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Open House Inspires Feedback: Final Presentation Friday

Jun 10, 2010

“This is exactly the kind of community engagement we want,” said PlaceMakers project manager Geoff Dyer after Thursday night’s Open House at the Community Centre. “We asked for a citizen critique, and we had great discussions with a great crowd. We’ll take all those comments into consideration for our Friday wrap-up.”

The Thursday-night event was literally a “pin up” of ideas under development. Concepts developed by the project team were tested on five specific areas in Revelstoke. Since Revelstoke has already asserted its preferences in its Official Community Plan (OCP) for compact, walkable development, the team sketched scenarios for build-outs in keeping with OCP goals.

See the post immediately preceding this one for Dyer’s explanation of the five demonstration sites.

Most of the illustrations were well received. The big pushback came from some residents of the Arrow Heights area, who objected to the compact, mixed-use approach for the site. So Dyer and his team are reviewing the comments and thinking of best approaches for the site for Friday’s updated presentation.

“We’re listening to what residents say, and we’re also determined to offer the community the best choices in keeping with the policies determined by the OCP,” said Dyer.

The charrette week has been full of such feedback loops, with the team considering questions and comments from the Monday-night opening session. Today’s concluding meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the Community Centre will offer the best ideas of the week of community collaboration.

3 Responses to “Open House Inspires Feedback: Final Presentation Friday”

  1. Carolyn Lorrain says:

    I feel we may be taking this drive to increase density too far. I
    agree we must plan for the future, but what kind of future? We are not
    Vancouver and never will be. Most of us have chosen small town
    Revelstoke for that precise reason.

    When looking at the illustrations on Thursday evening, what struck me
    was the lot coverage increases. Presently we are at 40%. In the T3H
    (did I get that right? Residential heritage area downtown) it will
    increase to 70% lot coverage. That means your average property, 50 x
    100 feet would now be able to build a house with a foot print of 3500
    sq ft. Assuming most people will build 2 stories, that means our
    little downtown community will be sporting McMasions of 7000 sq ft. on
    5000 sq ft lots! Do I recall correctly that each storey can be up to 4
    metres high? If you include a steep pitch roof on top, we are talking
    about a very large building. Are we intentionally planning to have a
    community of row upon row of monster houses?

    I feel this would ruin our heritage district as well as most other
    neighbourhoods in Revelstoke. We are not Surrey or Delta or any other
    of those communities surrounding a large metropolitan area like
    Vancouver. Let’s not set our goal to mimic communities of excessive
    buildings. We are a small mountain community in a lovely valley. Let’s
    increase our green spaces and pedestrian friendly communities without
    encouraging excessive McMasions.

    Thank you,
    Carolyn Lorrain

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    Currently in the R2 zoning of the downtown historic district, 40% lot coverage is permitted. That lot coverage includes only the building footprint. We are proposing that T3H have a lot coverage of 70%, though the difference is that this coverage includes building footprint and impervious surfaces like a paved driveway or a concrete deck. Many of the existing homes would likely have a building footprint and impervious coverage of 70%, so we are not proposing much of a change from what exists, only changing we way we measure it.

    With regards to building height, the new bylaw permits that building height be a maximum of 30’ from finished floor to eave, assuming a 2’ floor depth, which is the most commonly used in residential construction. The current bylaw permits 32.8’ from finished floor to eave, so we are actually reducing building height requirements slightly.

    Hope this helps, and let us know if you have any more questions.

    Jessica Stuart
    Planning Department

  3. Geoff Wilson says:

    I would like to see more emphasis on the more practical sides of making Revelstoke’s neighbourhoods beautiful. Three main items come to mind.

    First, I hope an effort is being made to encourage underground power wherever possible and I strongly feel that this should be made part of the UDB. Revelstoke is home to some truly beautiful neighbourhoods that are tainted with the sight of overhead three-phase power distribution. The examples that comes to mind are Laforme Boulevard and Pearkes Drive in Columbia Park. BC Hydro has grants for this, we should pursue them.

    Second, Revelstoke’s original neighbourhoods were full of wooden front yard fences that, judging from the old photographs, framed the streetscape quite nicely. I think it would be appropriate to encourage the resurrection of this trend where possible, and discourage front yard chain-link fences.

    Third, plant some trees. Good ones, not privacy cedar or bamboo, both of which are thoroughly evil. Neighbourhoods in Winnipeg make great use of trees and it makes a major difference to the quality of the neighbourhood: Brock Street in Winnipeg, or Tadnac in Trail are wonderful examples of this principle.

    Hope this helps.


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    Revelstoke Logo

    In his introduction to Revelstoke’s Official Community Plan (OCP), adopted in July of 2009, Mayor David Raven makes a promise: “This is not a ‘whatever will be, will be’ plan, for the future is ours to see.”

    The mission now: Enable the OCP’s forward-looking vision, goals and policies with a regulatory approach that will ensure their implementation.

    “What we were able to do in our OCP was to establish key principles to guide our growth and redevelopment,” said Revelstoke planning director John Guenther. “That step had to come first. We had to say: ‘This is who we are. And this is how we intend to grow into our future.’

    “With that foundation established, we’re ready for the next phase, which is to embed our guiding principles into a legal framework,” said Guenther. “That’s what this process is all about.”

    This process is a collaborative one, partnering City officials and staff, Revelstoke citizens and stakeholders, and an international consulting team .

    The main event is an intensive, multi-day, collaborative public workshop called a charrette (see video), June 8-11. Out of the workshop will come the essential elements of a new Unified Development Bylaw (UDB).

    “Just as we developed the principles in the OCP together as a community, we’ll take this next big step together, as well,” said Guenther. “With the OCP to guide us, we can now focus on exactly what we need in the new bylaw to get us where we want to go. Citizens will have a good idea of what will be in that new bylaw by the end of our June charrette.”

    For background on the goals that will set the charrette agenda, go right to the source – the OCP. You can read the complete OCP here (4mb .pdf). Many of the goals fall under these broad mandates:

    > Recognize and honor Revelstoke’s unique heritage, both in terms of the natural environment and our architectural traditions.

    > Assure community affordability for a broad range of incomes and life stages.

    > Maintain inclusiveness and transparency in all community planning processes.

    > Align local goals for sustainability – environmentally, socially, and economically – with global goals.

    > “Act locally/think globally.”