Vancouver City Hall live blog: the future of food trucks

Liveblogging City Hall: Street vending by-law, voting transparency, and youth issues. Also, hot debate on a development at Seymour and Helmcken. Follow the live blog to see how talks go down. Join us for the good, the bad, and the weird.

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3:03pm Jang "I'm a little disturbed at today's proceedings–– it's like we're re-fighting a public hearing. ... We're creating a mixed building."

3pm Reimer clarifying that they could speak on 1099 Richards at the 508 Helmcken hearing, but just not about built form (which is the gist of the podium argument, no?).

2:46pm Questions. Carr finds the section about FSR increase on Page 6 of the plan. Social housing comprises 53% of 1099's units. For FSR increase, it has to be 2/3. They're just not on the same page of what "social housing" is. Again.

Jackson says "social housing" can include the low end of market rate. (How is that supposed to make sense in real life?) Under this stretchy definition, 100% of 1099 Richards qualifies as social housing.

Even if we accept this, that still takes us only to FSR 5. Not 7. or 17.

Carr: How did Council end up dealing with 1099, if the public couldn't speak on it when addressing 508 Helmcken. So Albert was right, it seems. Jackson says, "I can't comment on that."

Carr is still trying to get a straight answer out of P&D Services on whether or not the public was able to speak on 1099. The answer is basically "no".

2:33pm: Recess until 2:45pm

2:25pm Comments from staff. Jackson: We received 36 responses out of 5700 postcards sent out for 1099 Richards proposal. A three-hour open house was held on May 29 at the Roundhouse. The DP Board was going by CAC guidelines for calculating the density they could get away with at 1099 Richards.

The proximity issue came up with the DP Board, but they didn't see a problem with it, says Jackson. "The resulting impact is deemed an acceptable level of livability".

Jim D Hoop, Managing Director of Social Development: Speaking on the social housing aspect of 1099 Richards. The social housing will be rented for under $500 per month. The "low-cost" housing is rented at rates below comparable. (This is not the same thing as "low-cost, though, which I would hope was more widely understood.)

2:20pm Peter [Didn't catch his surname]: "If the development of 1099 Richards was based on a land swap, and that land swap involved 508 Helmcken, that would mean that you have several different components of the city involved. Probably the way that swap was handled means that jurisdiction becomes an issue. [...] Does the City have the legal authority to sell the land that's under the jurisdiction of the Park Board?" The process, he argues, has been backwards.

2:12pm John Green: "Why wasn't there ever an open house? ... No real transparency." He wonders if anyone on Council had seen the models before. "The concerns of neighbours have never been addressed or listened to... they just come up with a plan, and that's just the way it goes." He says "over 90% of people were opposed to these developments, but they've had no way to register that.

508 Helmcken, at FSR 17, would be the densest building in the city. "You're double-dipping there to increase FSR for both buildings, based on one building's social housing." Also, rent of $1,142 per month is not "social housing". This whole process, he said, is based on the "false pretense" of a pre-approved FSR. Again, he says, 508 and 1099 are joined at the hip.

Green adds, "We'd like to be heard, but nobody's listening to us, quite frankly." Sounds like PD Services is asking Council to "retroactively approve FSR." During Dev Permit Board hearing, he was told that Council already approved FSR, which they haven't done.

2:06pm Peter Ostafichuk: Shows us a slideshow of 1099 Richards in context of 1082 Seymour. "General form is four towers per block." Proposed development adds a 5th tower (13 storeys). That requires "numerous infringements upon guidelines, and not small infringements, but extravagant ones." Ostafichuk says, "The point I want to make isn't about views, but about livability." Privacy, access to light, sense of space, horizontal angle of daylight, etc. 1088's podium, he says, would have a big privacy impact. This affects residents of the new building, too. "How was the decision made that this was acceptable?"

A slimmer building would help mitigate this, though that means it would hold fewer units.

2pm Director of Planning and Development Services Brian Jackson is telling Council to ignore 508 Helmcken for now.(Albert said that thsi was impossible)

John Greer, Asst Dir of Development Svcs: "We seek Council approval prior to development permit". DP Board needs Council's "blessing for this".
 there's discretion in the guidelines to change/amend setbacks, and no zoning by-law changes, but there were "guidelines that need to be looked at carefully."

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