August 20, 2015 - 1:00 PM
PENTICTON - A long standing vacant lot in Penticton’s downtown core has attracted the attention of Penticton's city councillors.
The owner of a series of vacant lots on Main Street which used to contain the Three Gables Hotel approached city council this week with a request for a variance in order to operate a parking lot on the properties, asking the city to waive certain provisions related to parking standards in the zoning bylaw
The Downtown Penticton Association installed semi-formal park infrastructure to add some ambience to the lots, which have not been improved upon since the Three Gables Hotel burned in 2000, reported planning manager Blake Laven, who added their use as an informal parking lot caused confusion with users.
City staff has met with the property owner several times in the 16 years since the hotel burned, while the property served as an informal parking lot. The owner would like to charge for parking, but in order to do so must bring the lot up to bylaw standards with respect to creating a permanent surface, proper drainage, landscaped islands and lighting. The owner was reluctant to invest the money, saying he did not wish to spend money on a property up for sale.
Staff urged council to approve the request, noting the property would be improved to a certain minimum standard for parking. It would also help clean up a site often viewed as unkempt, ultimately being an improvement over the status quo, which, Laven noted, “just isn’t working right now.”
Laven said other development sites in the downtown core utilized a similar arrangement to what was being proposed, which included cleaning up the existing site, levelling the lot, providing a topcoat, wheel stops and signage.
Downtown Penticton Association executive director Kerry Milton told council she was glad to see something happen with the property, noting the benches installed attracted the wrong crowd.
“Everyone wants something done,” she said.
Councillors had varying opinions about the matter, ultimately deferring their decision to opt for further information. The variance request will come back to council by the September 28 regular meeting.
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