Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Standing Committee of Planning and Environment


Subdivision Approving Officer


Proposed Amendment to Subdivision By-law No. 5208 -
Site Reclassification of Six Properties at 1720 to 1774 East 56th Avenue





Council Policy regarding amendments to the subdivision categories in the RS-1, RS-1S, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5, RS-5S and RS-6 Zoning Districts is reflected in the Manager's Report as approved by Council on October 28, 1987. As well as establishing seven parcel size categories for subdivision in the RS-1 District, the report provided for possible future changes in the categories in cases where property owners seek to classify their parcel category either up or down, to facilitate or prevent subdivision.


This report addresses a proposal to reclassify six properties on the south side of the 1700-block of East 56th Avenue from Category `B' to Category `A' for the purpose of subdivision in accordance with the minimum parcel size requirements of Schedule A, Table 1, of the Subdivision By-law.


On January 19, 1988, Council enacted an amended Schedule A to the Subdivision By-law by introducing seven categories of minimum parcel width and area to govern the subdivision of lands zoned RS-1. Subsequently, lands zoned RS-1S, RS-3, RS-3A, RS-5, RS-5S and RS-6 have been included as well. All lands in these zoning districts are classified on a block-by-block basis, as shown on 279 sectional maps which are on file with the City Clerk and which form part of Schedule A.

As shown in Appendix A, the six parcels which are the subject of this reclassification request are classified as Category `B', which prescribes a minimum width of 12.192 m (40.00 ft.) and a minimum area of 344.451 m² (3,600.00 sq. ft.) for each parcel created by subdivision. With the exception of the two properties immediately to the west of the six subject parcels, and the half-block to the southwest which fronts onto East 57th Avenue, all the properties in the immediate vicinity are classified as Category `B'.

Apart from Lot 7 at the east end of the block, which may have potential for subdivision under the discretionary provisions of the Subdivision By-law based on its unusual size and configuration, none of the subject properties have subdivision potential, either individually, or in combination with an adjoining parcel, under the current Category `B' standards.

Lots A and B, immediately to the west, were the subject of a successful reclassification (Category `B' to Category `A') application in 1997. Category `A' prescribes a minimum width of 9.144 m (30.00 ft.) and a minimum area of 278.709 m² (3,000.00 sq. ft.) for each parcel created by subdivision.

This application for reclassification has been submitted by an agent acting on behalf of all but one of the owners of the subject parcels. Despite their opposition to the application, that parcel has been included in the application for consideration, in order to provide consistency throughout the blockface if the reclassification is approved. Even if this application is approved, however, there is no obligation for that owner to pursue subdivision.


Twenty-one property owners in the immediate area, including the owners of the six subject parcels, were notified in writing of this reclassification request. Thirteen owners responded with the following results:


* Includes four of the six property owners whose lands are included in this application.
** Includes one of the property owners whose lands are included in this application.

Of the nine respondents who supported the reclassification, only one offered comments, stating that the reclassification, followed by subdivision and redevelopment, has the potential to improve the neighbourhood. The four respondents who opposed the application felt that the reclassification and resulting subdivisions would detrimentally affect the value of their properties by increasing density, worsening traffic flow in the area, and adding to existing parking problems. A map showing the location of the respondents is available for Council to review.


If approved, this reclassification will allow for consideration of subdivision proposals to create parcels no less than 9.144 (30.00 ft.) in width and 278.709 m² (3,000.00 sq. ft.) in area. If all owners in the blockface decided to pursue subdivision in conjunction with adjoining parcels, over time, the subdivision pattern illustrated in Appendix B could result. Because of the unusual configuration of Lot 7, it is difficult to predict with accuracy the exact potential subdivision pattern. Further, given the opposition of one of the owners to this reclassification application, the ultimate subdivision configuration illustrated in Appendix B would not likely be achieved for some time, if ever.

When approval was granted for the reclassification of the large parcel at the west end of the subject block (now Lots A and B) in 1997, it was not intended that the reclassification or subsequent subdivision of that site establish a precedent with regard to the remainder of the blockface. The rationale for supporting the reclassification of that parcel was largely based on the fact that it was the largest remaining parcel in the blockface, being more than 28% greater in width than the other properties, with the exception of Lot 7. In addition, that parcel could have qualified for subdivision, with a discretionary relaxation under Section 9of the Subdivision By-law, had it been only 0.305 m (1.00 ft.) wider. In view of this, staff felt it was reasonable to support that application for reclassification, and Council approval was granted on June 3, 1997.

With the exception of Lot 7, the remaining parcels in the subject block all maintain a uniform width of 13.700 m (45.00 ft.), which, while exceeding the minimum width requirement prescribed under Category `B', is consistent with the predominate subdivision pattern in this neighbourhood. Category `B' was assigned to these blocks to ensure that there would not be subsequent subdivision which would be inconsistent with the existing, predominant subdivision pattern. The reclassification of the subject parcels, and ensuing potential subdivisions into smaller lots could significantly alter the established streetscape.


Category `B' was selected for this block to reflect the existing pattern of predominantly larger parcels in the subject block and in the surrounding blocks in this neighbourhood. Based on the established pattern of subdivision, and in view of the mixed support/opposition from both neighbouring property owners and those within the subject block, there is no convincing rationale for changing the category of these parcels.

On that basis, the Subdivision Approving Officer recommends refusal of this reclassification application.

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