It was a bit touch and go for a few minutes, but Porchlight Developments’ proposal for a four-storey 84-unit multi-residential building in the Clements neighbourhood received final adoption from Peachland council on Tuesday night.
As a result, the Official Community Plan (OCP) will be amended from Low Density Residential (LDR) to Medium Density Residential (MDR) for a portion of the property and the parcel will be rezoned from A2 Rural (non-ALR) to RM4 Multi-unit Residential – Medium Density and R1 Single Detached Residential to allow the developer to build rental apartments at 5481 Clements Cres., which is located between Peachland Elementary School and Trepanier Creek.
In his report to council, director of planning and development services Darin Schaal summarized his rationale for recommending the project by stating that the development will help diversify the housing stock in a neighbourhood that is ideally situated for multi-family development and the location is ideally situated for multi-family rental development due to the proximity of the property to the elementary school, outdoor recreational opportunities, public transit, library, grocery store, bank, pharmacy and medical services.
When the proposal came to council for first and second readings last March, Porchlight, also the developer for the Crystal Lake development on the former Todd’s RV site, was initially proposing a stratified building with an affordable homeownership model but later proposed the building consist of rental units.
Schaal noted the developer has committed to ensuring an affordable housing stock in perpetuity using legal covenants to restrict short-term rentals.
In addition, he said that the proposed infill development makes more efficient use of municipal services and the on-site frontage improvements and off-site road improvements for the elementary school improve vehicle and pedestrian safety in the Clements neighborhood, especially traffic safety for school children.
A public hearing last June drew nine written submissions, including a petition and was attended by 11 members of the public, five of whom addressed council with their concerns, which included pedestrian safety, traffic and emergency access; neighbourhood character and density; environmental protection and floodplain risk; and concern that the applicant will not be held accountable for commitments.
In response, the developer committed to a pedestrian safety improvement plan that meets the school district recommendations and has the support of the school district traffic safety and planning staff.
With regard to neighbourhood character and density, a density analysis that was conducted found that the proposal is comparable with existing multi-residential developments in the Clements neighborhood.
Concerns about environmental protection, and floodplain issues in particular, had previously been raised by some members of council as well as the public. Following the public hearing, the developer commissioned a floodplain hazard assessment that concluded the hazard to the development is low.
At third reading last September, the previous council directed staff to schedule the bylaws for consideration of adoption once the developer met a series of conditions. At Tuesday night’s meeting, Schaal confirmed that all of the conditions had been satisfied, including approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; registration of various covenants and legal documents; dedication of lands for future pedestrian access through the property and to Trepanier Creek; and the execution of services agreements.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Coun. Dave Collins moved the item, but a seconder didn’t come forward.
Mayor Patrick Van Minsel reminded council that if nobody seconds it’s not on the table and they cannot discuss it.
It was then seconded by Coun. Rick Ingram followed by a silence when council was asked if anyone would like to discuss the matter.
Van Minsel reminded his colleagues that all of the conditions required at third reading were met and normally this is what he would call a “rubber stamping”.
“It’s very unusual for a council to look at fourth reading and go back on the things we asked, so are there any councillors who want to address this?”
Coun. Collins said the development would add much needed rental stock to the community housing.
“In that sense it is quite valuable and looking back, in the fall I was quite satisfied with the improvements to Clements Crescent that they were willing to do as far as sidewalks and crosswalks and whatnot,” said Collins, who added that the only other concern was around flooding and that was addressed.
“I agree with Coun. Collins,” said Coun. Terry Condon. “This is an ideal site for a multiple unit residential and rental building. I think it’s entirely appropriate. I did raise quite strongly the issue of being on a floodplain and they came back with a second set of drawings that in simple terms raised the building to a sufficient height that it became manageable and I voted for it.”
Condon said he was opposed to a land dedication because all that does is give the district another piece of property to look after.
Council then unanimously voted in favour of adopting the OCP and bylaw amendments.
The developer will be required to construct a short road next to the school as well as parking stalls for the school and pick up and drop off spots along the new road during peak periods with a small cul de sac or bulb at the end of the road to help with improving traffic conditions during peak periods. In addition, a sidewalk from that parking area will be established on both sides connecting from the parcel frontage and the school site.
The Peachland Historical Society had initially recommended the new road be called Twiddy Street in honour of Martha Anna Twiddy. However, after working with the developer and the historical society staff settled upon recommending it be called Wild Goose Street in honour of William Jenkins, better known as Wild Goose Bill.