With some disappointment from Penticton council on the height and density of the building, a developer got the green light to build a 16-unit, six-storey apartment building at 914, 920 and 926 Churchill Avenue.
Three councillors and the mayor spoke about how developers are continually coming to council pushing the limits of allowance to maximize the size of their buildings while not taking into account the quality of living for residents or the surrounding community.
Following a public hearing on the development that saw several neighbouring residents cite concerns, council gave the apartment second and third reading Tuesday night.
“This property is an example of an issue we’ve been seeing. They build to the limit of the lot with little thought given to quality of life of residents,” said coun. Julius Bloomfield.
“We heard repeatedly (at the public hearing) that six storeys is too big. This development is taking every square inch, with trees removed and minimal landscaping. I know developers are in the business of making money but I’d still like more considerations for our community,” said coun. Judy Sentes. “Look at Vancouver where every house is built right to the property line.”
Coun. Katie Robinson said she’d like to see the building be four storeys but also recognizes that Penticton is ‘desperate for housing.’
Churchill is a narrow street and during the public hearing council watcher Lynn Kelsey worried about whether transit buses can get around.
The six storeys were of concern for several residents and councillors who thought it might be better at four-storeys.
Churchill has urban residential designation in the OCP for up to six-storey buildings, said city staff.
Another concern was because of the close proximity to the lake, will the units turn into vacation rentals which don’t do anything for the housing stock in Penticton, said one resident.
Penticton’s housing does allow for vacation rentals including this proposal, said Blake Laven, director of development services.
The building would be located on the south side of Churchill Avenue, between Alberni Street and Sydney Street, providing what the applicant calls a “beautiful, filtered view of the lake and valley” from the second floor up.
The applicant plans on providing 20 parking spaces at the building.
One resident spoke against the development because of the increase in traffic. Parking in that area is already a problem.
When there are events on Lakeshore, parking becomes even worse, one resident said at the hearing.
The North Gateway plan will add up to 2,250 new units within the area, as well as nearly 350 hotel rooms.
Laven said Penticton is seeing and will see “a lot of growth.”
“We have a plan in place to manage that growth,” he said.
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