Proposed Marpole redevelopment seeks new heights

City staff want council approval to consider rezoning application requesting heights above what's allowed in Marpole Community Plan

City staff want the OK from council to consider a rezoning application for a mixed-use development that would replace existing co-op units, and create additional social and market rental housing in Marpole, south of Marine Drive. The proposal is requesting building heights above what’s outlined in the Marpole Community Plan.

The staff recommendation will be dealt with at the Feb. 11 council meeting. It relates to a proposal from Ashley-Mar Housing Co-operative and Intracorp Homes, who’ve partnered on a project that envisions a three-tower redevelopment on the co-op’s site between Cambie and Ash Streets. Their proposal involves properties at 8460 Ash St. and 8495 Cambie St. south of Marine Drive. The land to the south of the proposed development site is all industrial.

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The plan is to replace Ashley-Mar’s existing 54 co-op townhomes, while adding another approximately 70 units of social housing, in a 14-storey non-market building. Two other towers are also proposed — one 24 and the other 27 storeys, which would house about 450 secured market rentals apartments, with the entire project producing a total of about 574 units. Some commercial space is included in the development. 

Read more about the project HERE.

City staff are recommending consideration of the rezoning application because it would create social housing and market rental units. The report notes “supportable height and density will be determined through an enhanced rezoning process, which will include robust public consultation, urban design and technical analyses as well as a public hearing.”

Staff also want council to direct staff to consider other rezoning enquiries in the Marine Drive Station Area for increased height over what’s outlined in the Marpole Community Plan to enable the creation of more social and rental housing.

Site context. The Asley-Mar site is outlined in red.
Site context. The Ashley-Mar site is outlined in red.

For the Ashley-Mar site, the Marpole Community Plan supports new development up to 12 storeys atop a four-storey podium. It also encourages a mix of commercial uses on the ground floor with office uses on the second floor for lots fronting Cambie Street.

The community plan also allows for consideration of modest increases in height and density on the Ashley-Mar, and other sites with existing social housing, in redevelopment proposals “to assist with project viability” if social housing is included.

The City of Vancouver has been encouraging the development of social and rental housing through its Housing Vancouver strategy.

“While the Marpole Plan does allow for consideration of modest height increases for the inclusion of social housing at this location beyond 12 storeys, the rezoning application submitted proposes building heights (at 14, 24, and 27 storeys) beyond what would be considered a ‘modest’ increase,” staff write in the Feb. 11 council report.

“Multiple options were explored during the enquiry stage, including the provision of on-site strata housing to assist with funding, but the applicants have indicated that a co-op renewal and expansion project is not economically viable without additional height increases, and/or significant government funding.”

Even though the Ashley-Mar project is seeking heights above what’s envisioned in the community plan, staff note that the taller heights are within the range of other recently completed developments in the adjacent three quadrants around Marine Drive station.

“Given the challenging factors cited [in the report], staff recognize that the application represents an opportunity to explore achieving multiple City housing priorities, including the renewal and expansion of social housing in close proximity to transit, shopping, and services,” the report explains.

“In addition, the provision of secured rental housing provides improved affordability compared to strata housing, and would help with meeting City targets in providing additional secured rental housing. The approximately 70 additional social housing units would expand the social housing supply and assist in achieving the City’s social and supportive housing targets.”

If council directs staff to receive and evaluate the Ashley Mar application and other rezoning enquiries, staff are also recommending that any future rezoning enquiries proposing change beyond what may be considered under existing planning policy be limited to sites in the Marpole Plan identified for social housing renewal and expansion.

noconnor@vancourier.com

 


 

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