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Lisa Helps | Victoria | Mayor

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#21 Szeven

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:20 AM

Yeah why stop at shipping containers? Fridges come in pretty decently-sized boxes; for families of course. A single person doesn't really need any more space than a dishwasher or stove box.

 

I didn't say everyone has to be forced to live in smaller and smaller units, I just said I think they should be available. It has been suggested here the ways to improve affordability is to make things taller. I think another way is make units smaller.


Edited by Szeven, 16 September 2014 - 08:21 AM.

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#22 Mike K.

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:36 AM

Janion must have the highest square footage rates in the industry and it only works as a development for single people or at most a couple. Throw a baby into the fray and you're bursting at the seams then must scramble to sell or rent the unit while hoping to cover most costs while trying to secure another mortgage.

Perhaps the solution is more housing like Kettle Creek Station in Langford? An 800 square foot home with a tiny patch of lawn is more livable for a small family than a single room 300 square foot microloft.

Allowing 350 unit 30-storey towers downtown would quickly solve the affordability issue. Imagine units starting at 150k? Instead we're lucky to see a couple of units in a 14 storey, 100 unit building for $220k. That's a big difference for what amounts to 450 square feet.
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#23 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:43 AM

Why is there any limit whatsoever on unit size?


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#24 Mike K.

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:45 AM

There are no unit size limits but there are density and height limits.

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#25 jonny

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:46 AM

The solution is density. Politicians talk a big game when it comes to affordable housing, but nobody has the cajones to take on the neighborhood groups who demand low density low rise buildings with big setbacks and expensive public amenities.

 

I agree with Mike. Allowing some real height downtown is the first step towards getting some real density and seeing many entry level units that are affordable to people making $50k or less a year.


Edited by jonny, 16 September 2014 - 08:46 AM.

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#26 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:46 AM

There are no unit size limits but there are density and height limits.

 

Right, and density is only FSR, but you can bet the councillors will want to know how many units are in every building.  It's part of their decision-making, even if you say it's not.


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#27 sebberry

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:53 AM

Perhaps the solution is more housing like Kettle Creek Station in Langford? An 800 square foot home with a tiny patch of lawn is more livable for a small family than a single room 300 square foot microloft.

Allowing 350 unit 30-storey towers downtown would quickly solve the affordability issue. Imagine units starting at 150k? Instead we're lucky to see a couple of units in a 14 storey, 100 unit building for $220k. That's a big difference for what amounts to 450 square feet.

 

Kettle Creek is the epitome of yukky urban sprawl, but I think it was a great way to address some affordability and density issues.

 

I also wonder why we don't have more row/townhouses. 


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#28 R0ark

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:54 AM

The solution is density. Politicians talk a big game when it comes to affordable housing, but nobody has the cajones to take on the neighborhood groups who demand low density low rise buildings with big setbacks and expensive public amenities.

 

I agree with Mike. Allowing some real height downtown is the first step towards getting some real density and seeing many entry level units that are affordable to people making $50k or less a year.

It does look like Lisa Helps is ready to push for density downtown. One of her new planks is to support developers and get the bonus density program working correctly: http://www.lisahelps..._neighbourhoods

Actively support downtown development

  • Year one: Review bonus density program and modify it to ensure that it's meeting the needs of the public and the development industry. Move to per square foot calculation of bonus density rather than an economic land-lift analysis. Make sum payable at occupancy rather than at building permit stage. Create, with development community, a 'bonus density exemption program' where the City and the development community agree to a list of amenities or building features and if a certain number or combination of amenities or features are included in a project, the developer granted extra density without a cash contribution.

  • Years two to four: Explore the possibility of undertaking a City-initiated rezoning of all properties in the area covered by the Downtown Core Area and zoning properties in accordance with what is anticipated in the plan. Examine the possibility of a zone that sets height restrictions but leaves floor space ratio to the discretion of the developer within a set of guidelines.

 



#29 jonny

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 09:12 AM

I also wonder why we don't have more row/townhouses. 

 

Yes, with the housing affordability issues in this region you'd think the areas surrounding downtown like Fairfield, North Park and Rockland would be full of townhouses and brownstones.


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#30 Mr Cook Street

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 09:20 AM

I think the only cost for additional height and density to the developer is the inclusion of units that are 3+ bedrooms to increase the stock of family sized units.



#31 Baro

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:07 AM

Amenities, fees, and unit-type demands are all passed down to the buyers of the condos.  You demand some 3 bedroom units here, all the other units go up to pay.  You demand too many things and the building doesn't get built at all.  Developers are out to make a profit, and often breaking even is even a challenge.  Every demand the city makes, every hoop they have to jump through, is simply passed on to the buyer.

 

If Helps actually wants to look at alternatives, look at something tried and tested like this:

http://grist.org/cit...in-a-baugruppe/


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#32 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:08 AM

Amenities, fees, and unit-type demands are all passed down to the buyers of the condos.  You demand some 3 bedroom units here, all the other units go up to pay.  You demand too many things and the building doesn't get built at all.  Developers are out to make a profit, and often breaking even is even a challenge.  Every demand the city makes, every hoop they have to jump through, is simply passed on to the buyer.

 

If Helps actually wants to look at alternatives, look at something tried and tested like this:

http://grist.org/cit...in-a-baugruppe/

 

I agree.  


<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#33 Mike K.

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:15 AM

Same thing with the City of Victoria's affordable housing schemes. Tax payers are footing the bill so politicians can pay themselves on the back.

And you wonder why Torontonians support a guy like Ford.

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#34 jonny

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:20 AM

Amenities, fees, and unit-type demands are all passed down to the buyers of the condos.  You demand some 3 bedroom units here, all the other units go up to pay.  You demand too many things and the building doesn't get built at all.  Developers are out to make a profit, and often breaking even is even a challenge.  Every demand the city makes, every hoop they have to jump through, is simply passed on to the buyer.

 

Absolutely.

 

I hate how we blackmail developers into trading "amenities" for height and density. We should be demanding quality design and materials, not mid-block walkways and public spaces.

 

Why not provide what the market wants? Every new building that goes up sells out, yet City Council goes out of its way to make this type of housing less achievable and affordable.


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#35 Mixed365

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:22 AM

Yes, with the housing affordability issues in this region you'd think the areas surrounding downtown like Fairfield, North Park and Rockland would be full of townhouses and brownstones.

Mmmm brownstones. My fave.  :) 

Pretty sure Mikey Miller did one of them! 

Back to Lisa though, props to her for bringing back bonus density. Seems like a great idea. 


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#36 Mike K.

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 10:26 AM

Paid for by the residents who politicians fret can't afford the housing in the first place.

Bonus density is a bunch of nonsense. City Hall holds developers ransom and keeps increasing the cost of development as a hidden tax on the homeowner, meanwhile reminding the tax payer this is in their best interest. All this bonus density, public amenity stuff is a take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-...City Hall-budget scheme.

No politician in this region is serious about the issues that matter. They all rely on feel good buzz words that the public falls for during election time then dither around over "monumental" decisions until the next election.

The speed limit issue is perfect proof of this. Nary a mention of this on anyone's campaign trail then all of a sudden it becomes the most pressing issue that defines the council term. What nonsense. Meanwhile taxes are rising, the bridge is in limbo (literally), crime continues to be a serious issue, businesses are closing or moving away, rents keep rising, the cost of living in Victoria keeps rising, and job creation is all but nonexistent.


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#37 LJ

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 07:32 PM



Perhaps the solution is more housing like Kettle Creek Station in Langford? An 800 square foot home with a tiny patch of lawn is more livable for a small family than a single room 300 square foot microloft.

 

Actually the smallest house at Kettle Creek is 1046 square feet, albeit on two levels.


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#38 baconnbits

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 11:41 PM

The solution is density. Politicians talk a big game when it comes to affordable housing, but nobody has the cajones to take on the neighborhood groups who demand low density low rise buildings with big setbacks and expensive public amenities.

 

I agree to this in some aspects. i think density and or significant rezoning of land to allow for new stock is the away to alleviate housing affordability pressures. but, i don't think that necessarily means we need to throw up 20-30 floor buildings ad hoc a la some aspects of vancouver's planning (some of which i like, but their penchant for all of the sudden just tossing up a collection of 30 floor buildings is poorly thought out in my opinion). it can be as simple as saying on certain well utilised arterial roads you enable every site (subject to whatever heritage restrictions) to be 5 stories with no setback on the first three floors and the top two floors set back to avoid unnecessary overshadowing onto the street.

it means that you might have something like cook street in cook street village or quadra in quadra village all up to 5 stories. suddenly you have way more density than you currently have and are still able to maintain that village ambiance that nimby's and all people really, love so much.

the alternative is that you probably go super dense (15-30 floors) just in select areas of downtown. personall, for victoria, i think the limits of up to 20 floors are good, but something has to give and i think that is increased (though still comparatively low) density in the 'villages' around the downtown core.  



#39 Sparky

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 05:47 AM

 Tax payers are footing the bill so politicians can pay themselves on the back.

 

 

Is that a Freudian slip?


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#40 Mike K.

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 07:01 AM

That's more of less what we've been doing, but you have to remember that a five storey building is expensive to build and units will be out of reach for many. Put a 25-storey building on that lot and you're going to see more opportunities on that single parcel of land.

A developer needs both height and density to make a project affordable for a wide spectrum of buyers and make the units livable. Density only gets you so far. In Victoria a project like Escher starts clocking in at $220k for the smallest, low floor unit (in other words, the same starting price as downtown Toronto condos!). We need to work to bring units down to $150-$175k and enough of them to ensure they won't all go to investors.

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