September 07, 2016 - 1:10 PM
PENTICTON - Residents opposed to a proposed apartment development of Scott Ave. made their feelings known to Penticton City Council with a large number of residents turning up to voice their concerns at a public hearing over the matter.
A proposed apartment complex at 273 Scott Ave. had been apposed by the street’s residents in three previous manifestations before council as developer Paul Singla put forward another variation of a building design, containing 16 rental units, which he hoped would win over neighbouring residents.
Last night’s presentation was not enough of an alternative to previous designs to change the minds of residents, however. Several neighbours stood up to object to the size of building proposed for a long, narrow lot with limited back alley access.
Concerns over traffic, parking, views, and size of the building topped the list for those opposed, which included nearby resident John McKee, who said the size of the building would block the sun and views of the hills on his property, affecting his and his wife’s quality of life.
“I don’t think the area’s economy hinges on this development,” he said, in response to developer Singla’s claim the complex would add much needed rental units to the city’s accommodations inventory, a sentiment also echoed by staff, who recommended approval of the project.
Scott Avenue resident Doug Tardif noted Tuesday evening’s pubic hearing was the fourth time residents had come before council to argue against the project, saying the developer was “uncompromising in his goal to shoehorn 16 units on a lot too narrow for it.”
Speaking to his project, developer Singla said a one-bedroom apartment in the proposed building would rent for $800 monthly, utilities included. Project architect Norman Goddard said the city could presently handle up to 150 more rental units in response to a question by Coun. Helena Konanz regarding market saturation.
The issue came back to council later in the evening during the regular council meeting. Coun. Judy Sentes said she was concerned about “this specific proposal for this specific site,” saying the project would overpopulate the lot it was on.
“Just because there’s a need for (rental housing) doesn’t mean you should support something that isn’t right,” she said, motioning to close and abandon the bylaw permitting the development.
Coun. Helena Konanz took the opposite stance, noting the city’s present rental rate and the fact that housing affordability was part of the city’s strategic plan.
“We have zero per cent rental rate, and we need to do something about that,” she said.
Council voted in favour of Sentes’ motion in a narrow 4-3 split.
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