'Urban creep' into agricultural land continues in Kelowna - InfoNews

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'Urban creep' into agricultural land continues in Kelowna

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January 10, 2017 - 7:30 PM

KELOWNA - Protecting agricultural land was back up for debate yesterday with a tricky rezoning application that councillors agreed could go either way.

City of Kelowna councillors were asked to allow the residential use of a carriage house on a June Springs Road property. The question is whether the one bedroom suite could be used solely to house farm help or if it opens the door to just another house on agricultural land.

The building is currently used as a work shop, office space and has a one bedroom suite upstairs. The rezoning would legitimize the suite. Currently no one lives there.

Councillors were divided on the issue, some saying they failed to see the hindrance the rezoning would cause, while others said it raised concerns.

Coun. Ryan Donn said he was concerned that the approval of the carriage house benefited the home owner more than the agricultural land.

“Does this benefit agriculture?” he said at Monday’s council meeting. “No, it benefits the land owner."

Coun. Luke Stack said approving the application could lead to urbanization in farming areas.

“It’s a reminder to me why we shouldn’t support permanent farm help on properties because ultimately it will lead to urban housing,” Stack said.

But those concerns weren’t enough to sway the vote and the rezoning application was granted with stipulations. Five councillors voted in favour and two against.

Those in favour of the proposal say a carriage house would not break any laws because the main home does not have an additional suite.

Further complicating the matter, however, is the fact the property is in the process of being sold. Mayor, Colin Basran said although the property was rezoned, it would be difficult to monitor the conditions in which the rezoning was granted.

“I struggle with the future of the property,” he said.

The 6.43 acre property, located at 4077 June Springs Road, is currently used for small scale farming. 

After purchasing the property in 2004, the owners have grown a food garden, small nursery, a berry field and have a small coup of chickens. 

Their produce supplies local landscapers as well as their own needs.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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