A proposed rezoning and OCP amendment that would pave the way for a new residential townhouse development in the Lower Princeton area received third reading from Peachland council last week.
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).
The applicant plans to construct a multiple residential strata development that would be comprised of approximately 23 dwelling units although under the proposed zoning, the maximum build out would be 27 units.
Director of planning and development services Darin Schaal characterized this as a downzoning as 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.
A public information meeting was held on Feb. 17 and the proposal was given first and second readings by Peachland council on Feb. 22, followed by a public hearing held on Mar. 22.
At the public hearing Schaal dispelled what he referred to as some misinformation circulating in the community that the development will impact nearby Gillam Crescent Park. He said at no point in the application process has the applicant nor staff ever considered or contemplated vehicle access through that dedicated park and there would be no changes to the park with this development.
The municipality received 34 written submissions, the majority of which expressed either no concerns at all, or just simply objected to the proposal, with a lot of the comments expressing concern about vehicle access through Gillam Cres. Other concerns included traffic volumes, access, density and neighbourhood character. An additional four people addressed council in person.
Schaal said in his follow-up meeting with the applicant after the public hearing they discussed the two proposed accesses for the development (Jackson Cres. and Ellison Ave.), which will be assessed later as part of a development permit application.
However, it’s now been determined the number of dwelling units accessed from Jackson Cres. will be restricted to 12.
With respect to concerns expressed at the public hearing about who would be responsible for trail maintenance, Schaal said the strata corporation will be required to provide maintenance for the pedestrian connection between Jackson Cres. and Gillam Crescent Park while the pedestrian connection from Turner Park down to Ellison Ave. would be maintained by the district.
“I am very happy to see the answers from our developer to all the questions asked during the public hearing. They seem to me to be very satisfying, but as I say, we will see. This is only here for the land use so I will be in favour of this,” said Coun. Patrick Van Minsel.
“I will also be in favour of the zoning,” said Coun. Pam Cunningham. “If people are concerned about character of the neighbourhood, what would they feel like if a big industrial building went there or a cannabis place or some big office building?”
Coun. Keith Fielding repeated his concerns about density, the character of the neighbourhood, and the traffic that would be generated and said his position that R1 zoning would be most appropriate has not changed; he opposed the recommendation to rezone it to RM3.
Coun. Mike Kent said there is a need to diversify housing inventory and this proposal will do a lot to move in that direction.
“Interspersing different housing options throughout the community and infill is an important step,” said Kent.
“Young families or families starting out in the housing market require housing options other than R1 and I think that this is a step in that direction. Our housing inventory throughout the province is in crisis and I think that we need to look at being wise in the way that we provide housing options for our community.”
Kent also said the primary concerns that were expressed at the public hearing were adequately addressed.
Mayor Cindy Fortin also emphasized the importance of infill and moderate density and said she too was satisfied that the applicant had adequately addressed concerns that were raised.
Coun. Pete Coolio said Peachland has to grow and there is need more housing, but he voted in opposition due to lack of information about a BC Hydro right of way.
Coun. Condon abstained from voting. He stated he does not believe he has a conflict of interest in the matter, but he recognized there is a perceived conflict of interest and bias [Condon lives within the notification area of the property] and stepped out council chambers during the discussion.