Developer Bruce Schoenne was back before council with another mini-development, replacing a derelict home with two duplex units.
The property at 798 Revelstoke Ave. is now vacant but previously there was a single home on the property, which had become derelict.
“We are very glad to see it gone,” said Lynn Kelsey, who lives nearby, and spoke in favour of Schoenne’s plans. “We are trying to revitalize a lot of areas in Penticton. That area needs it badly.”
Rather than being oriented towards Revelstoke Avenue, the four duplexes will face the Penticton Golf and Country club, across Oakville Street.
“We had an option of doing two front-to-back duplexes, which would be oriented to the houses across the street, but then we figured it would be better if we turned the duplexes and showcased the golf course,” said Schoenne.
He pointed out that all the other homes in the area face each other, across the side streets. None make use of the views over the course.
“I think the best thing for the neighbourhood is to showcase the golf course. There is nothing else that is facing the golf course at this point,” said Schoenne. “In order to do that, we have to request there is no sidewalks along Oakville.”
That was a sticking point for city staff, who recommended council deny the sidewalk variance. Planning manager Blake Laven said staff didn’t have a problem with rezoning the property to low-density multi-family or reducing setbacks.
“The way the development is designed will never allow for sidewalks to be constructed on that street. That’s the one thing we are requesting, that council deny that part of the application and give some direction for staff to work with the developer on creating a plan that will, in the future or immediately, allow for sidewalks to be constructed on Oakville,” said Laven.
The lack of sidewalks was a concern to some area residents, who wrote letters to council protesting the variance.
“Pedestrian safety is the key issue. All pedestrian traffic on Oakville is currently on the street, which has become a fairly high-speed bypass to avoid the traffic lights at Eckhardt and Hwy. 97,” wrote George Bogan, who lives across the street from Schoenne’s property.
Schoenne countered that sidewalks could still be accommodated along the length of the golf course.
“That doesn’t mean that sidewalks can’t show up on Oakville Street, because we have the opportunity to put sidewalks across the street along the golf course,” said Schoenne. “In such an area that is limited in size, I don’t understand why we need sidewalks on both sides of the street.”
Considering the limited amount of sidewalks in the area, Schoenne said it would likely be a long time before there was any need for the sidewalks.
Coun. Judy Sentes noted that in her own neighbourhood, there is only a sidewalk along one side of the road.
“I would not support the staff recommendation the developer be held to the sidewalk requirement,” said Sentes. “In my experience, in my own neighbourhood, a sidewalk on one side is sufficient.
Council voted unanimously to allow all the changes, including the sidewalk variance.