Density topped neighbours’ concerns for Salmon Arm council during a rezoning hearing May 13.
Resident Wayne Raspberry was applying to have a 1.5-acre (6,082-square-metre) parcel at 1441-20th Ave. SE rezoned from R1, single family residential to R8, residential suite zone.
Now on the property sits one house set back from 20th Avenue SE.
A city staff report notes the parcel is designated low density residential in the city’s official community plan. It states 18 R-8 zoned parcels are currently within the vicinity of the parcel.
Although plans for the parcel are not a required component of the rezoning, the applicant made known that a seven-lot strata subdivision is proposed.
“My intention was to make some affordable housing for young families with an adult parent,” said Raspberry.
City staff reported that such a subdivision would also be permitted under the current zoning, just not the secondary suites.
Susan Housden, whose family lives on 13th Street SE, told council she was representing a very concerned group of neighbours who are unified in strongly opposing the R8 zoning next to their backyard fences.
She raised issues such as health and safety, noise, character of the neighbourhood with smaller lots added to existing larger ones, traffic and congestion, access for emergency vehicles, cutting down older-growth trees, displacing songbirds and animals and reducing property values.
Three other people also expressed their opposition, agreeing with Housden’s concerns and adding a couple more.
Other issues included the expectation that the area would remain single family when residents purchased their homes and the worry that short-term tenants in the suites would make bad neighbours.
Mayor and council addressed the concerns, their central reason for supporting the rezoning being the need to densify in order to utilize existing servicing and limited land.
Coun. Chad Eliason said Salmon Arm is now the fastest growing community in B.C. and new subdivisions have made it possible to house more people.
“Without this infill development, you guys wouldn’t have been able to move to Salmon Arm… These houses wouldn’t have been here…”
Coun. Tim Lavery noted there’s no way to move up the housing ladder if there’s no place to start.