OneCity Hits A Homer

I am a great believer in the benefits of diversity — of ethnicity, of language, of sexual orientation, of economic status, of building form — in the creation and evolution of neighbourhood communities. To say the least, I am no fan of gated communities or ghettos or redlines or restrictive covenants.

I believe that city-wide inclusionary zoning can go a long way to ensuring that neighbourhoods enjoy the social benefits of having a mix of economic “types” in the area, and can also be a part of the fight to stop any deliberate ghettoization of our poorest residents. It is used already in a limited way in Downtown Eastside.

OneCity gets this and, in their debut policy announcement, they propose city-wide inclusionary zoning for all developments larger than 5 units.  Their plan suggests a ratio of 20% affordable housing in every project.  Just as important, they are specific in their definition of what “affordable” actually means: 30% of income.

OneCity’s commonsense definition of “affordable”, agreed to by many experts in the field, should be contrasted with Vision’s view, as expressed by Kerry Jang, that “affordable housing is something that somebody can afford.”  It’s up to people to make “decisions as to what’s affordable to them”, the Vision Vancouver politician explained.

Their opinion was formalized in the multi-flawed Vision policy called Rental100 under which, after legal pressure, they set an “affordable” rent at $1,517 for a one-bedroom apartment — way more than 30% of the median income in Vancouver.

I look forward to OneCity’s next policy announcements.

6 Responses to OneCity Hits A Homer

  1. Inclusionary zoning mandating at least a 20% low-income housing set-aside is in fact the law and policy already in Vancouver, in almost every ODP, Community Vision, and city policy document.

    However, developers are allowed to escape the “inconvenience” of mixing low income renters with otherwise exclusively-marketed luxury condos. Sometimes separate entrances are arranged, such as at W2, and of course this is hardly inclusionary in spirit. Most of the time, a CAC is paid and these funds are presumably programmed for nearby public housing. In practice, these funds are seldom used effectively, or at all, to provide low-income rental housing. The policy is thus a fail due to a lack of enforcement.

    OneCity ought to acknowledge that inclusionary zoning is already city policy, but their candidate might well commit actually to voting to enforce it.

    • jakking says:

      Well we know that is not what CACs are usually used for. This is one of the many reasons to scrap CACs, enforce inclusionary zoning, get full-cost DCLs, and take amenities compltely out of the hands of developers and back intgo the hands of the electors through bi-annual plebicites with line item voting.

  2. Mike Hansen says:

    The escalating rental costs in Vancouver is, $money$ launderers don’t care if it rents or not! It’s a place to clean their $money$ and make a profit at resale, when the market is high! Having ‘low-cost housing’ mixed with high priced condos isn’t good for their investment!

    • jakking says:

      That’s why we have to make it an enforceable rule, so that developers do what the city needs rather than what the developers’ bank accounts demand.

  3. Tim Louis says:

    COPE has been proposing this for as long as I can remember. In fact, there was a time, due to Harry Rankin’s pressure, that even the NPA, for a time, implemented this obligation on developers. One City is just recycling everyone else’s good ideas…

  4. jakking says:

    Thanks for the timely reminder, Tim.

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