If you farm on it, you can build on it
Oct 21, 2013 / 7:38 pm
Kelowna City Council has gone against a staff recommendation and endorsed construction of a second dwelling on a basil farm on Benvoulin Road.
Council's unanimous endorsement means the application will now go before the Agricultural Land Commission.
While applauding the farm owners for their entrepreneurial spirit in acquiring and working the farm, staff indicated it could not support the application for a second house on the property to house farm workers, in this case, the owner's daughter.
Environment and Land Use manager, Todd Cashin, stated a second dwelling would increase the value of the property from an estimated $1.465M currently to more than $1.7M, making it challenging for potential new owners in a re-sale scenario.
Cashin also stated a modular home or addition to the current home would be preferable, and less expensive, that a new home.
Further, Cashin indicated past decisions by previous councils have created situations where farm worker dwelling have become simple rental housing units, an illegal use within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
He also stated a decision could provide a dangerous precedent.
"We will sign whatever waiver you want me to sign. We will never rent it," owner Vince Curatolo told council.
"Why would we want strangers coming on our property," added his daughter, Juhlie Curatolo.
Curatolo purchased the 6.52ha property, situated on the west side of Benvoulin Road between KLO and Casorso roads, in 2010.
"Before we bought the property it was abandoned for the previous 30 or 40 years," says Curatolo.
Since purchasing the property, he has turned it into a successful basil farm and has intentions of expanding to garlic as well.
Curatolo also argued that construction of the new family home on the property a year ago was actually less expensive than a similar size modular home.
"I really don't see a lot of difference between a modular home and constructed home. If they can build it in a more cost effective basis then it's a better route to go," says Councillor Andre Blanleil in agreeing with the property owners.
"this kind of farming is extremely labour intensive and I think it's pretty amazing all the work they've done with that type of a market. I support it because it's a good use."
Councillor Gail Given agreed, adding she doesn't believe precedent will be an issue.
"I believe this would be an odd application for us to not support because they are truly putting the best advantage forward for agriculture. They are not only growing the product they are also adding value to the product," says Given.
"I don't worry about precedent setting because I think we deal with each applicant as they come forward. Folks that are clearly in the business of agriculture and know their business and are growing the opportunity to be able to farm profitably should be celebrated."
Regardless of the city's endorsement, the ALC has final say on the application.
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
Okanagan Regional Library
- Fire destroys trailer Dec 11
- Prolific offender in custody Dec 11
- Harvey rollover shuts down traffic at Ellis Dec 10
- Hockey Night in Canada's new tune? Dec 10
- Budget will cost you additional $45 Dec 10
- Cemetery eyes cost of living increases Dec 10
- Improvements to Centennial Hall, park Dec 10
- All aboard the Santa Sleigh Bus Dec 9
- FortisBC offers Union binding arbitration Dec 9
- Glenmore food drive tonight Dec 9