A public hearing held last week for a proposed rezoning and OCP amendment that would allow for a new residential townhouse development in the Lower Princeton area generated mixed response from the community.
The property, 6099 Jackson Cres., is located at what was recently the lower portion of Turner Park.
In Oct. 2020 the District of Peachland approved a land acquisition to preserve public use of Turner Park for a purchase price of $3.1 million, later taking ownership of the lands on Mar. 30, 2021.
Turner Park officially reopened to the public on Mar. 31, 2021 and a plan to determine future uses of the park is currently in progress.
The municipality subdivided the property and is hoping to sell the lower portion to recover some of the cost.
The recently subdivided 2.7-acre portion of property was listed by William Wright Commercial for $1.8 million; an offer has been made by the applicant but the sale of the property is contingent upon the developer’s proposal receiving approval.
The applicant, Noura Homes, is proposing to rezone the property from Public/Institutional (P2) to Multi Unit Residential – Low Density and Cluster (RM3) and amend the OCP land use designation from Intensive Residential (IR) to Medium Density Residential (MDR).
A public information meeting was held on Feb. 17 and the proposal was given first and second readings by Peachland council on Feb. 22, 2022.
At the public hearing held last week director of planning and development services Darin Schaal said there is some misinformation circulating in the community that the development will impact nearby Gillam Crescent Park.
“There has been some misinformation circulating amongst the neighbourhood concerning potential for vehicle access through Gillam Crescent Park. I want to make it abundantly clear that at no point in the application process has the applicant nor staff ever considered or contemplated vehicle access through that dedicated park,” said Schaal. “I also want to note that the property is currently zoned for public institutional use; it has a much higher use and as a result more potential for traffic than the proposed zoning.”
He noted that the applicant intends to construct a multiple residential strata development that would be comprised of approximately 23 dwelling units and under the proposed zoning, the maximum build out would be 27 units.
“I think it’s important to note this application is a downzoning of the property,” said Schaal.
The existing P2 zoning would allow for 23 different types of uses, including cannabis testing and research, cemetery and crematorium, hospital, and education facility, while the proposed RM3 zoning would limit uses to multi-unit residential dwelling or a care facility. The zoning change would also allow for less density, a lower building height and reduced maximum lot coverage.
The vehicle access for the proposed development at this stage is being contemplated from Jackson Cres. and Ellison Ave., said Schaal, who reiterated that access from Gillam Cres. through Gillam Crescent Park is “not on the table.”
He said the municipality received 34 submissions and a majority of submissions expressed either no concerns at all, just simply objected to the proposal.
“I would note that this is not a vote about the zoning, right? A public hearing is an opportunity for people who might be affected to express concerns, not vote yes or no,” said Schaal.
He said in addition to simply expressing some objection, a lot of the comments expressed concern about vehicle access through Gillam Cres. Other concerns included traffic volumes, access, density and neighbourhood character.
Four people attended the public hearing to speak.
Wilson Rd. resident Grant Topham said he is in favour of the development and believes it will be an asset to the community but he also had several concerns to express. He said the nearby intersections should be upgraded by the developer, specifically that they should be widened and sidewalks should be added. He also expressed concern about who would maintain the pedestrian walkways and he had questions about how the views from Turner Park might be impacted.
Ellison Ave. resident Tony Wright said his 110-year-old home was built before property lines were established and his deck extends onto Turner Park property. He expressed concern that according to a drawing, access would come right on top of his deck.
A Jackson Cres. resident stepped forward with concerns about the character of the neighbourhood as well as traffic, while realtor Ellen Churchill spoke on behalf of her parents and expressed concern that Gillam Crescent Park might be impacted in some way.
Schaal said there would be no changes to the park with this development.
The item is expected to come before council for third reading at the Apr. 5 regular meeting.