Penticton council balks at size of proposed development for Kampe property | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton council balks at size of proposed development for Kampe property

Penticton city council denied approval of OCP and zoning amendments to allow redevelopment of the Kampe property at 435 Green Avenue West into two, six-storey apartment buildings at Tuesday's council meeting, May 18, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Penticton
May 20, 2021 - 7:30 PM

It seems inevitable the former Kampe property will be redeveloped, but not through the proposal that came before Penticton city council at this week’s council meeting.

Council was deadlocked in a 3 to 3 decision to give two readings to an Official Community Plan and zoning amendment to build 158 apartment units on the property owned by the late David Kampe at 435 Green Avenue West, but the tie meant the motion failed at Tuesday’s regular meeting of council.

Council members were more or less unanimous in their agreement the property will be redeveloped, but they couldn't agree to what extent, or size that redevelopment should be.

Tuesday’s decision followed a public meeting Monday night in which residents weighed in on the proposal, many of whom in the immediate vicinity of the development expressed opposition.

But city director of development services Blake Laven told council the public meeting was held to provide public engagement, not necessarily public approval of the proposal.

“It’s the first time we’ve used this type of engagement process on this type of development. We’re engaging the public to better inform the public of council’s decisions and the input helps to identify opportunities, challenges and solutions,” Laven told council.

A staff recommendation advised approval of second and third readings for the OCP and zoning amendments, but council couldn’t unanimously agree the project provided the right size and scope for the neighbourhood.

“The reason our rental rates are so high is because we don’t have any supply to meet the demand. I still don’t think we’ll meet it, but we are taking the right steps,” Coun. Campbell Watt said.

He said he felt staff had done a good job of siphoning through proposals to put together a “really good proposal for us.”

“This has been a difficult one for many of us to contemplate. We’ve heard comments about what a beautiful property it was, and how it should be left as it is. It’s a beautiful property because the deceased owner kept it in a beautiful way. It doesn’t mean subsequent owners are going to keep in any way the same shape,” Coun. Julius Bloomfield said.

He said the best use for the property was multi-family use, be that townhouses or apartments.

“This is the only plan that has reached our table for consideration,” he said, questioning when the next proposal might come along if council were to reject this one.

Bloomfield also noted Kampe was a developer and was “about development.”

“He kept a nice property, but didn’t insist it be kept in the same way he kept it,” Bloomfield said.

Coun. Katie Robinson said she also struggled with her decision.

She called the proposal unique because of the size and nature of the property.

“I’ve been trying to support and protect neighbourhoods for a very, very long time… I listened very carefully last night… these neighbourhoods aren’t against development, but it must fit, in character and scale, and we must be respectful of that.

I agree with the neighbourhood. This is too much density, all in one fell swoop, to put in two six storey apartment buildings… I just feel really uncomfortable about it,” Robinson said.

Coun. Frank Regehr called the Kampe lot “really special” as being available for development.

“I have no doubt it will be developed at some point,” Regehr said, but added the proposed apartment complex was "a bit bigger than I think the (development) transition should be.”

Mayor John Vassilaki and Couns. Regehr and Robinson opposed the recommended motion, which was defeated.

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