Council votes to extend LV town planning consultation

North Vancouver District Council members sat in front of a packed house at their first regular council meeting since the Christmas break.

Most people in attendance at the Jan. 7th meeting were there to demonstrate their interest in the future of Lynn Valley as envisioned in the Lynn Valley Town Centre Implementation Plan. While a number of open houses, surveys and other feedback events had been held during the plan’s development – a fact of which the audience was reminded on more than one occasion over the course of the evening – the inclusion of  high-rise buildings in the planning department’s ultimate proposal was largely to account for a recent rush of activity amongst some local residents.

As expressed in letters to the North Shore News and self-published leaflets, their concerns include potential changes in traffic patterns and neighbourhood character that would accompany the high-density residences.

LynnValleyLife publisher Jim Lanctot described the tenor of the evening as being orderly and respectful. “The District council and staff were clearly willing to listen, and to go the extra mile to make sure people have the chance to express their views.  At the same time, they’re being clear that town planning is a joint District-citizen responsibility. They want people to suggest realistic solutions to the issues at hand, instead of just veto-ing everything they don’t like.”

Local resident Dan Ellis is the chair of the Implementation Committee, a citizen-based body that helps engage the community and monitors the implementation of the Official Community Plan in NVD neighbourhoods. At the council meeting, his presentation spoke to the importance of citizen involvement at all stages of the planning process, and the trade-offs that must be carefully considered in decision-making.

Town planner Karen Rendek gave a brief PowerPoint history of Lynn Valley’s town centre planning to date, which included the recommendation that Council direct staff to engage in further intensive community consultation activities over the next few months, with the goal of creating a draft plan by the end of April. Council approved this recommendation. For video clips of the meeting’s highlights, or the entire recorded proceedings, click here.

LynnValleyLife encourages all local residents to think about the planning issues thoughtfully, and to learn more by reading the background material along with views from a diverse range of citizens and professionals. The Lynn Valley Community Association offers an excellent Sustainable Communities speaker series that brings in expert speakers on a range of topics, and we have a reader-friendly, encapsulated history of the town planning process on our Front Porch blog.

Once you’ve had the chance to think through some of the issues at stake, we invite you to submit your own opinions and comments to share with other LynnValleyLife readers. Please click on this post for our submission guidelines.

Stay on top of the town planning consultation process by reading our blog and Events Calendar, becoming a member of the Lynn Valley Community Association, and visiting North Van District’s Identity website regularly. Given this newly extended consultation period, there’s no excuse to stay uninvolved!

 

 

Wanted: your thoughtful views on LV development plan

For a number of years, North Vancouver District planners worked on an Official Community Plan for the municipality, which was formally approved by council in June 2011. That OCP then became the foundation for the further planning of ‘town centre’ areas of the District, including Lynn Valley.

During both processes, the District offered a large number of workshops, open houses, surveys and other citizen engagement activities to solicit the views of as many residents as possible. However, you can’t please all the people all the time, and now that proposals for Lynn Valley’s town centre redevelopment are being announced, people have expressed their views, both positive and negative, in a variety of forums.

At the Jan. 7 NVD council meeting, staff recommended, and Council approved, a further period of public engagement before another town centre implementation plan is submitted in April. See our report of the meeting here.

Our goal at LynnValleyLife has been to communicate helpful information about the OCP implementation plans, offer explanations about re-zoning processes and the path of development applications, and ensure residents have the contact information they need to ask questions, learn more, and submit their own feedback. Those articles are being posted to the Development and Town Planning section of our Front Porch blog, so that’s a good place to start learning about some of these issues.

Now we would like to launch a forum for reasoned, thoughtful discussion about the proposed town centre development and its potential impact on the community. The quality of life in our neighbourhood is crucial to all of us, and the issues being raised are important. That said, we don’t intend to publish comments that are inflammatory or accusatory – we see no benefit to conversation that is divisive instead of productive.

We continue to support the work of the District in soliciting citizen feedback as preliminary applications and public hearings unroll over the next months, and we give a big tip of the hat to the many local residents who have given their time and attention to this process from the beginning, attending forums and submitting their views.

We welcome further feedback from citizens, and ask that they tell us their views on the proposed town centre plan by answering the questions below. Just cut-and-paste the questions into an email message or a Word document, add your responses, then send them our way at info@LynnValleyLife.com. (Prior to possible publication, we reserve the right to edit for clarity, grammar and length.)

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, and sharing them with our readers. We’re soliciting creative ideas, a variety of viewpoints, open minds, and a collegial exchange of opinions. We know you have a lot of passion for this neighbourhood, Lynn Valleyites, so let’s see what we can do when we put our heads together!

 

LV Town Centre Feedback Form:

NAME:
ADDRESS (will not be published):

1. What is your personal history here in Lynn Valley?

2. How familiar are you with the town planning process? Did you get involved in any workshops or open houses, etc?

3. What are some of your greatest hopes or specific wishes for the Lynn Valley of the future?

4. How well do you think the currently proposed town centre plan would fulfill those hopes?

5. What concerns might you have with the high rises, or other aspects of the town centre proposals?6. What do you see as potential benefits of the proposed higher density residences (high rises), or other aspects of the town centre proposals?

7. Any other comments you’d like to share?

 

Thanks very much! We’ll be interested to read your thoughts, and will put a selection of comments from a variety of residents in upcoming blog posts on LynnValleyLife.

 

 

LV town centre at the preliminary application stage

At LynnValleyLife, our goal is to bring our readers easy-to-understand, but thorough information regarding all the important developments in the implementation of the Lynn Valley Town Centre plans. Last month, we wrote this blog post that provided some context to the preliminary applications submitted to North Van District by Bosa (whose application outlined its proposal for the Zellers site), and Safeway, which submitted a proposal for the redevelopment of its own property.

Then we asked you to send us your questions, about this stage of the proceedings or the town centre plans in general. One of the first queries that came in was “What’s the next step?”

To answer that, we went to Michael Hartford, NVD development planner, and NVD policy planner Karen Rendek. In regards to Bosa and Safeway’s preliminary applications, they tell us, the “next steps” are as follows:

1. These two applications are preliminary applications – there is no rejection or approval at the conclusion of a preliminary application, and District Council does not formally consider these proposals.  The District’s review of the preliminary applications pertains to issues such as community plan compliance and infrastructure upgrades.  The District is anticipating concluding each of these preliminary application processes within the next week.

2. Having reviewed the package of information provided to them by the District, the individual applicants will make decisions as to whether to proceed with what is called a “detailed development application.”

3. In this case, based on input received from the public at the preliminary stage, the District is encouraging these applicants to consult with residents prior to finalizing the content of their detailed applications.  Plans for any developer-hosted consultation have not been finalized, and this consultation would take place outside of the District’s normal application procedures.

4. If a detailed development application is submitted on these properties, District procedures indicate the need for a Public Information Meeting, hosted by the applicant. Here’s how a Public Information Meeting is conducted:

  • This meeting is attended by District staff, and is required to be facilitated by a qualified meeting facilitator.
  • The public is invited to attend this meeting, flyers are delivered to nearby properties, a sign will be posted on the property and notices will be placed in the newspaper.
  • The local community association is also notified of this meeting.
  • Comments are invited at the public information meeting as well as after the meeting, either through a comment sheet or by email.

5. Following the public information meeting, and any design changes arising from input received at this meeting, the detailed development application would be forwarded for consideration by District Council.  At that time, Council may defeat the proposal, or may decide to forward the application to a public hearing, at which residents may share their opinions directly with Council.

6. Following the close of the public hearing, Council would consider the input received at the hearing and make a decision regarding whether to approve or deny the rezoning request to accommodate the development.

In summary, for the two preliminary applications currently concluding, there will be opportunities for public input through at least two types of meetings: the public information meeting and the public hearing.  A third type of meeting, likely in a small group format or open house format hosted by the proponents, may occur prior to the detailed development applications being submitted.

Would you like more information? Visit the District’s Identity site, here, or contact Karen Rendek at 604 990-2295; krendek@dnv.org. If you have any questions you’d like us to explore for you regarding the town centre implementation plans, please let us know at info@LynnValleyLife.com. We look forward to bringing you a variety of viewpoints on the many aspects of the plan to be considered!

 

 

Lynn Valley property rezoning process explained

Not so long ago, LynnValleyLife told readers about a public information meeting that Polygon Properties was holding to discuss a potential redevelopment of the land at the southwest corner of Mountain Highway and 27th.

The event was held in the community room at Silver Harbour Centre, and attendees could browse displays showing the proposed townhome development, ask questions of Polygon staff and North Van District community planners, and help themselves to cold drinks and gigantic cookies.

It was just one of many steps in the road that will need to occur before this development either goes ahead or is rejected by council. Polygon is no stranger to the process – they are the developers behind the ‘Branches’ complex just further down the street – but they won’t be the only company looking for opportunities to take part in the re-creation of Lynn Valley’s town centre.

That being the case, we thought it would be helpful to sketch out the ‘A to Z’ path that must be followed when developers put forward an application that requires the rezoning of a property. As you’ll see, there are a variety of opportunities for public input, ‘tweaks’ to the proposals, and consideration by District staff and council. (A big thanks to Tamsin Guppy, NVD Community Planner, for all her help!)

1. The first step occurs when the ‘proponent’, or applicant, applies for a Preliminary Application, which is a two-month process and involves a staff review, site visit, and soliciting input from the immediate neighbours and the local community association.  The results of the review are then provided to the applicant so that they can address key issues as they work on their detailed drawings in readiness for applying for a detailed rezoning and/or development permit.

2. Next, the applicant submits a detailed rezoning application to the District.

3. The Planning Department swings into action, and coordinates a review of the application by staff and advisory bodies.

4. The Planning Department alerts Council of the applicant’s intention to hold a public information meeting in the affected neighbourhood.

5. A public information meeting is organized by the applicant and held in the neighbourhood.

6. District staff prepare a detailed report on the application, which will include a summary of feedback from the public information meeting. The report recommends that Council either reject the application, or it recommends that Council introduce a rezoning bylaw and set a public hearing date. Council may also choose to request some revisions at this point.

7. If the application is not rejected, a rezoning bylaw is introduced and a public hearing is held to allow feedback from neighbours and other affected parties.

8. Following the public hearing, the bylaw is returned to council.  Council may request some clarification on issues raised at the public hearing, reject the bylaw entirely, or proceed to give it a second and third reading.

9. In a final vote, Council either adopts the Zoning bylaw and allows the development to take place, or defeats it.  (Usually, a bylaw returns for final adoption once all the issues have been addressed and the designs are ready for the Development Permit to be issues, so normally a bylaw returns for final adoption and issuance of the Development Permit.)

For a good description of what goes on at a public hearing, and tips on how you can get your views across effectively and appropriately, check out this page on the North Van District site. While you’re there, browse around and see all the other municipal tidbits that are there for the taking… previous Council minutes and presentations (video clips, too!), parks maps, upcoming public hearing schedules, updated water restrictions, dog-related bylaws, and lots more close-to-home news.

 

 

 

Visions of the valley await your voices and views

There was quite a buzz around the boards set up near the Lynn Valley Mall centre court today, as district planners toured visitors around several graphic displays that gave glimpses into the future of Lynn Valley Town Centre.

Since the Official Community Plan was approved last June, planners have been hard at work developing implementation plans for different town centre sites around the district. For more information about the process, and the tools that will help you contribute your own views about the latest proposals, visit the purpose-built District website, here.

The Lynn Valley plan calls for a variety of housing, street-level storefront shopping plazas, community amenities (an arts facility of some sort is under discussion, for example), parkland features and pedestrian/cycle-friendly trail networks. It promises walkers protection from our infamous local rainfall – and even a ‘rain garden’! It’s quite a change from the current town centre layout, and gives residents plenty to ponder.

If you want to give an opinion, now’s the time – don’t leave it until the last minute. If you want to shape the future, you have to pay attention to the present! The Open House will continue at the mall tomorrow (Sunday, April 29), and in the LV Village Community Room on Tuesday afternoon (1 – 6 p.m.) and at Karen Magnussen Wednesday from 1 – 8:30 p.m.

To view the displays online, go here; to fill out a “report card” with your thoughts (which can be saved or printed), check in here.

 

Doctor gives Lynn Valley clean bill of health

BY ANDREA WINTERBOTTOM, Contributing Writer: A recent talk by Dr. O’Connor, Medical Health Officer for the North Shore, helped a group of Lynn Valley residents gauge the health of their neighbourhood.

The talk and slide show (depicting the transformation from Esso Station to Community Square with library, coffee shops and farmers market) centered on building communities that provide healthy choices for all. To achieve that, he said, we need trees, parks, trails, green spaces, libraries, shopping centres, recreation centres, services and jobs nearby. Diversity of housing for all stages of life is another hallmark or a healthy community.

Farmers Market, Lynn Valley

After the talk, participants walked the walk to look at their neighbourhood through a healthy lens. Everybody who joined the social planners and urban planners from the City and the District kept an eye on the key components that Dr. O’Connor had talked about.

After the walk, participants indicated their findings on a ‘rate your community’ thermometer. Categories such as well-lit pedestrian walkways, wheelchair accessible sidewalks, and covered bus stops received high scores; Lynn Valley Square as a safe meeting place for all ages received many accolades.

If you look around Lynn Valley, you will notice that it features most if not all of the components needed to make it a healthy community. Most participants indicated that Lynn Valley is a friendly, bustling community that has climbed high on the ‘rate your community thermometer’ and definitely falls into the category of being a healthy community.