Penticton city council held an electronic public hearing Monday, May 11 where they heard more than 10 residents voice their concerns over a proposed development on the former Kampe property.
City council, staff and residents also heard from a representative from the development company Broadstreet Properties.
The city was looking for feedback on whether to allow two six-storey apartment towers offering a total of over 150 units on the property at 435 Green Avenue West previously owned by Penticton businessman and philanthropist David E. Kampe.
The property was for sale for $4.5 million and purchased by Broadstreet Properties who brought forward the request for rezoning to council on March 16.
Broadstreet Properties already owns two other apartments in Penticton — Ridgecrest Place at 151 Duncan Avenue and Valley Views Apartments at 185 Kinney Avenue.
The developer has applied to change the property’s current designation of small lot residential to a higher density urban residential property. But as council heard at Monday’s public hearing, many residents believe the proposal is “too drastic” for the area.
All residents speaking in opposition to the proposed development had similar concerns including the potential impact on traffic, environment, privacy, property value concerns and concerns over the “radical” departure from the Official Community Plan and zoning for the area.
“It’s unimaginable what this is going to do to the fabric of our lifestyle,” said nearby resident Anna Cameron. “I understand development is necessary but this is so overwhelming, I’m appalled that council members would consider this drastic of changes to the OCP.”
|A digital rendering of the proposed apartments at 435 Green Avenue West. (Broadstreet Properties)|
City council received 111 letters regarding the proposal. In addition to the aforementioned concerns, several letters expressed desire for the property be used as a public park. But that would require the city purchase the property themselves which taxpayers likely wouldn’t approve of, mayor John Vassilaki noted.
Development manager of Broadstreet Properties Rachel Ricard was the first to speak at the hearing.
Ricard tried to address the concerns of locals and listed several reasons the property is suitable for the proposed development including the property’s close to proximity to shopping, schools, employment opportunities, public transportation amenities and existing infrastructure.
“We feel the proposed rezoning is appropriate for this area,” said Ricard. “It’s clear that those in opposition are concerned about density, traffic and protecting the natural areas.”
In response to the public feedback the development company scaled back the amount of units from 158 to 151 and added additional parking.
A traffic impact assessment found that the proposed development would not add a significant delay for any residents in the area, said Ricard.
Nearby resident Lori Goldman was the first to voice her concerns about the environmental impacts and affordability of the development. Goldman asked if the developer could come to an agreement with the city that would designate a certain number of units as below market rate affordable housing if the city offered some sort of tax incentive in return.
Ricard confirmed the developers intentions to build only market rate units but said an affordable housing agreement might be considered in the future.
Jim Moring, who lives adjacent to the property, spoke on behalf of over 150 people in opposition of the development, he said. Moring had concerns that many people would not be able to voice their concerns due to the hearing being held over Zoom.
He also had issues with the amount of public consultation the city did on the proposal before approving first reading.
“Is this radical Official Community Plan proposed amendment a case of selling out the neighbors despite the numbers in opposition for a perceived greater good for the city?” Moring asked council members.
“Council may have the legal authority to push this proposal through but you don’t have the moral authority,” Moring continued “This proposal could and should have died two weeks ago.”
The city’s director of development services Blake Laven said just because council gives first reading to something doesn’t necessarily mean they support it.
Council will now review the proposal during Tuesday’s (today’s) meeting.