Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Date: October 23, 1998


Author/Local: RWhitlock/7814


LU&D No. 98007


RTS. 196


CC File No. 5307

TO: Vancouver City Council

FROM: Director of Central Area Planning on behalf of Land Use and Development

SUBJECT: CD-1 Rezoning - 333 East Pender Street





Zoning and Development By-law No. 3575 defines congregate housing as follows:

"Special Needs Residential Facility - Congregate Housing, which means any facility that provides residential units for six or more persons aged fifty-five years or over who are not a family, where shared separate kitchen and dining areas are provided and where accommodation for a resident housekeeper may be provided".

On May 8, 1989, Council approved the following community development objectives as the basis of the City's social housing policy:

· Maintain and expand housing opportunities in Vancouver for low and moderate income households, with priority being given to Downtown lodging-house residents, elderly people on fixed and limited incomes, the physically and mentally disabled, and single-parent families with children.

· Encourage the distribution of acceptable housing forms and affordable shelter costs equally among all residential neighbourhoods of Vancouver.


This report assesses an application to rezone three RT-3 Two-family Dwelling District parcels to CD-1 Comprehensive Development District for the purpose of constructing 68 congregate housing units.

While staff support the concept of congregate housing, as it can fill a gap between independent housing and multi-level care, no standards presently exist for staff evaluation of specific proposals.

Issues facing staff with this application are as follows:

1. the inclusion of single occupancy congregate units at 15.3 m² (165 sq. ft.), resulting in difficult layouts, especially regarding disabled mobility, and in some cases,unusable floor area;
2. lounge areas on each floor are only modestly wider than the corridors leading to them;
3. communal areas are insufficient; and
4. the restricted site area will not provide for on-grade open space for tenants; roof-top decks are not preferred without extraordinary measures to deal with the safety problems they represent for seniors.

Significant concerns have been raised about the proposed unit sizes, both by staff and community groups. Staff believe that the proposed unit sizes are too small:

· congregate housing is generally occupied by seniors over the age of 75, who are likely to be in their room a greater period of time than individuals of a younger age, plus there may be the need for in-home assistance periodically;
· the accommodation of personal furnishings will not be possible with extra small suites; and
· there is little or no flexibility to provide for aging in place.

Based on site visits to local and regional facilities, staff have formulated preliminary criteria for congregate housing, which still require further research and analysis, as well as consultation and discussion with seniors groups, and development and design professionals working in this area. However, rather than hold up this application, the Director of Central Area Planning on behalf of Land Use and Development recommends that the application be referred to Public Hearing and that the application be approved, subject to an increase in unit sizes for single occupancy (options are presented for Council's consideration at the Public Hearing), significant internal layout redesign and improvements to common amenity spaces.

Figure 1


Use: Classified as a SNRF (Special Needs Residential Facility), congregate housing fills a significant gap in providing housing for seniors who wish to vacate a house or are lonely and tired of preparing their meals, but who do not yet require multi-level care. The use involves the provision of housing with communal meal service, sometimes complemented by on-site laundry and light housekeeping services. In addition, homemakers and health care services may be provided by outside agencies one or more days a week as required. Unlike licensed care facilities, no medical staff are available on-site. Consequently, this housing is not licensed or regulated nor is there presently any public financial assistance provided. A more detailed background on congregate housing is contained in Appendix C.

Density: Support has existed in Strathcona for density increases in the 300 and 400 block East Pender Street in return for an architectural form of development consistent with the residential neighbourhood east of Gore Avenue. This approach is seen as a means of more clearly demarcating the boundary between Chinatown and Strathcona. Two rezonings have been approved by Council on this basis:

1. 375 East Pender Street (existing seniors' care facility owned and operated by the same applicant); and

2. 430 Dunlevy Street.

The proposed density of 2.54 FSR in itself is not seen as problematic with this project, except when associated with the significant number of units at such a small size and that no on-grade amenity space will be possible. The Urban Design Panel has voted unanimously against the project on two occasions because it was not convinced that the site could withstand the high number of small units.

The Housing Centre's position is that the large number of small units is necessary to ensure financial viability in the absence of government subsidy, and that the provision of outdoor amenity space does not have to be at grade in order to satisfy the needs of project residents. In this context, outdoor balconies off of the social lounges to be provided on each floor would be an appropriate alternative.

Unit Size: The current application proposes 20 small "micro" units at 15.3 m² (165 sq. ft.). The term "micro" unit is used in the "Housing Plan for the Downtown Eastside, Chinatown, Gastown Strathcona" [Draft for Discussion], dated July 1998. However, the aforementioned "Housing Plan" suggests that the smallest of SRO-replacement micro-suites be between 16.7 to 25.5 m² (180 to 274 sq. ft.) in size. Staff believe that congregate seniors units, whether defined as housekeeping or sleeping units, will need more space than a micro-suite created for the general population. Therefore it is recommended that units at 15.3 m² (165 sq. ft.) not be approved.
Forty-one (41) units are proposed at 21.1 m² (227 sq. ft.). This is an improvement over the smaller micro units; however, opinions differ widely among City and Health Board staff as to the appropriateness of these units:

· The Housing Centre supports the development of seniors congregate housing in the Downtown East because it provides a range of housing choices for seniors living there.

· Social Planning and the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board's central concern with very small units (anything under 23.2 m [250 sq. ft]) as well as with inadequate amenity space and poor design of either amenity space or units, is that the physical environment will work against the essential purpose of a congregate housing project for seniors, which is to help the senior remain independent and delay as long as possible the need to move to facility care.

Seven (7) double occupancy units are proposed, at 30.7 m² (330 sq. ft.). The Housing Centre supports this proposal. Social Planning and Health Board staff recommend a double occupancy standard of 42.0 m² (452 sq. ft.) in a one-bedroom configuration, with no relaxation.

Affordability: The applicant indicates that units will be rented at the rate of $1200 a month for a single occupant congregate unit. Staff are generally in agreement that minimal standards should only apply where accommodation is being provided for low and moderate income seniors. Those who would qualify for SAFER assistance may have incomes up to $1,695 per month for singles and $1,865 for couples. Low income seniors may exist on less than $1,000 of income a month.

As this project is intended to provide affordable congregate housing, staff recommend that a Housing Agreement be sought, where 50% of occupants must be in receipt of SAFER assistance.

On-grade Open Space: Roof gardens are generally not preferred because of fear of heights and dementia levels in seniors. The proposed density in conjunction with a very small site (only 22.9 m [75 ft.] in width) makes the provision of on-grade open amenity space impossible. If the project proceeds, design of any roof deck space will require special attention at the development application stage. Setbacks, planters and plexiglass barriers may provide adequate safety and security. A condition to this effect is recommended.

Unit Design: Floor plans for some interior corner units show narrow and unusable areas. This should be eliminated at the detail design stage to ensure that all square footage is well utilized. A condition is recommended requiring thorough detailed design of unit layouts with the development application.

Amenity Space: A tour of existing congregate facilities indicates that supplementary amenity spaces are critical to the operation of these facilities, for dining, for socializing, for activities. Dining areas are generally permanently set up for that purpose, requiring separate spaces for activities, TV watching, etc. Separate and adequate lounge spaces are required on every floor.

The current proposal provides a small dining room and a separate activity room, neither of which would meet the proposed standards. Lounge areas on each floor are barely wider than the corridor leading to them. A condition is provided to ensure adequate amenity space.

Form: (Note Plans: Appendix D) The architectural treatment is seen to be appropriate with further design work to refine the scheme needed at the development application stage. This is recommended as a condition.

Parking: Engineering staff have reviewed parking standards and will be recommending, as part of a future issues report on congregate housing, a reduction of the current standard of one space for every 70.0 m² (753 sq. ft.). This existing requirement is high, considering other projects in the area. The proposed standard for this proposal is one parking space for every five units.


The Housing Centre, Planning, Social Planning, and Health Board staff conclude that the overall form of development and density is acceptable, but serious concerns exist with respect to the unit sizes, which are seen to be too small, and with the amount and design of the amenity space. The Urban Design Panel and the Special Committee of Council on Seniors have recommended that the application be rejected with the unit size and number of units proposed.

The Director of Central Area Planning notes the significant difference in the recommended suite sizes between the Housing Centre on one hand and Social Planning and Health on the other. The Director believes that Council should review the merits of each position at the Public Hearing and choose a suite size based on a balance between livability and affordability, noting that staff are also recommending increased communal amenity spaces for seniors.

The Director of Central Area Planning on behalf of Land Use and Development, recommends that the application be referred to Public Hearing and approved, subject to revised plans being submitted at the development application stage, to provide for increased higher standard minimum unit-size (two options are presented for Council's consideration), improved interior layouts and communal space needs outlined in this report.

* * * * *



APPENDIX A - Draft CD-1 By-law Provisions


Use · Special Needs Residential Facility - Congregate Housing.

Conditions · Single and double occupancy congregate units, with the following
of Use: minimum standards:

Density · Maximum floor space ratio of 2.54.

Height · A maximum of 15.0 m (49.2 ft.) and four storeys.

Setbacks · A minimum setback of 0.72 m (2.5 ft.) from each side property line.

Parking · Per Parking By-law, except that a minimum of 15 parking spaces, be provided, plus one disability space.

Acoustics · Per RM-4N District Schedule.


(a) THAT the proposed form of development be approved by Council in principle, generally as prepared by Robert Isaac-Renton, Architect, and stamped "Received City Planning Department, August 6, 1998", provided that the Director of Planning or Development Permit Board may allow alterations to this form of development when approving the detailed scheme of development as outlined in (b) below.

(b) THAT, prior to approval by Council of the form of development, the applicant shall obtain approval of a development application by the Director of Planning or Development Permit Board who shall have particular regard to the following:

(c) THAT, prior to enactment of the CD-1 By-law, the registered owner shall:

Page 1 of 3

BACKGROUND - Congregate Housing

Recent Inquiries: Congregate housing is a type and form with which the City has had little experience as there are few projects existing in the City (such as Abbeyfield House, Arbutus Manor, Crofton Manor, Southview Terrace). Rental costs range from highs of $3,500 to $5,000 for some units in Crofton to $1,250 for most units in Chalmers Lodge and a few in Southview Terrace and $1,150 to $1,250 for most units in the City-owned Abbeyfield. All projects except for Arbutus and Crofton are run by non-profit societies. The age of the projects, unit sizes, amenities and other features vary considerably.

Rezoning staff have recently received numerous inquiries pertaining to congregate housing. The City has no established guidelines for unit sizes, amenity space requirements, parking, and electric cart requirements, as only a general use definition is contained in the Zoning and Development By-law. Staff believe that there will be increasing demand for this type of housing as Provincial funding priorities move towards intermediate and intensive care. It is expected that congregate housing will serve to bridge a significant gap between independent living in a home or an apartment, and multi-level care.

Definition: The classification as a Special Needs Residential Facility [SNRF] in the Zoning By-law is questionable. Congregate housing does not involve a degree of "care" that is provided in most SNRFs and consequently is not licensed or regulated under the Community Care Act or other legislation. A future consideration may be amendment of the definition to eliminate the SNRF classification and a more accurate definition of the use.

Discussion with Health Board staff and site visits to existing projects indicate that congregate housing generally serves seniors over 75 years of age, as seniors desire to remain in independent living situations as long as possible. The age group over 75 experiences greater infirmity and it is anticipated that aging-in-place should be a requirement for this type of housing. With frailty, bones are more easily broken so there must be better accessibility to all units as residents experience declining health and mobility, and a greater reliance on assistance such as walkers, wheelchairs and electric carts. Staff believe that housing for this age group should provide for a variety of living requirements.

Congregate Housing Standards: With the exception of this application and the recently constructed Southview Terrace, enquiries about congregate housing have been from private for-profit applicants and presumably would be in the middle if not higher end of the earlier noted price ranges. The market focus of these proposals has meant that minimum unit sizes has not been an issue.

Page 2 of 3

This rezoning has specifically raised the issue of the need for minimal standards, in order to ensure livability of each residential unit and to ensure the adequacy of communal spaces for groups and individuals. This will be particularly important where smaller residential units are proposed. As well, Housing Centre staff wish to ensure that an alternate relaxable standard is established wherein increased affordability can enter into the consideration.

Minimum Suite Size: The revised proposal indicates 20 suites of 15.33 m² (165 sq. ft.), 41 units 19.5 to 20.9 m² (210 to 225 sq. ft.) for occupancy by a single senior, and seven 31.12 m² (335 sq. ft.) for double occupancy. In the smallest units, the applicant has indicated the intent to provide built-in furnishings, such as hide-a-beds or "Murphy" wall-beds, which provide for the bed to be brought out at night and stored during the day.

Staff believe that stowaway beds and built-in systems are inappropriate for seniors who very often want to bring with them personal furniture, such as dressers, side-tables, etc. The unit should be able to accommodate such personal effects. Further, hide-a-beds are extremely difficult for seniors to handle. With increasing frailty, occupants may often require the assistance of nurses or cleaning assistants, and there must be room for at least two people in the unit at the same time. Furthermore, washrooms need to be "wheelchair" friendly (not necessarily "fully accessible").

The following unit-size standards are felt appropriate for congregate housing units:

1. Single occupancy congregate unit: Minimum 25.0 m² (269 sq. ft.)*; and

2. Double occupancy congregate unit: 42.0 m² (452 sq. ft.) and a minimum one-bedroom configuration.

Communal Space: At least two communal spaces are felt to be needed. The first is an adequate communal dining room to allow a minimum seating of two-thirds of the occupants at one sitting. Preferably, the space should allow for all occupants to be seated at once, but this need not be a requirement. As experience shows, the dining area needs to be permanently set up with tables and chairs so a second multi-purpose space of comparable size is felt appropriate. This space may be separated with dividers.

Adequate lounge space on each floor to seat all occupants of the floor is also felt important for interaction between residents and visitors.

Page 3 of 3

Suitable amenity space was seen as important to both the physical and mental health of residents of congregate housing. Experience indicates that at-grade open space is needed, and that roof top decks, unless very specifically designed, are inappropriate, both from a "fear of heights" prospect and that accessible roof areas provide suicide opportunities. Health Board officials note that a percentage of this age group suffer from dementia and the possibility of suicide is a reality.

Staff believe that the following minimum standards for communal areas should generally be applied:

1. Communal dining area: Number of beds x 2/3rds x 2.0 m² (21.5 sq. ft.);
2. Equivalent size multi-purpose room;
3. One lounge area per residential floor: 1.4 m² x number of beds per floor; and
4. At-grade outdoor amenity space: 1.0 m² x total number of beds*.



Site, Surrounding Zoning and Development: This 0.08 ha (0.20 ac.) site is comprised of three parcels on the north side of East Pender Street. The site has a frontage of 22.86 m (75 ft.) and a depth varying between 35.0 to 37.2 m (115 to 122 ft.). The site is presently used for pay-parking purposes.

To the west of the site are three existing single family dwellings of original housing stock in Strathcona. The buildings are not listed on the heritage registry as they have been significantly altered over time. East of the site is a two-storey building housing a Chinese association.

Form of Development Plans: The initial rezoning application was submitted February 25, 1998, requesting 85 units in total and featuring single occupancy congregate units between 13.9 to 14.86 m² (150 to 160 sq. ft.) and double occupancy units between 16.72 to 17.65 m² (180 to 190 sq. ft.).

The plan was revised at the end of April, in response to staff and Urban Design Panel comments, with the overall FSR reduced from 2.67 to 2.54 FSR, and the number of units reduced to 82 in total. The plan still featured "micro-"sized units.

On August 6, 1998, staff received a letter and revisions to the rezoning, proposing 20 units at 15.3 m² (165 sq. ft.), 41 units at 19.5 to 20.9 m² (210 to 225 sq. ft.) and 7 double-occupancy units at 31.12 m² (335 sq. ft.). The following table summarizes the three submissions.

Table 1


February 25, 1998 submission

April 29, 1998 submission

August 6, 1998 submission

Floor Space Ratio




Micro single occupancy congregate units

56 units
13.9 to 14.86 m²
(150 and 160 sq. ft.)

Breakdown not specified, unit sizes same as previous

20 units
15.3 m²
(165 sq. ft.)

Single occupancy congregate units



41 units
19.5 to 20.9 m²
(210 to 225 sq. ft.)

Double occupancy congregate units

29 units
16.72 to 17.65 m² (180 and 190 sq. ft.).

Breakdown not specified, unit sizes same as previous

7 units
31.12 m²
(335 sq. ft.)

Total Number

85 units

82 units

68 units


Public Input: Notification letters were sent to 234 nearby property owners on April 8, 1998 and a rezoning information sign was posted on the site on March 23, 1998. Several phone calls were received from residents, expressing concerns about the inadequacy of suite sizes.

Comments of the City Engineer: The City Engineer has no objection to the proposed rezoning, provided that the applicant complies with conditions as shown in Appendix B.

Special Advisory Committee on Seniors: The following is an extract from the regular meeting of the Committee held on April 3, 1998:

"(a) Housing Committee

Comments of Manager of the Housing Centre: The Housing Centre supports unit sizes for single-occupancy of at least 21.0 m² (226 sq. ft.). This would provide a bed-sitting room of 16.5 m² (178 sq. ft.) plus a wheelchair-friendly bathroom of 4.5 m² (48 sq. ft.). In conjunction with a social lounge on each floor of at least 1.4 m² (15 sq. ft.) pr unit, as proposed in the Draft CD-1 By-law Provisions (Appendix A), this unit size is livable. With 15 units per floor, which is close to what this project is likely to achieve, a social lounge of 21.0 m² (226 sq. ft.) would be provided on each floor. Forty-one (41) of the total 61 single-occupancy units proposed in this application are 21.1 m² (227 sq. ft.) and, therefore, meet this standard. The remaining 20 single-occupancy units of 15.3 m² (165 sq. ft.) are significantly below this minimum and should be redesigned.

A self-contained bed-sitting room of 21.0 m² (226 sq. ft.) is about as small a unit as would work for single seniors and may be too small for some. The Housing Centre supports this small single-occupancy unit because it lowers per unit building costs while at the same time increasing operating economies of scale. Both these factors could reduce housing costs for low-income seniors living in the area.

To ensure that the applicant achieves a degree of affordability for the project, it is proposed that the applicant enter into a housing agreement with the city, whereby 50% of the units would be rented to seniors in receipt of SAFER assistance. This would ensure that at least half of the seniors living in the project would have gross household incomes below $19,200 per annum. This is close to B.C. Housing's Core Need Income Threshold (CNITs) for a single person in deep core need.

Social Planning: The following comments relate both to congregate housing in general, and to the specific project under consideration, and address design and "affordability."

On the matter of the design of congregate housing, it is clear from the information we gathered from site visits to eight Vancouver and Lower Mainland projects, that the design of the amenity space in these projects (amount, type, configuration) and the design of individual units (size, layout) are both crucial to the overall liveability of the project and to the ability of the project to serve its purpose, that is, to allow older and relatively frail seniors to stay out of institutional care as long as possible. Our central concern with small units (anything under 23.2 m²/250 sq. ft.) and with poor design of units and/or amenity space, is that the physical environment works against the senior's independence.

In the case of 333 East Pender, the unit sizes and layouts are inadequate including the current design for the 21.1 m² (227 sq. ft). unit. As noted elsewhere in the report, we also concur that the amount and design of the amenity spaces is inadequate.

Our recommendations for minimum unit size are in the body of the report, and are also supported by the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board.

Congregate housing for seniors is a form we need to think about as a City-wide housing option, both in relation to design and in relation to "affordability". The project at 375 East Pender Street and the proposed project at 333 East Pender Street are not affordable to Downtown Eastside seniors who rely on Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for their income. In order to afford the charge of $1,200 per month proposed at 333 East Pender Street, a senior's net annual income would need to be $15,900. At this level, the senior would qualify for a SAFER grant of $888 per year and would spend 85% of total income on the cost of the congregate housing. For reference, the median gross income of seniors over 70 in the Census Metropolitan Area (1996) is $15,417. The gross income for a senior who receives basic income (OAS/GIS), is $11,376 per year.

Congregate housing offered at around $1,200-$1,300 per month is an option for seniors who have moderate incomes from additional pensions. At the higher levels ($2,500 per month and up) it is likely to be accessible only to the well-to-do or to a homeowner who can use the sale of property to finance the costs. There are some congregate housing projects in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland which are managed by non-profit groups and which have costs in the $1,200 to $1,300 price range. These include Chalmers Lodge in Vancouver (22.3 m²/240 sq. ft. units for $1,250), Southview Terrace in Vancouver (44.6 m²/480 sq. ft. for $1,250 to $1,350) and Columbus Lodge in Delta (26 m²/280 sq. ft. units for $1,040).

Although development costs vary from site to site, the existence of non-profit projects which combine larger units with moderate afforability suggests that it is not necessary to compromise livability in these projects.

Health Board: The Vice President of Community Health Services comments as follows:

"Thank you for sending the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board a copy of this application. I have several concerns related to this application.

Room Size: I note that the single rooms are 150-160 square feet and include a 3 piece bathroom with a shower, a small kitchen, and a living area. Double rooms will be 180-190 square feet. The standard for a single room in a new Ministry of Health (MoH) funded care facility is 215 square feet. The MoH standard for a double room in a care facility is 323 square feet. In both single and double rooms, the MoH areas do not include kitchen or toilet facilities.

Handicapped accessibility: None of the rooms is handicapped accessible. In order for older adults to "age in place", all living areas should be walker and wheelchair accessible.

"SRO" vs. "Congregate Care": I believe guidelines established for SROs are inappropriate for living spaces for older adults. Typically, the frail elderly spend most of their time in their units. The extremely small size of these rooms make the provision of a comfortable living environment very difficult. The limited size of the proposed rooms does not allow enough space for bed, dresser, desk, television, closet and storage space or even chairs for visitors and family.

Support services: There is only one very small elevator to serve 114 residents, staff, kitchen and laundry. The elevator cannot accommodate a stretcher if one is needed by emergency personnel.

The Vancouver/Richmond Health Board recognizes that adequate housing for older adults promotes independence and assists this group to avoid institutionalization. We are very interested in congregate housing models as a means of closing the significant gap between living totally independently in the community and entering a residential care facility. However, we are most concerned that such intermediary living arrangements respect the dignity of the older population. It is likely that our Board will address this type of housing in the near future and work with the City to draft guidelines for their construction."

Urban Design Panel Comment: The Urban Design Panel (the Panel) reviewed this proposal on March 25, 1998 and May 6, 1998. On both occasions the Panel unanimously voted non-support for the rezoning.

On March 25th, the Panel commented as follows:

"The Panel supported the proposed use but had very strong concerns about the density. The application for rezoning was not supported.

The Panel was unanimous in the opinion that the density being sought is too excessive for this site. The building appears quite massive in relationship to the adjacent houses, and the form of the building at the zero lot line is intrusive on the street. The scale of the top of the building could be reduced by eliminating the cathedral ceilings. The base of the building needs to have much more of a residential character. The use of concrete at the lower level was questioned. It was suggested the bay be lowered and reduced in size so that the gable end has more presence at the top. A much greater degree of neighbourliness is called for, especially in the setbacks.

There was strong support for the roof terrace, although its relationship to the adjacent interior amenity space should be carefully reviewed. The balance between the amenities in the building and the scale of the rooms needs to be carefully considered. The lounges on levels two and three and the roof are very modest and will encourage most residents to go to level one. It was suggested that one elevator may not be enough for a building with 114 elderly residents.

The Panel expressed major concerns about the livability of the suites because of their layout and very small size. There were serious concerns that suites such as these could become substandard rental units. There is little evidence that this is intended as a congregate care facility, e.g., designed for elderly, frail residents and with nurses' stations, etc.

The Panel expressed serious concern that this proposal would become a model for redevelopment in the area. Given the history of the Strathcona area, it was strongly recommended that there be full neighbourhood input to determine the future of this site."

On May 6th, the Panel commented as follows:

"After reviewing the model and posted drawings, the Panel commented as follows: The Panel recognized the serious need of this type of facility, particularly in this neighbourhood. The Panel also supported in principle the concept of trading rezoning opportunities for achieving an increase in the housing stock. It is very important, however, that the City conduct a thorough financial analysis in order to provide some assurance that the public benefits to be gained are sufficient to earn the substantial density being sought. Without such assurance the Panel was unable to support the application. It was strongly recommended that the City's Housing Centre become involved with the project to offer some guidance. The Panel found it difficult to evaluate the application in the absence of any criteria for this kind of housing and was concerned that standards will not be developedto guide the project in the next stage of the design.

The Panel was very concerned about the livability of the building, particularly with respect to the size of the units for the target age group. Sufficient space for a comfortable bed and chair as well as personal possessions should be the absolute minimum for senior residents, and aging-in-place should be taken into account for people 75 years and older who will likely develop disabilities soon after moving into this facility. The shared bathrooms for the accessible units on the ground floor were seriously questioned. A number of Panel members thought the amenity areas were still not generous enough in relation to the small size of the units. The amenity area on the roof could benefit from some weather protection, and the amenity spaces on the second and third floors, which seem to be narrow extensions of the hallway, are inadequate for any kind of reasonable activity. It was suggested that some units on these floors should be eliminated in favour of providing more amenity space.

With respect to the form of development, the Panel acknowledged the improvements achieved by decreasing the height and density and the general expression of the front façade. The introduction of balconies on the upper level was supported. These improvements were tempered, however, by questions about the response to historical context. For example, concerns were expressed about the introduction of Tudor forms on the upper areas of the building, and it was felt that the attempt to respond to the adjacent houses has been at the expense of the units on the top floor which now have some very difficult spaces in terms of
usability. There were strong suggestions that perhaps a more contemporary architectural expression would alleviate these problems, as well as the lack of cohesiveness between the front and the rear of the building which was also commented on.

Applicant's Response: Mr. Isaac-Renton agreed the units are very small. Since the committee that is reviewing standards for congregate care facilities has only just begun to meet, however, they have worked to the only standards available, namely those for sleeping units referred to in the Zoning and Development By-law. In view of the fact that standards for seniors sleeping units have not been published, they have an understanding with the Planning Department to proceed with the rezoning application with the unit sizes as proposed. Council will consider the application and may apply whatever conditions it finds necessary, including a recommendation with respect to unit size. Mr. Isaac-Renton stressed that this is a market project with no subsidies and the Society is attempting to provide much needed housing as economically as possibly."

Public Benefit: Congregate housing is seen as a form of housing for which there will be a growing need as the population ages. Staff concern is not with the use per se, but that units must be livable and must meet objectives for aging-in-place, as well as provide minimum communal areas.


Nearby access to transit and commercial services may reduce dependence on use of automobiles.


There are no implications with respect to the Vancouver Children's Policy or Statement of Children's Entitlements.


Staff have discussed the substantive aspects of this report with the applicant. It has been agreed, in order to ensure that the report proceeds to Council and Public Hearing in a timely fashion, that the report will be forwarded to the City Clerk and the applicant's comments will be forwarded to Council in time for their consideration of the report.




Street Address

333 East Pender Street

Legal Description

Lots 24, 25 and 26


Robert Isaac-Renton, Architect


Robert Isaac-Renton, Architect

Property Owner

Parko Enterprises Ltd. (Inc. No. 143576)


Home Mutual Aid Society







817.5 m²


817.5 m²





DEVELOPMENT (if different than proposed)






One-/Two-Family Dwellings infill, MCDs, multiple dwellings

Special Needs Residential Facility -
Congregate Housing





Larger suite sizes,
to result in reduction in number of units


0.60 - 0.75 - 0.95 - 1.0




10.7 m [35 ft.]

15.0 m [49.2 ft.]



2½ Storeys

4 Storeys





15 spaces, plus one disability space


Average of adjoining sites not to exceed 3.7 m [12 ft.]




10 percent, not more than
1.7 m [12 ft.]

0.76 m [2.5 ft.]



20.0 m reduced by lane width to the ultimate centre line of lane
[5.5 ft.]



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