A controversial proposal will soon be back before city council - but in a different form than what's been seen in the past.
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver has applied to rezone 273 and 275 Sherbrooke St. from residential dwelling districts to a comprehensive development district zone. The society is propos-ing to construct a building at the site that includes a three-storey component (a multi-purpose space would be on the ground floor and the society's offices would be on the second and third floors), and a two-storey component that includes 10 units of independent long-term, nonmarket housing for women and women with children.
Earlier this year, city council approved an official community plan amendment that saw the site's designation changed to major institutional in the community plan.
A Sept. 17 staff report to council about the rezoning application stated that the proposal that was presented during the official community plan amendment process included a four-storey and a two-storey building. The four-storey portion of the building had proposed a 37-space licensed childcare centre on the ground floor. In the latest proposal, the Elizabeth Fry Society has removed the daycare centre in its plan.
"The applicant has re-examined the feasibility of the child care component based on community care facilities licensing requirements that the project provide onsite outdoor play space for the three to five childcare type, and based on the development of other licensed child care spaces in the area," stated the report.
According to city staff, childcare would remain a permitted use in the zoning, in case an opportunity exists in the future to provide a childcare space in the three-storey building.
"The revised proposal responds to the organizational needs of the society to ensure a financially sustainable project," stated the staff report. "It also responds to feedback by neighbouring residents that a smaller building would be more compatible within the neighbourhood context and reduce shadowing. Additionally, it would reduce demand for parking on the site and traffic in the area."
Under the proposed timeline for the rezoning application, the city's design panel would consider the proposal on Sept. 25 and city council would consider first and second readings of the rezoning application on Oct. 1. A public hearing would be held on Oct. 22.
In June, council approved the official community plan amendment for 273 and 275 Sherbrooke St., which is the site located next to the Elizabeth Fry Society's head office at 402 East Columbia St.
During the six-hour public hearing many area residents expressed fear that the project would lead to the "destruction" of their single-family neighbourhood, and supporters of the project stressed the need for more housing and child-care services.
Sapperton resident Trina Graydon expects the community to rally against the rezoning application.
She said the society used the daycare as a "selling feature" to the neighbourhood, but has decided not to proceed with a daycare in the project.
While she said it's a "good thing" that the four-storey component has dropped to three storeys, Graydon still isn't sold on the project.
"Again, the whole idea for this neighbourhood is not a good thing," she said. "The problems and issues are ongoing to this day. We feel the council, and the city has not really listened to our concerns."