The plan for the property between Canadian Tire and Kal Tire shows the site for the proposed Ashley Furniture store in blue, with a future Phase 2 building below it and a future Phase 3 building to the left. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Rezoning to accommodate Ashley Furniture store highlights traffic concerns

Developer would like covenant requiring traffic study to exclude furniture store site

Traffic on busy 10th Street SW might be the only speed bump affecting city council’s approval of an Ashley Furniture store in Salmon Arm.

Although councillors at the Feb. 18 planning meeting gave unanimous approval to forward the store’s rezoning application to the Feb. 24 council meeting, traffic was a key topic.

The rezoning from C7, shopping centre commercial, to C3, service commercial, of the 3.6-acre vacant lot at 521 10th St. SW would allow one acre to be subdivided off for the furniture store.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, told the meeting there is a significant covenant on the entire property preventing any subdivision or development until an updated traffic study is filed with the city.

Consequently, modifying the covenant has been proposed to allow for the one acre. It would be modified to say the building can only be used as a furniture store. Meanwhile, the original covenant requiring a traffic study would stay on the remaining 2.6 acres.

The site plan shows a Phase 2 future building to the south of the proposed furniture store and a Phase 3 future building to the west.

“This is not easy for staff to recommend support of,” Pearson said. “When Kal Tire was built, that’s when this covenant was put on this property that exists now because of concerns about increased traffic, traffic generations, the intersections at Fifth and 10th which are probably at failure mode right now…”

Read more: Ashley Furniture store proposed for Salmon Arm

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Read more: 2014 – Kal Tire moving ahead

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also has a similar covenant requiring a traffic study before any further subdivision or development.

Pearson said he thinks the ministry is in the same mindset as city staff; it is prepared to support an amendment lifting the covenant on the furniture store’s one acre and keeping it on the rest of the property.

Bill Laird, who owns the 3.6 acres, said the furniture store will not create any more accesses onto 10th. He said the subdivision is necessary because the person who wants to put up the 20,000-sq.-ft. Ashley Furniture store wants to own it, so the one acre has to be separate.

“We’ve followed all the city bylaws and requirements for landscaping, parking, access,” Laird added.

A 2014 traffic study was prepared prior to the opening of the new Kal Tire location on 10th Street SW, in which a signalized intersection was recommended for 10th Street and Fifth Avenue SW.

Since then, city staff have considered a traffic circle as a more viable option, given that the intersection is relatively close to another signalized intersection: 10th Street and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Future issues to be resolved will include when and what the traffic solutions will be and who will pay for them – the city, a developer, or the city and a developer.

Councillors had several questions, which may be revisited at council’s Feb. 24 meeting. Mayor Alan Harrison and Couns. Debbie Cannon and Chad Eliason were absent.

A public hearing will be held at council’s March 9 meeting.

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