Housing concept opposed

A development on a parcel in Trout Creek will add 31 single family homes, but residents are concerned some of the lots will be too small.

A development on a 3.2-hectare parcel in Trout Creek near Powell Beach will add 31 single family homes to the neighbourhood, but residents are concerned some of the lots will be too small for the area.

On Monday, municipal council approved the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw amendments for the proposed development on Dale Avenue.

The property is zoned agricultural, but it is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Brad Elenko, representing the developers, said two open houses were held over the past year and a half. As a result of public input, the developers will not have multi-family housing in the development.

Instead, all properties are in the RSD1, RSD2 and RSD3 single family designations.

Even with the changes, some of the lots are still too small for many who spoke at the public hearing on Monday evening.

The smallest properties, in the RSD1 zoning, would be smaller than 500 square metres, while the largest, in the RSD3 designation, would be more than 1,000 square metres.

Of the 31 lots in the proposal, 14 will be RSD1.

“I don’t see that as being appropriate at all for the Trout Creek area,” said Art More. “I think it’s going to devalue a lot of the lots in the area.”

Vic Jensen, another Trout Creek resident, said the higher density would change the character of the neighbourhood. It will also affect the ambiance in Powell Beach Park.

Marcia Dean said there are no RSD1 lots in Trout Creek at present.

She added that the small lots will result in cottage developments, rather than homes with permanent residents.

Marilyn Hansen said Trout Creek residents do not want RSD1 lots. Instead, they want larger lots and green spaces in the area.

Sharon Mansiere said the RSD1 designation is best suited for areas closer to urban services, not in an outlying area.

“We shouldn’t be doing RSD1 in a satellite area,” she said.

Those who supported the proposal and the smaller lots said it would help to bring families to the area.

Peter McIntosh of Penticton, who wants to move to Trout Creek, said the subdivision would give potential homeowners a price point to move in to the area.

Sam Elia said the proposal is a good use of the land and a good infill proposal. It would also be a benefit to Trout Creek School and the local infrastructure.

Toni Brown said the high cost of housing in Trout Creek keeps young families away from the area.

“The young families have disappeared from Trout Creek because it’s not an affordable area,” she said.

Developers said if all lots in the development were RSD2, the development would have two fewer lots.

Members of council said the development will be a benefit to the community.

Coun. Lloyd Christopherson said Summerland has the highest average housing prices in the South Okanagan.

“Summerland is facing a crisis of affordable housing,” he said. “It’s very difficult for young families starting out in Summerland.”

Coun. Orv Robson said the RSD1 lot size is becoming more prevalent in the community. The difference in the number of lots with or without the smaller properties is minimal, he added.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the plan is the best use of the land.

The bylaw readings received unanimous council approval.