Tuesday evening, Penticton city council is pulling up stakes and moving the operation to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
They’re expecting an especially large turnout for a public hearing on a property at 175 Kinney Ave., where developers are looking to rezone it and build two six-storey rental apartment buildings with underground and surface parking.
The property, bordered by Cherry Lane Towers, Parkway Elementary and Lions Park, is within the Cherry Lane Urban Village outlined in the Official Community Plan, which identifies the area surrounding the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre for future higher density development.
This is not the first time a proposal to develop the 2.25 acre lot generated controversy in council chambers. In 2014, about 100 people turned out to protest a proposed 90-unit condominium on the lot.
Many of the speakers said their homes were in the towers, saying they had consulted with the city before purchase and had been assured the lot would become a park.
Though there was a private residence on the lot, it had been designated on the OCP for future parkland for 26 years. The city never managed to meet the purchase price set by the owners of the property. They finally requested the city remove the parks designation and rezone the property for development.
Council of the day voted against rezoning the land, but did vote to remove the future park designation, freeing up the owners to sell or develop the land.
“The city can’t afford to pay for it,” said John Vassilaki — still a councillor in 2014 — adding that the owners wanted up to $3.5 million. “We were voted into office to make decisions that are in the best interest of this community, not one group.”
The public hearing for 175 Kinney Ave. gets underway at 6 p.m. in the Trade and Convention Centre.