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In October 2017 controversy over implementation of the District of North Vancouver’s Official Community Plan (OCP) led council to create an OCP Implementation Monitoring Committee. The Committee is coming back to Council on Monday February 19 with a report on its work, some tough questions and a request for resources to answer some questions.
These are important questions for everyone in the District. Thanks to the OCP Committee for making them public and we look forward to specific answers to specific questions.
In this report the Committee lists its priorities, the top three of which are housing, community structure/integrated planning and transportation/lighting and safety. The issue covered in this report is housing.
Among the points raised by the Committee are:
- There is a lack of opportunity to develop mid-level density (i.e.coach/townhouses/duplex/triplex/rowhouses) in proximity to the town and village centres. However, there is concern that even if these options existed, they would be priced out of reach for the average family.
- The need for affordable rental housing is increasing. rental housing that is taken out of the market during redevelopment, and the lack of rental opportunities for these displaced citizens to move into. The Committee has requested information from staff on the number of old rental units that have been redeveloped, and the number of rental units replaced through that process of redevelopment.
- New town centres are not on their own providing affordable housing purchase options in the district. A hard look needs to be taken at the town centres to determine whether they are truly providing affordable options, or whether they have become predominantly investment opportunities.
- The lack of rental housing
- The reconstruction of the existing housing stock and, in particular, the construction of “monster” homes that substantially change the character of some neighborhoods.
- Options for removing speculation from the market. Options such as coop, or land banking
The Committee raised the following questions:
- Is the anticipated demand for housing in the OCP on target? Is it on target for town centres? For single-family neighbourhoods?
- Is there anything in the District’s regulatory framework that makes it not feasible for developing duplexes/triplexes, rowhouses, etc.? Or is it the market that prices these housing types out of reach?
- What economics are required to build ground-oriented multifamily housing in multiple scenarios (rowhouse, townhouse, bare land strata, fee simple coach house, etc.)? What are the current developments in process? What types of housing are they? Are they in town centres or elsewhere?
- What are the issues affecting affordability in the DNV?
- What incentives could be offered to developers who build certain types of housing? What could those incentives be?
- In the new town and village centre developments, is there evidence of speculation or foreign ownership, which is driving up the prices of these units?
The terms of reference set for the Committee when it was created called for quarterly reports. We look forward to the next one and tough questions in other areas.
The report can be found on page 29 of Council’s agenda package here:
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