Zoning changes for Summerland development

A proposed development along Wharton Street is one step closer to becoming a reality after a public hearing.

A proposed development along Wharton Street is one step closer to becoming a reality after a public hearing was held to consider changes to the zoning of the property.

The zoning changes reduce the number of storeys from seven to five.

The building height, at 24 metres, likely would not be reached with the first building.

The floor area ratio was reduced from 2.95 to 2.5.

Speaking at the public hearing, Brian Adams said municipal council must proceed carefully.

“The last time Summerland got involved with this property, it turned into a mess,” he said.

Several years ago, another developer was interested in a seven-storey development for the same location. The building was to house the museum and library in addition to residential units.

The plan for that project expired on Jan. 15, 2011 with no agreement reached and no work started.

Patrick Murphy said he supports the development.

“It looks pretty promising and I want it to continue,” he said.

Wilfred Barranoik of Westrand Consulting Group Inc. said the project will be important for the community’s economy.

“We want something to develop here and show we’re open for business,” he said.

Randy Gibson, one of the developers, said the zoning change is a necessary step in order to have the project move forward.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said the bylaw was to modify the zoning of the property, not to approve a development.

“The issue tonight is on the land use,” he said. “The development is a separate issue.”

Mayor Janice Perrino said at present, there is no deal on the table.

Members of council supported the changes.

Coun. Bruce Hallquist said the proposed development will benefit the downtown area.

“The development of this land will enhance the commercial activity and the commercial development of the downtown area,” he said.

“I think we’re going to be looking at a very favourable development,” added Coun. Peter Waterman.

“This will bring benefits to the downtown core, and that’s exactly what we need,” Perrino said.

Coun. Orv Robson said the project will bring further benefits to the downtown area in the future.

The zoning bylaw passed second and third readings at the Monday evening council meeting.

Approval from the provincial highways ministry was required before the bylaw could be adopted.

The approval was received on Tuesday morning and the bylaw is slated for final reading at the next municipal council meeting on May 14.