City council revoted on a controversial proposal to limit future density and building size in a Cloverdale neighbourhood last night (April 9), ultimately rejecting the push to rezone the area.
Residents of the Cloverdale Slope neighbourhood — a selection of residences between 58 Avenue and 60 Avenue, 180 Street and 182 Street — submitted a petition to the city in September 2016 to rezone their area from a Single Family Residential Zone to a Comprehensive Development Zone in order to limit density and building size in the area, and to preserve “existing residential character.”
The petition kicked off a lengthy consultation process within Cloverdale Slope to gauge the level of support for a rezoning, and a survey determined 54 per cent of the neighbourhood was in support and 37 per cent was against the proposal.
That opposition level of 37 per cent was much higher than usual. According to city staff, the average level of opposition for a rezoning proposal is between 10 and 17 per cent.
Because of the unusual amount of opposition, council directed city staff to create an official neighbourhood downzoning process. One had not existed before, as neighbourhood downzoning proposals had been evaluated on a case by case basis. But the divisive Cloverdale Slope proposal was not a typical case.
The new neighbourhood downzoning guidelines were approved by council in December 2017. By those newly approved standards, the support rate for the Cloverdale Slope rezoning proposal was “moderate” and required further neighbourhood consultation.
The proponents declined to amend their proposal and instead asked for more time to hear back from residents who hadn’t responded to the inital survey. By late January 2018, five more votes had been submitted, but it wasn’t enough. The proposal had not garnered the required support of 65 per cent or higher.
City staff then created a report recommending council reject the proposal due to the high level of opposition. It went before city council on March 12, but it did not pass. Instead, council locked in a 3–3 tie over whether to reject the proposal or begin the survey process all over again.
In the absence of a decision, the vote was deferred until a time when full council is present. It appeared before council again on Monday night (April 9).
Council re-votes on ‘divisive’ application
Counc. Dave Woods began the discussion on Monday evening.
“This is a very controversial issue that has been kicked around a lot,” he said, referring to the back and forth between the rezoning proponents, city council and city staff while the neighbourhood downzoning guidelines were being created. “I’m of the view that … we re-survey the people in the area.”
Counc. Bruce Hayne, who proposed that the city re-survey Cloverdale Slope during the March 12 council session, said that he “wouldn’t be opposed to a re-taking of the survey” but that he would only be supportive if staff were involved in defining the boundaries of the Cloverdale Slope neighbourhood — and thereby the residents who could submit a response to the survey — to make it more uniform.
Counc. Mary Martin and Tom Gill agreed with Hayne about the unclear neighbourhood boundaries. According to Martin, the boundaries, which were set by the proponents, “were so unbelievably out there that I just didn’t understand them, and I don’t think the community understood them.”
Council ultimately voted to refuse the area-wide rezoning, although councillors did note that the proponents could submit another proposal and begin the process again.