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Should Vancouver's upscale Shaughnessy neighbourhood densify? Council discusses proposed changes

Homes in Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood are pictured. Homes in Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood are pictured.

New local and provincial rules are pushing for more housing density in Vancouver, including in the city's upscale Shaughnessy neighbourhood.

A public hearing was held Thursday evening to discuss potential changes to the neighbourhood, which could see several housing units on a single lot.

The change would require amendments to a heritage conservation area official development plan for the community, which go beyond provincial requirements. If passed, six dwelling units would be allowed on all eligible lots, while eight units would be allowed for secured market rental units.

"First Shaughnessy" refers to the older portion of the neighbourhood, which is part of the heritage conservation area under the Vancouver Charter. Templar Tsang-Trinaistich, director of the city's rezoning centre, explained during the public hearing that homes under the provincial Heritage Conservation Act would be exempt from the changes, but not necessarily homes under the heritage conservation area.

"Only legally designated properties with a heritage revitalization agreement registered on title are exempt. There's seven of those in the First Shaughnessy area," Tsang-Trinaistich explained.

Tsang-Trinaistich said the city currently receives about four development applications per year in Shaughnessy.

"We don't necessarily see a significant change in the volume," he said. "You might see one or two multiplexes in First Shaughnessy a year. Again, it's going to be subject to owner-applicant interest as well."

Officials believe the increased density and housing supply could help bring down soaring housing costs. Some in the Shaughnessy area, however, argue that major development could alter the character and history of the neighbourhood.

Katherine Reichert, who is the chair of the first Shaughnessy advisory design panel, shared a letter from the panel during Thursday night's meeting. The proposed changes being discussed by council include repealing the panel "in order to align with recommendations from the provincial small-scale multi-unit housing policy manual."

Reichert said the panel doesn't oppose density, saying it has encouraged suites and multiplexes in the neighbourhood, but said "following heritage guidelines will be more vital than ever in ensuring the legacy and history in the (area) is not eroded through poor quality design."

A vote wasn't held on the matter Thursday night and it will be discussed again at another public hearing on June 18. Top Stories

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