Foothills plan stalls
Land use planning for a Vernon neighbourhood is getting a rough ride.
City council was highly critical of a draft Foothills neighbourhood plan presented by staff Tuesday.
“There’s too much of a gap between what the community wants and what the plan gives them,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.
“We’re not there yet with the plan. Residents are feeling that they haven’t been heard as much as they felt they should have been heard.”
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, council members received a letter from some Foothills residents expressing concerns about the draft plan.
“They think we have missed critical elements — a large park and one of the medium density areas being in the wrong location,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol.
A primary concern is a shift from single-detached housing to multi-family units.
“With the community against row housing, is there another way to achieve density? We don’t want to lose the look and feel of the community,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe.
Staff insisted that the draft plan was developed based on input from Foothills residents.
“Is it everything the public wants, no. Is it what we believe is the best compromise to provide services and amenities, yes it is,” said Kim Flick, community development manager.
Staff says that residents have asked for transit and there is a need for sewer and water lines, but a higher population base is required to make those services financially viable for developers and city taxpayers.
Ultimately, council instructed staff to go back to the drawing board and hold another public input session before a bylaw process begins.
“Having one more meeting with the residents will be a benefit. If we don’t, a public hearing could be a gong show,” said Quiring.
O’Keefe believes more needs to be done to address residents’ concerns.
“I’d like visuals to show how the density being proposed will fit into their community,” she said.