The second phase of an affordable housing project in Vernon has been green-lighted by council.
A development permit and development variance permit application for a 35-unit low-rise residential building for the Vernon Native Housing Society behind the Landing Plaza in the 5500 block of 27th Avenue passed by a margin of 5-1 Tuesday, Sept. 7, with Coun. Scott Anderson opposed.
The parcel is beside a four-storey, 38-unit residential building called Thunderbird Manor, also operated by the native housing society, which opened in June 2020.
The building, which will feature one-to-four bedroom suites, will be operated by the Vernon Native Housing Society as a low-cost rental building.
“As home prices and rent costs rise, the provision of affordable rental housing options is becoming a critical priority within the Okanagan,” says a report to council prepared by New Town Services and spoken to at council by Jesse Alexander.
“This project aims to help fill that housing gap, similarly to the first phase on the property immediately north.”
The structure has been designed with significant contemporary influence and hosts a very modern appearance. Exterior finishes include the use of wood and stone textures to provide a high-quality appearance.
Landscaping will be robust in nature and includes tree plantings within side yards to ensure screening and privacy for adjacent properties.
An onsite playground with an adjacent seating amenity area is targeted towards family wellbeing and enjoyment.
Parking is provided via surface stalls behind the building to be less visible from the street.
The variance requests deal with increasing the height of the building from four to five storeys, parking and deck encroachment.
City staff recommended supporting both applications.
A number of people spoke out against the project, mainly people affected by the proposed plan in the neighbourhood.
One gentleman spoke on behalf of his in-laws, who came up with a list of nine concerns about the project from well water to balcony clutter.
Another would-be neighbour was concerned about the noise levels coming from Phase 1 with people talking on their balconies.
“It’s like they’re having a conversation in their back yard, we can hear it all,” he said.
Coun. Kari Gares said the city needs more of these type of developments. “But we should also consider how it affects the neighbours,” she said.
Anderson said there is more than one way to increase housing stock in the city.
“This is for a specific building and a bunch of neighbours are directly affected,” he said.