A bid to heavily restrict rezonings along the Broadway corridor associated with a future expansion of the planned SkyTrain subway line has been sent back to the drawing board.
After a marathon debate on Tuesday, councillors voted to refer the motion back to staff and instructed them to come back to council by the end of April with interim zoning policy options and legal considerations.
The initial motion, proposed by Green Coun. Pete Fry, was intended to curb a feared speculation frenzy along the route of a future subway extension from Arbutus Street to the UBC campus.
Under the proposal, no new rezoning applications would have been considered along the line or within 800 metres north or south of it while the city’s planning process is underway. Exceptions would be allowed for social housing, student housing, below-market rentals and community care facilities.
However, several councillors sought to amend the motion as written, including Non-Partisan Association (NPA) Coun. Colleen Hardwick, who raised “a strong concern about the notion of creating a ‘pipeline,’ described as a zoning district close to 800 metres on either side of the north and south,” which could “stigmatize” the area.
After a series of amendments of increasing technical and legal complexity, councillors eventually elected to pass the issue back to city staff.
“This is, for me, very disappointing,” said Fry, who argued that the motion had been vetted by city staff already.
However, Fry said he was encouraged that council appeared willing to move forward with some kind of rezoning restrictions for the area.
“The silver lining is that we are sending a signal that this is not a fait accompli and that if you’re thinking of speculating on the Broadway corridor you may be wasting your money.”
On Tuesday, the City of Vancouver also launched consultations for the area plan associated with the first phase of the subway project, which will run from VCC-Clark Station to Vine Street.
Construction on that phase is slated to begin next year and will take about five years to complete.