Vernon council reject 56-unit housing development - InfoNews

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Vernon council reject 56-unit housing development

One of the biggest criticisms was that the street is too narrow.
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August 21, 2019 - 5:07 PM

VERNON - Vernon council has rejected a 56-unit housing development proposed for 20 Street.

Council voted against rezoning the roughly two-acre site following a public hearing Aug. 19, quashing the developer's plan to replace the existing single-family home with over a dozen fourplex units on the site.

"It's an unbelievably tough one for us," Councillor Brian Quiring told council.

Councillor Kari Gares shared Quiring's sentiment telling council, "this is not an easy decision."

The development proposed for 4403 20 Street, would see 14 individual buildings, each containing four units. The building's height would be capped at two-and-a-half stories, with the majority of units being two-bedrooms. In addition to the housing, the site would also contain 96 parking stalls.

The discussion from members of the public who spoke at the hearing and from councillors centred around increased traffic on the narrow road and the development's location across from Harwood Elementary School.

"I have not heard one person in favour of this," one resident told council.

Quiring pointed out the best place to locate affordable housing is across from a school as this allowed children to walk to school.

"It's smart growth... it's good land use... the problem is the street is too narrow," he said.

Councillor Scott Anderson agreed, saying the infrastructure wasn't "up to the task" and that the street which was narrowed several years ago should not have been changed.

While the Official Community Plan identifies the area for more densification, Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming disagreed.

"I think this is not the place to increase density," Cumming said.

Coun. Gares pointed to the need for affordable housing which she said was "vastly missing" in the community, although she shared many of the residents' concerns about the development.

In the end, the rezoning didn't pass, with Coun. Gares and Coun. Quiring the only councillors voting in favour. Councillor Akbal Mund was absent from the meeting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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