Project draws a crowd
Residents of one East Hill neighbourhood appear united in opposition to a proposed development.
About 40 people attended a public hearing at Vernon city hall Monday with most speaking against possible rezoning at 2602 25th Ave. to allow for two four-plexes.
“The ambience of Pine Grove would be lost forever,” said Lee Cottingham, referring to the traditional name for the neighbourhood.
The primary concern about the proposed multi-family project is the neighbourhood currently consists of single-family residences and many of them follow heritage-style architecture.
“We’re not against development,” said resident Henk Bosman.
“We’ve seen subdivisions in our neighbourhood before but they fit into our neighbourhood.”
While the developer has suggested those who purchase the units will primarily walk to downtown services, some residents question that view.
“Why then would each of these homes have two-car garages?” said Susan Abbott.
Other concerns revolve around traffic and the possible loss of mature trees.
City staff have recommended that council approve the rezoning from large lot residential to four-plex housing. However, they want changes to the layout of the development and the design.
“It’s not sensitive to the character of the neighbourhood,” said planner Dale Rintoul.
Bob Beckley, who owns the property and plans to live in one of the units if the project proceeds, defends the proposal.
“I’m not a big-time developer. I’m not in it to make a big pile of money. I want to stay on East Hill,” he said during the hearing.
Beckley is convinced a multi-family development could benefit the community.
“The vision of the city is to promote and revitalize downtown,” he said.
“You need more people living in the area so they can leave their cars at home.”
He added that the development would allow him to take care of problems that have been occurring on the west side of the property.
“I have found a shelter a homeless person built there and drug paraphernalia.”
In terms of a possible redesign, Beckley is open to suggestions.
“If that is what it takes to get this passed, we will take a look at the heritage aspect,” he said.
City council is expected to consider Beckley’s rezoning bylaw application July 25.