Residents opposed to the conversion of a duplex to a fourplex at 418 Ninth Avenue South walked away with smiles on Tuesday as Creston town council defeated a zoning amendment bylaw proposal.
During a public hearing that lasted more than an hour, developer Jake Taylor defended his application, saying that it provided for on-site parking in excess of town requirements and that it met the objectives of the official community plan.
Residents opposing the application, which would have allowed the owners to develop the building’s basement and unused space to create four rental units in the existing duplex, argued that the addition of rental units would add to traffic and parking congestion.
The public hearing began on Jan. 28, but was recessed at the request of the developer, who said he would meet with neighbours in attempt to address their concerns. At Tuesday’s meeting, however, municipal services co-ordinator Ross Beddoes said that the 20 neighbours nearest to the duplex had signed letters or petitions in opposition to the request for a zoning variance. Only one owner of a property within the immediate area spoke in favour of the application.
Following the public hearing, Coun. Judy Gadicke said that she was generally in favour of the rezoning and development variance requests, but that the neighbours’ opposition had to be considered.
“I am very concerned about the neighbour’s opposition,” Coun. Scott Veitch agreed. “It’s pretty signfificant.”
Coun. Tanya Wall said that parking problems could actually increase if the application was denied.
“The developer could add two more bedrooms to each existing unit and rent to younger people with larger families,” she said. “And those residents could have more cars than the seniors who are now renting. I want to say ‘yes’ to the application but on the condition that additional on-site parking be added.”
Wall was the only supporter of the application when the question on the motion was called. All other councillors, including Wesly Graham, who participated in the meeting via speakerphone from Cranbrook, were opposed.
•Mayor Ron Toyota accepted a cheque for $30,000 from FortisBC representative Doug Lamminem, a rebate representing cost savings resulting from upgrades to the waste water treatment plant. Lamminem said there could be another cheque in the near future.
•Bhar Sihota, the town’s research and legislative analyst, and Jesse Willicome, Youth Engagement Strategy project liaison, updated council on the Creston and Area Youth Engagement Strategy.
•A look at possible designs for new banners on light poles along the Highway 3 corridor through Creston failed to impress councillors. Recommended to reinforce the Creston Valley brand, the designs presented by the Chamber of Commerce’s Jim Jacobsen, include wording on one side and a logo on the other, and are much less colourful than the banners they are intended to replace. Town manager Lou Varela said there would be more opportunity for consultation if funding is approved to have new banners made. An application to purchase up to $10,000 worth of banners has been made to the Regional District of Central Kootenay Community Development Program.
•A professional review will be undertaken to explore options to renovate the Creston fire hall.
•Toyota will represent the Town of Creston on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area interpretation centre committee.
•The Town of Creston will collaborate with the Lower Kootenay Band to host multiple Olympic medal winner Clara Hughes during her crosscountry bicycle tour of Canada on May 26. Clara’s Big Ride is a 12,000-kilometre tour to raise support for mental health in communities. A welcome celebration will be planned.