Proposed Amendment to Salmon Arm Official Community Plan for High Density Housing – Salmon Arm Observer

Salmon Arm Council is considering increasing the density of a lot in the 1100 block of NE 18th Street near the RCMP detachment.

The 2.2 acre parcel is currently designated as Medium Density Residential in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoned R4, Medium Density Residential.

In 2021, council approved a development permit for a 30-unit project on the site consisting of a mix of duplexes, triplexes and townhouses. However, this permit has not yet been issued.

At the town planning and development department meeting on April 4, owner/applicant Canzea Developments Ltd. returned for an OCP and rezoning to high-density residential, R5, for a 0.66-acre portion of the property in the southeast corner.

The larger 1.6 acre portion of the site would remain medium-density residential with duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes, while the smaller portion would then house a multi-family building of approximately 24 units.

A total of 50 units are offered for the entire site.

The Planning Department noted that if the OCP amendment and rezoning application are approved, the developer has indicated that it will subdivide the property in question to create two separate development sites.

The Planning Department’s report expressed support for the plan, noting that within the urban area, multi-family development is strongly encouraged in areas along corridors where public transit, pedestrian access routes and services are available. The proposed site is close to public transit, pedestrian access routes, commercial development and schools.

The majority of council voted to forward the request to the next council meeting on April 11 for first reading. The second reading would take place at the next council meeting, followed by a public hearing.

Com. Tim Lavery voted against the OCP change and rezoning, saying he’s as much in favor of multi-family housing as the next person. However, he said a change to the OCP should merit careful discussion on both sides of 11th Avenue NE during an OCP review, as residents make decisions based on current designations.

Mayor Alan Harrison and other members of council expressed the reasons for their support. Com. Chad Eliason mentioned the great need in the community for high-density multifamily housing. Com. Kevin Flynn expressed his support, adding that he was glad the requester mentioned the possibility of underground parking. Com. Debbie Cannon also agreed, saying that’s what’s missing from the city’s housing inventory.

Com. Louise Wallace Richmond said it’s important people have a choice of housing diversity, so they can access as many neighborhoods as possible. Com. Sylvia Lindgren has indicated that she would like more forested areas to remain, which is possible with the smaller footprint of multi-family dwellings.

Mayor Harrison said council hasn’t made many amendments to the OCP and that council will speak to the community at the next OCP review. He asked staff to describe the process for this request so that the public has an opportunity to provide feedback.

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