On Feb. 8, 2021 Salmon Arm council approved third reading of a rezoning and official community plan amendment for a potential 18-unit residential development at 1910 11th Street NE, next to the RCMP detachment. (City of Salmon Arm image)

On Feb. 8, 2021 Salmon Arm council approved third reading of a rezoning and official community plan amendment for a potential 18-unit residential development at 1910 11th Street NE, next to the RCMP detachment. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Council OKs housing next to Salmon Arm RCMP detachment despite noise concerns

Site near amenities, need for more affordable housing, noise mitigation plans convince politicians

A zoning change to accommodate a residential development next to the police station in Salmon Arm received city council’s unanimous approval, although the staff sergeant and city planning staff weren’t in favour.

Council gave third reading to a rezoning and official community plan (OCP) amendment for a 0.7-acre property at 1910 11th St. NE. It’s currently home to one house. The transportation ministry must provide its OK before final approval is given.

The OCP amendment changes the HC, commercial-highway service designation, to HR, high density residential. The zoning goes from R1, single family residential, to R5, high density residential. Initial plans were for 18 townhouse units.

In a letter to council, Staff Sgt. Scott West wrote of complaints from tenants on the property next to the RCMP detachment about noise and lights.

“Any residents to the west may be subject to direct noise and flashing strobe lights at all hours of the day and night…,” he explained.

West added that while officers are aware of the impact of their ‘Code 3’ responses on their neighbours, engaging emergency equipment is unavoidable as it is required by the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act; not doing so could constitute a form of negligence.

Read more: Building permits boom in Salmon Arm during January 2021

Read more: Majority of Salmon Arm council votes yes to controversial rezoning

In an email referring to council’s unanimous approval of the rezoning and OCP amendment, Mayor Alan Harrison said Debbie McGregor, owner of the property, appreciated West’s information, and has included fencing and noise abatement plans in construction.

Harrison said the project is similar to Copperview Corner, located close by at 2081 11th Ave. NE. He said council is working to meet all housing needs on the spectrum and this would provide good starter homes for young adults. He pointed out the property beside it was recently rezoned to R4, medium-density, as was the property diagonally across 11th.

“Overall, council felt this is a great place for infill, and for R-4 density as it is close to amenities, within walking distance of Askew’s Uptown/SASCU, recreation facilities and the college. Infrastructure is in place to handle increased density, so in many ways, the location is ideal,” Harrison wrote.

A report from city planning staff did not support the changes, stating the property is suited to commercial development.

However, in a follow-up to Monday’s meeting, Kevin Pearson, director of development services, wrote: “It wasn’t one I adamantly opposed but the proximity to the TCH and RCMP, and the land itself, seems slightly more suited for commercial, in my opinion.”

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