PENTICTON - City council has decided the owner of a Penticton convenience store will not be able to rent trucks from the location.
The owner of The Rocky Store on Johnson Road, Sherlock Oh, wanted to rezone his property to allow for the U-Haul franchise, but neighbours at a recent public hearing made it clear they did not want the expanded business in their backyard.
A large number of neighbouring property owners took their turn at the microphone, most expressing their displeasure over the proposed amendment.
Common complaints were the unsightliness of the trucks in the parking lot, safety concerns for pedestrians from the nearby Haven Hill retirement complex, and suggestions the business belonged in an industrial area not a residential neighbourhood.
Resident Dennis O’Gorman argued the amendment should not be allowed on principle, calling the U-Haul business part of a service commercial zoning not normally associated with convenience stores.
“Do bylaws and guidance (documents) have any integrity?” he asked, adding an amendment of this nature would undermine the principle of “putting uses in appropriate locations.”
He said his argument had nothing to do with Oh’s character, it was about the principle of zoning and the Official Community Plan.
“Why have a planning department if everything goes?” he asked.
Oh made an impassioned plea begging council.
“Do not let me die out," he said. “I am trying to survive in the convenience store business. I can’t survive, that is the reality I’m facing. Please let me survive.”
Oh pointed to a 106-signature petition as proof of the acceptance of his business by Penticton residents, adding he would try to address the concerns of neighbours.
Coun. Judy Sentes said she had been waiting to hear what the neighbourhood had to say about the amendment before making up her mind, adding she had heard “loud and clear” it was not the right business for the neighbourhood.
Coun. Tarik Sayeed agreed, saying he was listening to the people of Penticton, while Coun. Max Picton said the application should never have gotten this far.
Council voted unanimously against the rezoning application.
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