valley or Family Zone
    13. 13. The new building at 22 stories and 216 ft tall will rise above any existing building in the center of the West End and will be visible from most apartment balconies. The large size of each floor at approximately 6000 sq. ft. is obviously going to affect views for great number of residents in the West End and the enjoyment of the gardens and roof top decks of neighbouring buildings. The mini park on Broughton in front of Gordon Neighbourhood House and north east of the new building will lose sunlight in the afternoon. The proposed building at 1401 Comox is unlike any other in the West End, it is a huge glass structure more in keeping with the architecture of Yaletown or Coal Harbour and completely out of character for the family zone, the valley in the center of our community. View retention, Sunlight Access and Privacy
    14. 14. Subsidies and who Benefits? The City has bylaws that determine the amount a developer has to pay if he wants to build more than current zoning allows. It is a charge based on the additional square footage to be built and parking stalls not provided. For 1401 Comox this figure could be in excess of $15 million. Through the STIR program the developer does not pay anything. It is a direct subsidy for which the City asks the developer to agree to a 60 year rental period. The Landlords can charge market rents and the city receives nothing back except property taxes at a reduced rate. Is this fair?   The neighbourhood gets a tall, massive glass building that looks unlike anything in the West End, gets nothing for the library, community and aquatic centers not to mention the parking congestion. The landlord gets the rental revenue from 192 suites instead of 40 . I was advised when I spoke to the Mayor and Council to be respectful, do you think by approving this project they are respecting the residents of the West End.

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