West Van going up slippery slope (Mar 7 Council), with RGS help

Below is the staff recommendation for West Vancouver Council on Monday, March 7, 2011, plus an independent analyst’s comments. Will West Vancouver go up the slippery slope created by the Regional Growth Strategy and permit sprawl to the ridge of Hollyburn and beyond. Looks like that is the plan. Will Council have vision through the mist?First, the Staff report:
Staff recommends that Council accepts………

12. Report on Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (File:  0185-01)
RECOMMENDED:
THAT
1. Council accept the new Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy entitled
Metro Vancouver 2040 – Shaping our Future (Regional Growth Strategy
Bylaw No. 1136, 2010);

2. Council request that the Metro Board amend the strategy to expand the
Conservation recreation designation to ensure that the entire Old Growth
Conservancy be designated as conservation/recreation; and

3. Council request that the special study area be expanded to include all lands
above the 1200 foot contour line designated as general urban.

***********************
And now an independent analysis of appears to be the intention and what’s going on here…

This staff recommendation is not consistent with the City’s Official Community Plan (OCP).

To be consistent with the OCP, the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB, under the proposed Metro Van Regional Growth Strategy) would have to be lowered to the 1200 foot line (and below any parks or watershed close to the 1200 foot line), and everything above the 1200 foot line and UCB shown as Conservation & Recreation. The Special Study Area should only be the small area under consideration in the OCP shown as “possible 1200 ft line variation,” but the underlying designation should be Conservation & Recreation, to be consistent with the OCP.

What is being proposed by the West Van director of planning and development, Bob Sokol, would jeopardize the protection of everything above 1200 feet.  If the City’s intent is to NOT develop this area, then the RGS should be made consistent with the OCP as above. It is obvious that “Special Study Areas” (a new designation created under the RGS)  increase development pressure because they have  a very low threshold for the approval of exclusions from protective zoning. They ONLY require a 50%+1 vote of the quorum at the Metro Board, and NO public hearing. If West Van gets a development friendly or naive Council any time in the future, the upper lands could be developed very easily, because the Metro board would have no grounds to stop the application if it is consistent with the RGS.

Here below is the colour map of the OCP from the West Van website. THIS is what would be consistent with the OCP if the RGS matched this map, with the Urban Containment Boundary at the 1200 foot line. West Van’s bargaining position with private land owners would also be much stronger if there was no Special Study Area.

Note that the map at the very end of the Council report attachments is very misleading about what is in General Urban. It is copied below.

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Citizens concerned about public benefits arising from decisions at Vancouver's City Hall.
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