In April 2020, the UBC Board of Governors approved a minor amendment to the Wesbook Place Neighbourhood Plan.
A key priority for the university is the timely delivery of faculty-staff housing through the 2012 Housing Action Plan—ensuring that at least 20% of future housing on campus be restricted rental for faculty and staff.
The amendment consultation process presented how the university proposed to reconfigure some of the remaining undeveloped sites in Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood to enable up to 500 below-market rate faculty-staff rental housing units to be built in 6-storey wood frame buildings within the next 10 years.
- Maintains planned population, density, buildable floor space and open space
- Re-designated sites for 3-storey townhouses and 2 towers as sites for 6-storey buildings
- Enables up to 500 faculty-staff rental units
- Meets 20% HAP faculty-staff housing target, increase up to 22% in the next 10 years
The process for consulting on the proposed amendment included meetings with advisory bodies, and a public consultation period (February 10-24). The public consultation included an online survey (February 10-24) and public open house (February 11).
To learn more about please read our consultation summary documents below, including the Consultation Summary Report.
Consultation Summary Documents
Learn More about the Project
Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood Plan
Wesbrook Place is UBC’s largest neighbourhood. It includes UBC’s largest community centre, a secondary school, a commercial centre with a grocery store, a number of parks and other amenities. The Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood Plan was approved in 2005 and amended in 2011 and 2016 and follows the policies and principles in the UBC Land Use Plan.
The Plan guides the development of the neighbourhood by providing details on the type and location of residential housing and the amount and location of commercial space, parks, and other open space.
There are 44 sites in the Neighbourhood Plan, with a mix of housing types and heights: 3-storey townhouses, 4-6 storey mid-rise buildings, and 14-22 storey towers/high-rise. The majority of sites have already been developed. Of the remaining sites, there are currently a number of housing projects under construction and nine undeveloped sites. The amendments are focused on four of these nine available sites.
Enabling Faculty-Staff Housing
In late 2019, the UBC Administration presented a range of options to the UBC Board of Governor’s HAP Working Group to enable the timely delivery of below market rate faculty-staff rental housing to meet the 20% HAP minimum target and go beyond it over the next 10 years.
One of the simplest and quickest options to do this is to modify regulations for readily available sites in Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood to allow for delivery of up to 500 faculty-staff rental housing units. This can be accomplished without increasing the amount of floor area permitted or changing the character of the streets, parks and public spaces, by allowing for 6-storey buildings including stacked townhouses where some taller towers with stand-alone townhouses are currently planned. This would require amendments to regulations for some specific sites in the Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood Plan. 6-storey wood-frame buildings are being proposed because they are the primary model for UBC faculty-staff rental housing owing to the efficient building type.
Housing Action Plan
A top priority for UBC is the timely delivery of faculty-staff housing through the coordinated implementation of the 2012 Housing Action Plan (HAP) policies. A key target of the HAP is that at least 20% of future housing on campus be restricted rental for faculty and staff.
Proposed Neighbourhood Plan Amendments
The proposal is to change the current form of development on sites BCR9, BCR7, BCR6 and BCR5 to allow for 6-storey wood-frame buildings. These changes would result in:
- No change to overall buildable area or open space
- Replacing 3-storey stand-alone townhouses and 2 towers with stacked townhouses integrated into 4- and 6-storey buildings
- Supporting up to 500 faculty-staff rental units (including stacked townhouses)
- An increase to street massing from 5- to 6-storeys to support more efficient building design
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Development Handbook Amendment
Pending the approval of the Neighbourhood Plan amendments, the Development Handbook will also need to be amended to be consistent with these changes. The Development Handbook establishes regulations in accordance with Policy #UP12 (Land Use, Permitting and Sustainability), the UBC Land Use Plan and the approved neighbourhood plans. It is a regulatory tool that describes the development approval process and requirements for implementing the neighbourhood plans.
Design Principles of the Neighbourhood Plan
Building Shape + Character
The shape, height, materials, “style”, placement, location and types of residential buildings.
- Accommodate a variety of residential buildings and units: 6-storey and 4-storey buildings to take advantage of cost effective wood construction, and incorporate stacked townhouses. Tower sites to define streets and park edges.
- Orient buildings to reduce shade and shadowing on neighbours and optimize daylight and privacy.
The character of the street defined by parking, sidewalks, planting/trees/open space, street “furniture” and the adjoining buildings.
- Orient housing entrances and porches towards streets and greenways to promote walking and provide ‘eyes on the street’.
- Ensure streets and paths support a rich pedestrian experience.
Open Space + Landscape Design
The design of all public and private open spaces including parks, pathways and spaces around and between buildings.
- Incorporate spaces that encourage community gathering and interaction.
- Establish a series of parks connected by a network of green streets. This network of green streets and parks touches each residential site providing walking and cycling routes throughout the neighbourhood.
How the Design Principles are Upheld in the Amendments
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Planning Timeline and Next Steps
The Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood Plan amendment process began in January 2020. Subject to community consultation and technical analysis, the amendments would be presented to the UBC Board of Governors for approval in April 2020.
Your ideas and feedback on the proposed Neighbourhood Plan amendment for Wesbrook Place, in combination with further technical work, will be used to inform the planned amendments that will be presented to the UBC Board of Governors in April 2020.
Pending approval of the Neighbourhood Plan and the UBC Development Handbook, all subsequent housing projects will proceed through a standard development approval process, with applications reviewed for approval by the Development Permit Board.
Delivery of the faculty-staff housing units would begin first on sites BCR7 and BCR9, with a second phase of development on site BCR5 following, subject to demand.
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