Norquay Village Open House

[all images from City of Vancouver documents]

Over the weekend, I went to the Norquay Village Open House at Norquay Elementary School in East Vancouver.  You can be forgiven for not knowing where Norquay is.  Norquay is technically part of the larger Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood.  The neighbourhood centres around Kingsway from Gladstone Street on the western edge to Killarney Street on its eastern edge.  The north is marked by 28th/29th Avenues to Slocan, south Slocan to Euclid Avenue, then along Euclid Avenue to Killarney Street.  The southern boundary runs along 38th Avenue to Nanaimo Street, south to 41st Avenue, then all the way east along 41st Avenue to Killarney Street.

Norquay Village boundaries

I don’t live within the boundaries of the Norquay Village, but there’s a few reasons why I am interested in this particular neighbourhood plan.  The first reason is that I used to live just outside the boundaries of the neighbourhood.  So the proposed changes affect parts of my old hood.  Another reason is that I frequent some restaurants and shops in the area.  The last and most important reason is that there will be new zoning regulations in the neighbourhood allowing for more variety in the current housing stock.

Norquay RT11 Zones

One of the proposed zoning changes involves a new zone type, RT-11 Small House/Duplex.  This zone type will allow for single family residential to continue where desired, but will also allow the existing lots to be assembled and allow for duplexes or multiple small houses to be built.  Most of this type of rezoning is planned for the southern half of Norquay Village and the norther corners of the neighbourhood.  This rezoning may allow for more Kitsilano-style housing where existing lots are subdivided to allow for infill homes, laneway homes, and carriage homes (all of which are different names for almost the same type of housing).  Duplexes, if done right, blend right into the neighbourhood.  One great example that I can think of are little-known duplexes on Wales Street just south of 41st Avenue.  The builder saved the heritage home on the corner of 43rd Avenue and Wales Street, then built duplexes on the heritage home lot and adjacent lots.  From the street level, you couldn’t tell that these homes were duplexes.

Norquay RM7 Zones

The other exciting rezoning prospect is the RM-7 Stacked Townhouses/Rowhouse zoning. This zoning type allows for duplexes, triplexes and other multiplexes. Single family homes can still exist in this zoning, but it allows for other multi-family homes to be built.  Rowhouses are not common in Vancouver, but they can be found in the Oakridge area and in Kitsilano.  Stacked Townhouses can also be found dotted across the city.  The ones that come to mind are in Mount Pleasant and near Main Street.  These homes have smaller 1-bedroom suites on the ground floor, but have multi-storey, 2 or 3-bedroom homes above them.

Stacked Townhouse sample

There was also mention of something called Lock-Out Units. I had to ask one of the city planners on hand about this one.  Lock-Out Units are similar to Secondary Suites, but the Lock-Out Unit must be accessible by a door from the main unit in the home.  In Secondary Suites, there does not need to be access to the main unit (I always thought there needed to be a connection, but apparently not).  A Secondary Suite would be a complete home on its own if necessary, but a Lock-Out Unit doesn’t have to be.  A Lock-Out Unit must have a full bathroom, but may not have a full kitchen.  It may have more of a kitchenette rather than a full kitchen.  The Lock-Out Unit could be rented out or it could be part of the existing home.  Both new zoning types would allow for Lock-Out Units depending on how many primary units there were.  For every x number of primary units, you are allowed 1 lock-out unit.  That x depends on the particular zoning type and floor-space ratio of the home.

So there are some exciting changes coming to this little known neighbourhood on the east side of Vancouver.  Some of the other plans apart from the rezoning include creating a community space at the 2400 Motel site on Kingsway and Slocan and creating a linear “Ravine Way” park that would connect Kingsway to Slocan Park/29th Avenue SkyTrain Station.  This park would run atop the old stream path of Still Creek.  To see more of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Plan, visit their page on the City of Vancouver website.

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