A density rollback on a proposed residential development was cause for concern for one City of Salmon Arm councillor.
At its Feb. 16 meeting, the city’s Development and Planning Committee received a development permit application relating to a .46 hectare portion of a property at 2810 15th Ave. NE near Bastion Elementary.
The application was for a 12-unit residential development in the form of four triplex buildings. City Development Services Director Kevin Pearson explained the focus of the permit was the form and character of the development – not its density (residential unit numbers), which had changed from what the applicant, Uptown Ventures Ltd., had previously proposed for the property.
Pearson said the subject portion was initially rezoned to R5 High Density Residential to accommodate two four storey condominium or apartment type buildings. The R5 portion is about a third of the entire property being developed, the remainder being zoned R4 Medium Density Residential.
In his report to mayor and council, Pearson explains the proposed 12 units could fit within the R4 zone and be considered medium density.
Despite the intended focus of the discussion, Coun. Chad Eliason expressed discomfort with the reduction in residential units being proposed for the R5 lot.
“I get we need housing, I get we need things to move forward, but it’s almost like we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face and it concerns me a little bit…,” said Eliason. “I want to know what tools we have to make sure that the development we have zoned goes ahead as zoned.”
Pearson suggested a minimum density could be established for a zone, but warned it may not mesh well with market conditions.
The committee, including Eliason, supported the permit moving forward. Mayor Alan Harrison agreed it would be good to have a conversation around tools regarding high density, noting he would like to see a neighbouring property be used for high density.
“This area is R4, this kind of housing everywhere,” said Harrison. “I know the neighbours to the east, I believe there are some variances regarding the high density piece that was going to go in there and there was lots of concerns. I think this kind of housing is the same kind of housing that’s there already so it fits.”
Prior to giving his support, Eliason stressed council’s actions and decisions need to support the city’s policies.
“I don’t know if this is a compromise or if this going back on something we’ve been sort of supporting,” said Eliason. “I can’t see a better high density location in Salmon Arm that’s zoned R5.”