Plans for medium density residential development near Foothill Road SW won’t be proceeding.
At its Aug. 22 meeting, Salmon Arm council voted against an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment for an approximately four-acre parcel at 2371 14th St. SW.
The application, from owner M. Kolenosky and Franklin Engineering Ltd., proposed changing the OCP designation from low- to medium-density residential, and the zoning from single-family to medium-density residential.
An initial concept provided to the city showed 66 units on the land, which could be in the form of multi-family dwellings and/or bare-land strata single-family dwellings.
A public hearing was held prior to the vote. Council received several letters and presentations from residents opposed to the amendment, voicing concern over the number of units and the impact to traffic on Foothill.
“I see nothing but accidents and I see nothing but liability for the city,” said Kathryn Vennard, who lives near the property.
Other neighbours said the proposed development would be ill-suited to the character of the neighbourhood and pointed out it is not supported by the OCP.
Franklin Engineering’s Samantha Mitchell said the city’s OCP is overdue for a review and that she assumed “changes are coming soon to the OCP to keep Salmon Arm in line with expected regional growth.”
“We can’t alter the OCP overnight but I do feel it’s reasonable to do it responsibility, one parcel at a time,” said Mitchell, adding development of the lot would probably come regardless.
Asked how many lots could be developed if the property remained R1, Mitchell said between 22 and 30.
Coun. Sylvia Lindgren echoed residents’ concerns about density and safety.
“I think that our infrastructure in this area is not ready for this number of houses to be built there,” she said. “Foothill Road is not a well-developed collector road with sidewalks and bike paths and things that make it safe.”
Mayor Alan Harrison also spoke in favour of upholding the existing OCP and commended the residents who shared their concerns.
“You people did your homework, you know what you’re talking about and I appreciate that,” said Harrison.
The only councillor in favour was Chad Eliason, who spoke to the need of affordable housing. He said by allowing R4, the city would be looking at “saleable units for young families to be buying their first home,” priced somewhere between $500,000 and $650,000 – as opposed to $1 million homes in R1.
“We have to do not just what is right by the official community plan, we also have to look and see what is right by our community and will serve our community,” said Eliason. “We need houses that aren’t just rentals. We need houses that people can try and buy to move in and live in Salmon Arm.”
Regarding the OCP, councillors encouraged the public to participate in the review when it occurs.
“I want to make sure all of the people that are in the neighbourhood realize… we are constrained by Crown land, constrained by agricultural land, and we don’t have a lot of flat, easy-to-develop land left,” said Coun. Kevin Flynn. “So when we do the OCP review, that is the time to be involved.”
With files by Martha Wickett.
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