East Hill project raises concern

This property on 25th Avenue is the subject of a public hearing on rezoning at Vernon city hall Monday.  - richard rolke/morning star
This property on 25th Avenue is the subject of a public hearing on rezoning at Vernon city hall Monday.
— image credit: richard rolke/morning star

A proposed development has some people concerned about the integrity of Vernon’s East Hill.

The city will hold a public hearing Monday on an application to rezone 2602 25th Ave. from large lot residential to four-plex housing. The plan is for two, four-unit buildings on the 0.3-hectare property.

“It will set a precedent for East Hill,” said neighbour James Nicholls.

“It’s a unique place in Vernon and East Hill is about older character homes with large lots. If this goes through, others with large lots may put in apartment blocks.”

Besides increasing the density of the neighbourhood, Nicholls is concerned the proposed development could lead to traffic problems.

“The drawings suggest that the land owner will release a large section of his property to the city for a possible 27th Street expansion in the future which has left little room for parking for the eight units,” he said.

“There are lots  of places to build in Vernon and I’m not sure why it has to be there.”

The strata development calls for townhouses and rancher-style dwellings.

“They would be high-end units and they will actually appreciate the values of surrounding properties,” said Bob Beckley, who owns and lives on the site.

He added the units will be geared towards people over the age of 55 and they won’t be rentals.

“One of the townhouses will be for ourselves.”

Beckley hopes the project will attract people who want to live close to downtown.

“It’s in conjunction with what the city is proposing downtown. All of the services are right here,” he said.

Each unit will have a double garage while there will also be visitor parking. East Hill’s architectural  styles will be incorporated into the designs.

“He (Beckley) wants to make it as nice as possible,” said Mark Budgen, a local architect involved in the project.

City staff is recommending council support the rezoning application.

However, staff wants a number of items  addressed, including road dedication to widen 27th Street, clarification of the parking design and elevation drawings to show the potential impact of the proposed development on the neighbourhood.

“As well, the north side of the proposed buildings, facing 25th Avenue, should have windows, articulation and, if possible, one or more front doors, to better match the existing residential streetscape,” said Brooke Marshall, the city’s environmental planner, in a report.

The public hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. at Vernon city hall.



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