Variance allows taller homes on Turtle Mountain despite neighbours' concerns

Hillside homes approved

Vernon city council allowed a relatively minor variance for a townhome development on Turtle Mountain, Monday – but not before hearing concerns over the project from neighbours.

Councillors unanimously approved a staff recommendation allowing homes in a new development at 4300 35th Avenue to be three storeys instead of 2.5. Buildings will still be lower than the maximum allowable height of 10 metres.

It’s located on steep and rocky land between the Turtle Mountain and Alexis Park neighbourhoods.

Two letters opposing the project were submitted as late additions to council's agenda.

One from area resident lngrid Kraus spoke against the proposed change due to concerns over the stability of the mountainside and impacts to those living below the new houses.

Kraus said there was not enough information available publicly about the project, particularly a geotechnical report.

“lt appears motions were passed without all the supporting and very important reports,” said Kraus. “To the best of my ability to locate them, it does not look like they were ever made public from the beginning.”

Another letter from neighbour Sylvia Herchen expressed concerns over trespassers on adjacent agricultural land.

“How does the developer propose to protect the property line and their privacy and how will the developer insure further trespassing is curtailed as the ALR land lies right below Turtle Mountain trails?”

She also wanted to know how the condition of a local road will be addressed.

“The road below the property is in very bad shape. There is no room to widen the road,” she said.

City staff said any Official Community Plan amendments and zoning changes went through the proper processes, including a public hearing. And there would have been notifications sent to surrounding properties.

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