PENTICTON - Concerns about Penticton’s low vacancy rate, and the need to increase its tax base, were key factors in city council’s decision to approve a zoning amendment on Kinney Avenue last night.
The 2.3 -acre property is located at 175 Kinney Ave. and the zoning amendment will allow medium density, multiple housing on what was formerly large lot residential zoning.
During council discussions last night, Nov. 2, the need for rental units in the city was a focus of council in their questions to staff, with Mayor Andrew Jakubeit pointing out the tax revenue that would be generated through development of the property, which presently contains one single family dwelling.
The move facilitates Broadstreet Properties/Seymour Pacific Development's desire to build two, six-storey apartment buildings on the property, which is located between Cherry Lane Towers and Parkway Elementary School. The property is also situated within the Cherry Lane urban village, outlined in the Official Community Plan for future high density development.
The two buildings will contain 119 units, including one, two and three bedroom apartments.
A rendition of the proposed development appears to be similar to one the same developer is building on Duncan Avenue, a five-storey, twin complex containing 99 units.
Construction value of the project is estimated at $9 million with over $659,000 in development cost charges. The city expects to see $39,615 a year in taxes based on the 2016 tax rate.
At open houses held in June, and during a public hearing held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Tuesday evening, Nov.1, negative feedback heard by council included a desire for the property to become parkland, and concerns neighbouring high-rise views would be obstructed. Concerns were also expressed about an increase in traffic on Kinney Avenue, considered a residential collector street.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says the city attempted to purchase the property for park purposes but couldn’t agree on a price with the property’s estate. In 2014 council passed a resolution to change the land use designation from park to medium density residential, which is in-line with the proposal before council.
Jakubeit says he would prefer something smaller than the six storey buildings being proposed.
Coun. Max Picton says he would endorse the project because families needed places like this to live in the community.
“The more we close the door on these types of projects, the more we lose residents from my demographic,” he said, noting many of his friends have left the city over the year because of a lack of affordable housing opportunities.
Coun. Judy Sentes agreed, saying the development helped fulfill a need for the entire community.
Coun. Tarik Sayeed was concerned the rental units would eventually be sold off, insisting on a 10-year rental commitment from the developer.
Council agreed in a 6-1 vote, Jakubeit opposed, to allow the rezoning, adding two amendments to include a traffic impact study and a requirement for the development to remain as rental apartments for 10 years.
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