As part of the process to bring forward a rezoning application for the lower section of Turner Park, Noura Homes organized an online public information meeting on Feb. 17. This is the meeting format currently used because of COVID and about 20 people signed in using Zoom. The key speaker for Noura Homes was Wayne Jackson, vice-president of development.
Jackson explained that they want to build townhouses with road access from both Jackson and Ellison. The first few questions for Wayne Jackson were about access to the site. He told residents that direct access from Princeton Ave. was not usually allowed because of traffic volumes. He indicated that they would prefer direct access from Princeton, but was told it was not possible. Access from Gillam was not considered and there is a small park between Gillam and the site.
When asked, Jackson explained that they had approached the owners of the house at 4758 Princeton, which is adjacent to the site with a view to extending the development. But despite detailed discussions, no agreement was made.
Jackson said that the development will include at least 23 units with a maximum number of 30. Prior to detailed plans and engineering studies, it is not possible to give the exact number of units that will be built. He explained that at this stage Noura Homes are in the process of bringing forward a rezoning application (which subsequently came before council at the meeting on Feb. 22).
Jackson explained that planning and engineering studies are very expensive for a site like this and it is a standard process to get rezoning approval before such costs are incurred.
Most of the questions for Jackson came from residents that live close to the site. Nancy Merrill, who lives at 6095 Jackson, expressed concerns about traffic volumes, parking requirements and the impact on trees at the property line. Jackson explained that each unit would have two parking spaces and that two thirds of the units would have access via Ellison rather than Jackson.
Several people were surprised by the number of units proposed and said that the previous rezoning application called for just six townhouses on the slope. The difference with this proposal is that previously no access on Ellison was planned. The fact that there was no detailed map of the proposed road layout resulted in questions about how the access would work. Jackson did say that a pedestrian pathway between Turner Park and Ellison would be included as part of the development.
There was some confusion about the current zoning for Turner Park as it is still shown as institutional despite a previous rezoning application being given approval by Peachland council. After a public hearing, the third reading of a rezoning bylaw is considered approval by mayor and council. But the official change of zoning does not occur until a subsequent fourth reading has taken place. That step was not completed for the prior rezoning bylaw.
When asked why Noura Homes do not want to build single family homes on the site, Jackson explained that the housing market has changed and there is a growing demand for townhouses in the Okanagan. He expected that buyers would be a mixture of families and seniors downsizing. In today’s market, single family on this site would be considered an under-utilization. He also explained that there would be no basement suites and no rental properties. Jackson said that Noura Homes have a reputation of building quality homes and he was confident that there would be no negative impact on the neighbourhood.
One complication was raised by Tony Wright who lives at 6094 Ellison. A deck and a rock wall built next to his house actually encroaches on the development site. Jackson indicated that he would meet to discuss this problem. It is of particular importance as it is Ellison that would provide access to most of the units proposed.