Penticton city staff are recommending that council approve rezoning and variances to develop eight unit four storey apartment on iconic Lakeshore Drive. (Monique Tamminga Western News file photo)

Penticton council to decide on controversial Lakeshore development

The 8-plex development at 602 Lakeshore Dr. is going for final approval at Tuesday’s meeting

At the Tuesday, Jan. 18 meeting, Penticton city council will have to decide whether or not to approve a controversial eight unit apartment proposed for 602 Lakeshore Drive.

City planning staff recommend that council give fourth and final reading to the four-storey development, citing that the applicant has made some changes to address concerns raised at the public hearing.

The applicant is asking for rezoning from small-lot residential to medium-density multiple housing and had asked for four variance changes to build the housing.

The proposal went to public hearing Dec. 7 where council heard from 22 members of the public, with over 90 per cent opposed. One resident submitted two petitions, one carrying over 215 signatures.

Many residents expressed their concerns about the look of the development as yet another ‘box’ on Penticton’s most iconic street. Others say the complex takes up the whole lot with no green space and is too big. This will be the first time an 18 metre lot would get rezoning to RM3 (medium density residential), pointed out city coun. Frank Regehr.

READ MORE: Residents come out in opposition to 8-plex on Lakeshore Drive

Since the hearing, the Western News has had a large amount of letters to the editor submitted and printed opposing the project.

In the report going to council, staff say the developer has resubmitted the design and addressed some of the variance requests.

“While the overall look, feel and design of the building remains the same, the redesign has resulted [in changes to three variance requests].

The developer planned to pave the rear parking lot area. The revised plan is now to utilize permeable pavers and grass strips to alleviate concerns about increased hard surfacing and flooding.

The applicant has added 0.6 metres of landscaping which serve as bioswales to assist with storm water management. Staff noted these additions are not wide enough to be considered sufficient for the required buffer nor do they include any trees being planted but do address hard surfacing.

The developer has also removed an accessory building in the back.

The developer is still seeking a variance to the side yard. They want to reduce the required 4.5 metre setback to 3 metres.

In a letter to the city from Meiklejohn Architectural Design Studio (representing the applicant) it reads: “the re-application package and the scope of the changes made since the public hearing meets the spirit of the changes suggested by council needed for a successful fourth reading.”

“It shows that our team and our client have heard the concerns of the public and elected officials and have worked hard to give Penticton and Lakeshore Drive a project that sets the bar much higher for future applications.”

Cam Meiklejohn goes on to say that 602 Lakeshore is located in a stretch of 10 properties that the OCP earmark for densified development – urban residential.

The issue with Lakeshore Drive is that it is the showpiece of Penticton and a major tourist draw. But Penticton has set up no design guidelines for the street, as the developer pointed out in his presentation at the public hearing.

The city plans to look at design guidelines for Lakeshore and Front Street this year.

To tune in to the virtual council meeting click here.

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