Friday, February 24, 2017

CNV Coachhouses and Suites

At the top of the City of North Vancouver's newsletter this week was news that:
This week the North Vancouver City Council unanimously supported allowing both a secondary suite and a coach house on single family properties. Positive feedback from the community was immediate.
“It's extremely important that the City continues to address housing affordability through a variety of options such as allowing single family homes to potentially have two rental units," says Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
It's interesting that at a time when lots of people are worried about development and increased density, the CNV has decided to support a plan which could double or triple the number of occupants on a specific property.  One has to wonder about parking, and the increased demand for municipal services like water, sewer, and waste disposal.

Learn more about Council's Housing Action Plan.


Anonymous said...

Barry, you can wonder, but I'm sure if you called the planning desk or engineering at CNV you would get the answers to your questions. The City has a finite land area and this is an example of gentle density that gives people options for their property. Particularly those who want to age in place while help their children get a foothold on the property ladder. This is the sort of density we need, along with townhouses and duplexes to gradually replace single family dwellings and hopefully limit high rise development to specific areas. Now, we just need to get Translink serious about providing service that is frequent and reliable. Then, perhaps the question of parking and traffic will become moot. I'm all for getting parents out of their cars and letting their prescious spawn walk or bike to and from school. That alone would eliminate the daily 3pm rush that is completely unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

'gentle density'. I'nt that cute!! And the other kind of density is, I suppose, 'harsh' density? Maybe mostly UNWANTED density?

Oh pish. There I go again.
Why if we could only get those evil car drivers to pay more and more to finance more and more trains and buses why we TOO could have jobs jobs jobs like Tokyo. I mean, somebody has to jam us all into the trains before the doors slide shut.

As for me .. I'm thinking about turning my evil single family home into a Capsule residence and filling it up on AirBnB. I figure I could easily get 8 capsule beds into the basement and 6 more into the garage. Neighbours wont mind, I'm sure. It's gentle doncha know.

Just g**gle 'Capsule Hotel' if you're unconvinced.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:07, would you rather see homes with suites and coach houses or an increasing number of mid and high rises beyond the Lonsdale and Marine Drive spines? Does that help you understand gentle density? Also, nobody is actually saying you need to change your home from its current configuration. But wouldn't it be nice to add an income suite or two if you needed to? Don't want either, that's okay, don't add them. But why begrudge people the choice?

If you do your research, you'd know that car drivers don't pay their share and are heavily subsidized compared to other modes of transport. Just google "do car drivers pay their share" and you'll find lots of reading material. It's up to you to decide whether you want to absorb any of it. Want fewer cars on the road so that you can drive unimpeded? Then provide transit options that are frequent and reliable to provide options to people who might like to leave tha car at home. Sounds like something you might get behind. You know, if you want fewer people on your roads.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 5:07, would you rather see homes with suites and coach houses or an increasing number of mid and high rises beyond the Lonsdale and Marine Drive spines?"

I'm wondering what makes you think that one will prevent the other.
What do you think happens once all the suitable and coachable housing has been suited and coached?

I'm truly interested in your answer to that 6:20.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that if we see missing middle development scattered throughout the neighbourhoods beyond Lonsdale and Marine Drive spines, there will be an inclination to not allow mid- and High-rise towers from keeping into those areas. We don't need towers to achieve density. We do need better public transportation and alternative modes of transportation, though, to reduce pressure on our streets. And not for a minute do I believe that all single family homes will be suited or have coach houses built. These aren't being mandate by the city. It is entirely up to the home owner.

Anonymous said...

"to achieve density"

What if we don't want to achieve a higher density? What if I have heard all of the arguments and still would prefer to keep the North Shore relatively low density? Is that not allowed to be one of the options anymore?

Am I to be shamed for wanting to keep this gem of a place for fewer people?

Anonymous said...

Who's shaming? I thought this was a discussion on a blog. You're entitled to express what you want as much as anyone else, but I don't think your qualified to speak for everybody, so your use of "we" is noted and being highlighted. I'm sure there are those who want to see high-rises on every inch of land. I'm not one of them. I'm also not blind to the fact that people want to live here and that there is a problem with affordability. Some link that lack of affordability to lack of supply, while others profess other influences. I'm not an economist, so I'm not sure who is right. If we allow no further development, what happens? Me, it doesn't really impact me in the short term because I bought my place when real estate was relatively cheap. Even if there were a huge market correction, I think I'd still be ahead. But what will happen in the future as the current crop of owners age and can no longer live in their homes without assistance? Will our population dwindle? Probably, because no young people I know can afford to buy a single family home without it having an income suite and even then the majority of their earnings are going into their property (well beyond the recommended 35% of income). Also, the majority of the North Shore is still low density. Houses with suites and coach houses don't change that density, as the FSR remains the same regardless of the secondary accommodation being there or not. Is it for everyone? Nope. And that's okay.

Anonymous said...

I'm not opposed to coach house/laneway house, and am not opposed to secondary suites, as long as the parking is properly provided off street. Eventually though, this kind of 'gentle density' leads to neighborhoods where infrastructure has not been increased to meet the new populations. Towers, for all their troubles, typically bring enough cash to the table so transportation improvements are actually made. If we have duplexes, triplexes, and coach houses everywhere eventually we end up like W4th area of Vancouver with tons of people and a crappy quality of life (IMHO).

Also, when I use the term 'we' I am not suggesting a singular group, but rather a consensus as a community reflected in who we elect. Ask any of the candidates at an all-candidates meeting if they support a faster growth rate in future, or densifying single family neighborhoods, and you will see that they know what the community wants and are afraid to publicly advocate for higher density because they will be punished in the polls. They become more brave after the election.

Anonymous said...

Pro-density candidates have been elected in the City for quite some time, anon 3:06. So your "we" doesn't really jive with reality.

Barry Rueger said...

Eventually though, this kind of 'gentle density' leads to neighborhoods where infrastructure has not been increased to meet the new populations.

Exactly why this caught my eye. Already on-street parking in the City pits residents against visitors, or people working on Lonsdale who park several blocks away on side streets. Although adding coach houses or secondary suites is small stuff, I can see the battles coming when someone realizes that the houses on each side have tripled their occupants and parking needs.

One coach house in a block really won't have much impact, but if there are three or four on every block - not an unrealistic idea given property prices - it could prove unmanageable.

Ultimately it brings us all back to the endless question: who do we want living on the North Shore, and what do we need to do to make that possible?

Anonymous said...

Paid, permit parking will solve that problem. Homeowners don't own the street in from of their homes and claiming ownership of the parking is an example of entitlement. Understandable, since they've never had to pay for it in the past, but I see no reason why that couldn't change. If the permit parking fees are a burden, then the homeowners can clean out their garage and driveway and park on their own property where parking spaces are required and provided. Got more than one car per household? Well, then pay to park on the street, don't expect City residents to subsidize you for free street parking. Commuting? Park on business owned parking or pay lots, not on residential streets. Or, take transit to work. Again, why should City residents subsidize commuter parking? Maybe we'd then see real pressure on Translink to give us proper transit infrastructure on the North Shore to take the burden off our streets.

Barry Rueger said...

, then the homeowners can clean out their garage and driveway and park

Nope, the garage has been converted into a coach house. There's no streetside driveway, just an alleyway backyard that's now a patio for the coach house.

Anonymous said...

The new proposal still requires 2 off street parking spots. But let's continue to focus on free parking on our streets, rather than effective transportation options that would make our compact city more livable.

Anonymous said...

And for all the people who don't build a coach house and/or suite, let them clean out their garages and store their cars on their own property or pay for the privilege of storing their cars on public property. Why are we subsidizing free storage for residents and businesses? All that space could be put to better use.

Anonymous said...

I support charging for overnight street parking for several reasons...

1) Raises revenue which could be applied to Transit improvements.
2) Gives a registered point of contact for most cars in the municipality
3) Registration gives an email address where people can be warned of snow removal timing in a specific area and other road works.
4) It gets rid of clutter where driveways could be used.
5) It stops landlords from pushing tenants onto the street
6) It deals with the fairness issue for people who do not have a car, or who use their own private property to store their vehicle
7) It will give you more flexibility around high traffic areas such as schools

Anonymous said...

As long as residents are responsible to clear snow off of the municipality's property then parking for residents and their guests should remain free for the resident. The free maintenance for free parking is a reasonable quid pro quo.

Anonymous said...

1. It certainly does raise revenue, But excuse me if I beg to differ. I already pay 17c plus per litre to NOT park my car, more in my municipally collected transit levy, electic transit levy, etc. so amping up the war on cars and drivers further is not supportable by me.

2. ICBC ( remember ... your legislated, no choice but ICBC third party auto insurance company... already has a point of contact for ALL cars in use in the community.

3. Snow removal ? Oh please. Read Anon 10:02,

4. I don't consider cars clutter unless parked side by side in a driveway behind 2 others.

5. It raises the rents on tenants by precisely the amount of the parking charge.

6. Nothing unfair about it especially if you don't have a car since you don't use the space anyway unless maybe you were thinking you should open a lemonade stand out front.

7. More flexibility? to do what? give out more parking tickets? How does parking a car in a space for free in front of your heavily taxed property differ from parking your same car in your same but MORE heavily taxed property re 'flexible'??

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02AM, your logic might hold if you park on the sidewalk. The municipality is responsible for clearing roads. And don't get me started on the number of homeowners who DO NOT clear their sidewalks of snow and ice.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:02pm

1. I don't think any taxes you pay at the pump actually go into road infrastructure in municipalities. Those are paid by property taxes which everyone pays. Home owner, renter, car owner, non-car owner alike. Car drivers are heavily subsidized for their use of roads and highways. That is, they don't pay their share of the costs.

2. Paid parking would come with the benefit of a window decal making it easy to tow those who haven't paid their parking fee. Simple and fair.

3. You park on the sidewalks, too? Or are you one of those people who doesn't shovel his walk?

4. Plenty of homes with multiple cars for personal use and business park for free on our streets. Quite a few in poor shape and unsightly. All add to clutter. Especially with company logos and graffiti splashed on the sides.

5. Tenants with cars pay for parking just like everyone else. How is that unfair? Don't have a car, you don't pay for parking. Simple.

6. Fair is paying for what you use on public land. Don't want to pay, park on your own property. That's fair. Why not use the freed up space for better uses, like lemonade stands, treed landscape buffers, wider sidewalks, more pleasant environment?

7. See 6. Parking for free occupies PUBLIC space that might be used for better things that can be enjoyed by everyone. Park you car on your property and stop asking everyone else to subsidize free car storage for your personal and business vehicles. Let that land be used for better things that benefit the public and keep your car on your own property or pay a fee to use public property for its storage. Simple and fair to everybody.

Anonymous said...

I am the 9:57am in favour...

To rebut some of the responses...

1) Gas Tax does not go to the Municipality.

2) ICBC does not have the email addresses of vehicle owners, and would not hand over the info for those purposes. Road clearing would be so much cheaper if we could just get the cars all moved on to one side of the road one day and the other the next, but coordinating it without mass communication tools is impossible.

3) It is an avoidable tax, simply park on your own property where you have been required to provide off street parking since the 60's. See, that was easy. I pay the same gas tax as you, but I have no parking on block, so I must use my own property to store my cars, why should you get free parking?

4) To get a legal suite home owners are required by law to prove that they have an additional off-street parking space set aside, but since the District has no idea whose car is whose, they cannot police cheating landlords. Now they can. It is time to stop landlords from screwing over their neighbors and their tenants.

5) Cars on the street are clutter. They hurt visibility, make it hard to see pets and children near the driving area, they leak oil into our fish bearing streams, and attract smash and grab pests.

6) Flexibility, when you see that you really don't need as much street parking you can move it all to one side of the road and make safer bike routes, make narrower pedestrian crossings on school routes, make it easier to cars to pass on narrow roads.

7) And I can't stress this enough, it is an entirely avoidable tax!! Just don't park on the street overnight. You can use the revenue to reduce a more punitive tax like a water shut off fee that you are charged when you have a flood, or the block party highway closing fee when you get together with your neighbors, or the pool fee, or whatever fee that annoys you. The purpose isn't to raise revenue, but when it does you can do some good with it or at least, less bad.

The amount of the fee/tax should be enough that people think twice about adding an overnight street parking pass. I would float it at $30 a month to start a conversation, but it shouldn't be so cheap that it is widely used, or too expensive that it would be too much of a burden. Guests in town? Buy a three day pass for 5 bucks just like a garbage bag sticker.

The point is, if you need to use the space there should be an option, but the norm should be using your own private property to store your own private property.

Anonymous said...

I am also annoyed by the apartment buildings that have half empty parking garages while their neighborhood is packed with cars. Why does it happen? Because the apartment building has 1.2 to 1.6 stalls per unit, but it charges a monthly rent for the second stall. So you have an insane situation where expensive parking stalls are built and paid for by the first owners and then they aren't used because the stratas like revenue and don't mind pushing the busyness out onto the public street. That is nuts. Street parking around multifamily should be daytime only.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:36pm, it's a bit of a catch-22. If the apartment owner includes parking in the rental fee of the apartment, it's unfair to tenants who don't have a car. They pay for parking without needing it. On the other hand, if the the cost of parking is in addition to rent and there is free street parking, the tenant with a car (or cars) will opt for the cheapest alternative and use the free street parking. This is why charging for street parking is the answer, especially if it matches the cost of parking in the apartment building. If I had the option of parking my car indoors for the same price as parking on the street, I'd opt for the underground parking in the building I live in.

Anonymous said...

I have no interest in micro-managing, you need to produce a District-wide policy, but in an ideal world, the multi-family project couldn't apply for overnight parking until they demonstrate that their garage is full. I lived in an apartment building where there was a parking ratio of 1.6, and the street parking was restricted. It worked great, everyone used the underground and when the strata management company tried to raise the additional parking fee all of the owners voted it down. A couple of vehicles were too tall for the underground and the District gave them an exemption for street parking.

Barry Rueger said...

I have just been asked if I oppose coach houses and secondary suites.

Not at all, but I do think that the City is opening up a can of worms that will likely see property owners who want to add density battling against neighbours who don't.

And I will be very interested to see if the City has the stomach to introduce permit parking.

Anonymous said...

Barry, I don't believe the new zoning for coach houses and suites requires any public hearing. Theyve made the right decision on this. We need the additional housing and since the government isn't providing PB rental housing, perhaps home owners will. The city of Vancouver is now taking it a step further and suggesting that coach houses can be stratified. We're out of land folks and the SFH is on the way out.

Anonymous said...

Is it a change to density or use in a zone? Yes it requires a public hearing. If the city is adding residents without adding jobs, they are the problem.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:13 am, how many people who live in the CNV work in the CNV? Has working here ever been a prerequisite to living here? Not that I know of, so not sure why you're placing that caveat on residency.
My understand is that all RS-1 properties have now had their zoning changed to allow both a suite and a coach house in addition to the primary residence. No public hearing would be required unless the property is non-conforming. There is no change in use or density. GFA and FSR is still the same and Lot coverage is the same (30% for primary residence and 40% for primary and coach house combined). The only change is the potential number of units from one to three.

Hazen Colbert said...

Since when has a public hearing EVER mattered in a decision by a municipal council on the North Shore.

In the DNV they do a straw vote when the expression of interest comes in. That saves them from having to read all those annoying documents from staff, the proponent etc. and skip over the emails and letters from residents. They would skip the hearing as well, but they get a free dinner beforehand.

The entire process is a complete sham.

Anonymous said...

"not sure why you're placing that caveat on residency."

I'm not. If the region (not just CNV) only increases housing without increasing jobs, then 100% of the increase will be commuting public. However, if they increase the density of employment zones, or add mixed use properties, then eventually, over-time, people will tend to live where they work and work where they live, not 100%, but it helps. As of late, the CNV has decided to become a bedroom community like the west side of Vancouver. They have neglected their industrial lands and only added a minor amount of retail commercial. When is the next office building planned? Its not, even though the office space along Esplanade has been the best thing for local restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Without addressing affordability, you can provide all the jobs you like but if the workers can't afford to live in the community they work in you're not really solving anything. How many of those restaurant workers and other service industry workers are able to afford to live on the Shore?

Anonymous said...

That's why it is so important to build office space in the lower lonsdale area. Restaurants do have a variety of wage classifications up to the owners, and not every individual living in North Van needs to independently make enough to live here, but Office space will better serve our already professionally trained residents and make them more likely to move their insurance agency, architect office, engineering firm, etc. to the North Shore.

You can't swing a cat in north van without hitting an engineer. What can our community planning do to attract their firms to move here? Do they need to be downtown?

Anonymous said...

That might be fine if a business doesn't need their clients to have easy access to their office. Bridge closures and traffic snarls would make it difficult for clients to plan to attend meetings at their North Shore consultants office. This is why you'll see so many architects and other service professionals located downtown or within Vancouver proper. It's more central to the majority of their clients. Solve the traffic problem and you might see more offices move here.

Anonymous said...

Having an office downtown is an esteem thing. If it were truly about convenience for clients they would be located at Highway 1 and Willingdon.

Anonymous said...

We USED TO have engineering offices in the City of North Vancouver.
I attended meetings a couple of them who were forest industry design and building consulting engineers.

They moved out for reasons unknown but it wasn't to chase an 'esteem thing' downtown.
Engineering is a 'reputation and can do thing' not an 'esteem thing'.

Hiring consulting engineers, I found that Langley, Annacis Island, Delta and North Vancouver were all on my list of the locations of meetings to invite tender but that was in late 1990s. Still, I was never much concerned about the location for most times the consultants would come to see us rather than the other way.

I also attended meetings at a very successful consulting engineering offices in Arkansas where the engineers occupied 'esteemed' horse stalls. ( minus the horses of course). The office had moved out of the much bigger city of Little Rock and set up in the country a ways outside of Hot Springs.
They did that for a number of reasons, one main one being that the state had started mandatory bussing of black and white school kids to other schools to mix them together. The company knew it could attract some of the engineering talent unhappy with what was happening to their children.

This little anecdote just illustrates that key drivers of a move might not be the obvious ones. It also points out that you do have to pay attention to what your hires want in life and maybe a bridge commute isn't one of them.

I'd be surprised if the bulk of lower mainland engineering offices are located in downtown Vancouver today.

Anonymous said...

No need to wonder. Just go on google maps and type engineer and you will see they are overwhelmingly downtown.

But no need to be fixated on Engineers, they were just an example. Lawyers, Architects, Accountants, all manner of professionals live on the North Shore and work downtown. They should be the easiest ones to attract here because who doesn't want to cut out a commute. Office space with a view in Lower Lonsdale should be able to poach businesses with lots of North Shore professionals.