Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Vancouver City Council


Director of Current Planning


656-664 East Georgia Street - Designation and Heritage Revitalization Agreement





Council's Policy on heritage designation states, in part, that legal designation will be a prerequisite to granting certain bonuses and incentives.


This report seeks Council approval to designate and enter into a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) with the owner to secure the conservation and protection of the two 1892 houses at 656 - 664 East Georgia Street.


The site is location in Strathcona and zoned RT-3. It is comprised of two standard parcels totalling 15.24 x 37.19 m (50 x 122 ft.). The two houses were constructed in 1892-93 and are listed as part of an "A" Streetscape in the Strathcona/ Kawassa RT-3 Guidelines. The house at 664 East Georgia Street is also listed in the "B" category on the Vancouver HeritageRegister. Both houses will be rehabilitated as part of a heritage revitalization proposal under Development Application DE404907. The Director of Planning approved the application subject to conditions including Council approval of the requisite HRA and designation.


Heritage Value: The history of the two houses is tied to another similar building at 666 East Georgia Street. All three houses appear to have been constructed between 1892-1893 by owner James Boreland listed in early directories as both a longshoreman and plasterer. Constructed during the height of Vancouver's Victorian economic boom, they were built at a time when rental housing was in short supply. These homes incorporate typical vernacular design features such as decorative "fish-scale" shingles, bay windows, chamferred porch columns and scroll-cut brackets derived from the Victorian Queen Anne and Italinate styles. The heritage value of 656 East Georgia Street was compromised by its renovation in the 1930s and the removal of original design elements and the application of stucco. Its neighbour, 664 East Georgia Street, was not significantly altered and remains a good example of its type and is a Vancouver Heritage Register "B" category building. Both buildings contribute to the eclectic residential character of East Georgia Street and the Strathcona neighbourhood.

Revitalization Program: The owner proposes to rehabilitate the exteriors of the two houses, while sensitively introducing alterations to make them more livable (see elevation and plans in Appendix A). The "B" listed heritage house at 664 East Georgia Street will be moved slightly so it no longer encroaches onto the neighbouring property and will be added to for a total of three units. The second house will be retained as a single family dwelling and its street facade restored as per its original construction based upon as found information when the owner removes the stucco covering the original cladding. All original material on the street facades will be retained and restored or matched where missing or deteriorated beyond repair. The proposal also includes construction of a rear infill dwelling, a conditionally permitted use on this site.

Compatibility with Community Planning Objectives: The intent of the RT-3 District Schedule is to encourage the retention of neighbourhood and streetscape character, particularly through the retention, renovation and restoration of existing character buildings. By retaining, rehabilitating and protecting the two 1892 houses and constructing an infill as permitted under the zoning, Development Application DE404907 meets the intent of the zoning and guidelines.

Economic Viability: To make the rehabilitation of the two houses economically viable the owner has requested zoning variances including a floor space increase and a Development Cost Levy (DCL) By-law variance. The owner proposes to make all the units saleable strata lots and retain the house at 656 East Georgia Street for her family. The owner is prepared to enter into an HRA and designate the heritage house. She has agreed that the variances to the Zoning and Development By-law and DCL By-law represent fair and complete compensation in exchange for the designation of the property and has waived her right to further compensation.

The Manager of Real Estate Services analysed the project economics and determined that the trade-off between the requested additional floor area and additional heritage cost is fair and reasonable, and that after the additional heritage cost, the development profit is reasonable and not excessive.

Zoning and Parking Variances: The recommended HRA will vary provisions of the RT-3 District Schedule described in the table below. In addition, the HRA will vary the RT-3 District Schedule to make a number of "conditional" zoning provisions "outright". This is to provide assurance to the owners that they are entitled to repair and rebuild the approved development should it be damaged or destroyed in the future.




Infill Height

2½ - Storeys


East Side Yard

1.50m (4.92 ft)

0.15m (0.50 ft.)

West Side Yard

1.50m (4.92 ft.)

1.07m (3.50 ft.) (to trellis)

Floor Space Ratio - outright

0.60 (340.8m²) (3,668.1 sq.ft.)
[0.95 (539.5m²)(5,807.8 sq.ft.)]

1.05 (596.8m²)(6,424sq.ft.)

Site Coverage

Outright: 45%



5 stalls

3 stalls

Front Fence Height

1.22m (4.0 ft.)

1.6m (5.35 ft.)

Number of principal bldgs.

1 outright

3 outright

Living Acc. Max. Below Grade (East house)

1.50 m (4.92 ft.) max.
below grade

2.01m (6.6 ft.) below grade

The Parking By-law requires five parking stalls for the five units proposed, but has a relaxation provision for applications proposing to conserve a heritage building. Using this provision and following past practice the Director of Planning supports the two existing units continuing without on-site parking, but is requiring three new parking stalls for the three additional units.

DCL Variance: The recommended HRA will also vary the Vancouver DCL By-law to reduce the levy from $ 26.91 to $ 0.11 per m² ($2.50 to$ 0.01 per sq.ft.). The DCL is only being varied for the newly added floor space of approximately 264 m² (2,844 sq.ft.) as existing floor space is exempt. This variance represents an approximate saving of $7,800 for the owner to help off-set the cost of retaining and rehabilitating the 1892 structures.

Notification: As part of the Developer Application review process, a sign was placed on site and 58 surrounding property owners were notified. Five responses were received: three in support and two opposed due to concerns regarding the privacy and view impacts of the proposed infill structure. The massing and design of the infill was redesigned to mitigate these impacts.

Included in the responses is a letter of support from the Strathcona Residents Association. It feels the application meets the intent of the RT-3 zoning and design guidelines and the increased density requested will be achieved with minimal disruption to the streetscape. It also supports the requested height and parking relaxations.

The Director of Legal Services has prepared the necessary legal agreements and notification requirements, as specified in the Vancouver Charter, have been met.

Comments of the Vancouver Heritage Commission: On March 13, 2000 the Heritage Commission reviewed and supported the development application and zoning variances subject to the designation of the heritage structure.

- -


The two 1892 houses at 656 and 664 East Georgia Street are valuable components of the history of the area and merit conservation. Their retention is an objective of the RT-3 zoning and is supported by the Strathcona Residents Association and the Vancouver Heritage Commission. The requested zoning, floor space and DCL variances represent fair compensation to the owner for the conservation of there houses. Design changes were made in respect to neighbours' concerns. Therefore, staff recommend that Council support the requisite HRA and designate the heritage "B" house as Protected Heritage Property.

* * * * *



General Mgr./Dept. Head:


This report has been prepared in consultation with the departments listed to the right, and they concur with its contents

Report dated:

July 7, 2000


Gerry McGeough



Concurring Departments:

Legal Services ( Joe Stubbs)

Real Estate Services (Kolvane Yuh)


Q:\public\aHeritage\Projects\664 E Gerogia\report.wpd

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