A zoning text amendment affecting the Summerland Waterfront Resort was denied by Summerland council on Feb. 8, 2021. The requested change would have allowed people to live at the resort year-round. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Zoning change request denied at Summerland Waterfront Resort

Change would have allowed owners to live at resort year-round

A proposed zoning amendment, to allow for year-round residential use at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, was denied by Summerland council at the Feb. 8 council meeting.

The resort, on Lakeshore Drive in Summerland, was created in 2000, with a second phase constructed in 2004. The zoning for the two phases allowed owners of the individual units to stay in their suites for a portion of the year, but not permanently.

The agreement for the first building allows owners to use their units for up to 180 days a year, with no more than 120 days in winter and no more than 60 days in summer. No use period may be more than 30 consecutive days.

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The second phase does not have the same limits but also permits only temporary use by the owners.

“The covenant, when read as a whole, makes clear that the units are to be used primarily for temporary tourist accommodation,” Brad Dollevoet, director of development services, said in a report to Summerland council.

However, over time, several owners have lived full-time in their units. In late 2019, the municipality was made aware of the issue by the resort’s strata council.

Seven of the unitholders in the second phase at the resort brought forward the zoning and Official Community Plan amendment request. The request was received by the municipality in November 2020.

Dollevoet said ongoing residential use of the units is not permitted under the zoning bylaw.

“It is clear that the OCP direction for the Tourist Commercial Designation exists to support tourism-related activities. The Summerland Waterfront Resort was approved with the intention to provide accommodation and amenities for the travelling public,” Dollevoet said in his report.

The resort employs 60 staff and provides 18,000 room-nights of an accommodation per year. The economic impact of the resort is estimated at $1.66 million a year.

Michael Drance, a resident of the resort, said a “zoning error” should be corrected in order to allow owners to continue living in their units. He added that he has spent more than 2,000 hours studying the zoning issue and has filed around 20 legal proceedings.

Summerland council was unanimous in denying the rezoning request for the property.

In addition to Drance, those affected by the rezoning denial include a single mother and a retired couple in poor health, who have been living at the resort permanently for years.

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