Penticton city council has kick-started the process to allow Poplar Grove Winery to construct a 20-room boutique hotel on its property following adjustments to the original plans.
At the meeting on June 18, council gave the final reading to a zoning amendment bylaw that would allow hotel use on the Lower Bench Road property which was previously zoned agricultural. The debate about allowing a hotel on the property has been a controversial one as one-third of the land resides in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and is subject to Agricultural Land Committee (ALC) regulations.
According to Blake Laven, planning manager for the city, the bylaw was last before council in April 2018 when it received its second and third reading, along with council’s support for a non-farm use application to the ALC submitted by the proponent.
“The ALC did not support the non-farm use application. In their letter explaining their decision, the commission determined that the land has good agricultural capability,” said Laven. “The commission noted that the land didn’t have farm status since its quite a small parcel. Because of this, it is not eligible for the agri-tourism accommodation provisions of the regulation, which are allowed by the act.
“The letter states that the committee considers the construction of a boutique hotel as inconsistent with preservation of agricultural land.”
The ALC’s letter also stated that the proposed hotel contained 10 more rooms than what would be permitted as agri-tourism on land with farm status.
|A look at which portion of the Poplar Grove Winery’s land resides within the ALR. (Image from City of Penticton)|
“The plans have been revised to remove the building from the ALR portion of the property, and the site design is consistent with the site specific provisions, so there doesn’t need to be any changes to the bylaw which was originally supported by council,” said Laven.
Laven said “the building has been shifted to the north,” while roughly half an acre of the southern portion of the property, which remains as part of the ALR, will be used for farming. A public hearing in relation to the construction of the hotel was held in May 2018 and Laven said five residents spoke in favour of the project, while nine were against it, with most being concerned with a commercial use on an agricultural property.
Before the hotel can begin construction, the winery will need to be granted a development permit by the city, meaning this debate will continue before council yet again.
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