Opposition puts development on hold

Penticton council has put a freeze on a proposal to construct a two-storey development in the 800 block of Winnipeg Street after hearing from upset residents regarding the building’s design.

The plan, requiring council to rezone the parcel from RD (duplex) to CRM (commercial residential), was to build a 1,790 square foot building to accommodate a dental clinic.

According to city planning technologist Blake Laven, the municipality’s staff felt the proposed building would be an “appropriate amenity” for the neighbourhood.

“The size, scale and scope of the proposed commercial use is compatible with the character of the area,” reported Laven. “Although the proposed dental office will be the only commercial building in the immediate area, it will not be out of character with the neighbourhood.”

Laven said that although a single-detached house sits on the south side of the lot, to the north there is an eight-unit townhouse development and across Winnipeg Street and along Fairview Road there are a number of low-rise apartment buildings.

“Staff feel that the proposed use will not have a negative impact on the adjacent neighbourhood,” he said.

Many of the area’s residents saw it differently, including south-side neighbour Shirley Pretty, who argued that there are no buildings “even remotely resembling” the proposal between Eckhart Avenue and Fairview Road.

“This proposed dental office is ultra-modern, ugly and, from my prospective, looks like the back end of the police station,” she said, asserting the clinic would add extra traffic to what she described as “a busy and confusing intersection, compounded by the bus bay at the front.”

Pretty said the property should retain a residential use.

“I have no desire to live next door to a commercial building with a parking lot adjacent to my fence,” she said. “I want neighbours ... I want the peace of mind knowing that people live there.

“This proposal would reduce the value of my property and the quality of my life.”

When asked, Pretty said she would view a small multi-family residential proposal more favorably.

“I would be thrilled if it was a single-family dwelling or a duplex,” she said. “I don’t know if the size of the property would support a four-plex but if it were pleasing from my yard I might be all for it.”

Not rejecting the development proposal outright, council opted to send the plans back to the developer for redesigning. Coun. Garry Litke advised the developer to engage the neighbouring property owners in a discussion about the change in design.


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