Foothills residents opposed to high-density transformation of neighbourhood

'Nobody asked us'

Neighbours of a project hailed by Vernon city councillors as "exactly what the city needs" aren't so enthusiastic about the development.

The proposed project would see 57 strata units built across Silver Star Road from the Foothills community, on Herbert and Bates roads.

The country residential property would be rezoned to allow for 13 semi-detached buildings, one triplex, and seven quadplexes.

"Did anyone consider asking the residents of Herbert Road, the owners of the country residential properties, if this is 'exactly what we want'?" one resident asked in an open letter to council shared with Castanet.

"Many of the long-term homeowners who purchased properties and live in this rural neighbourhood did so for a reason … it's in the country.

As a resident living on Herbert Road, we don't believe that a 57-unit mass development fits with our neighbourhood, when all the other houses on Herbert Road are on acreages," the writer said.

City council felt quite differently.

"This is a great project, exactly what we want," Coun. Brian Quiring said on Monday. "This is exactly what the community needs."

Coun. Kari Gares said she was "thrilled" to see the project come forward, as it will help address the housing shortage seen across the region.

The two-hectare parcel was annexed from the Regional District of the North Okanagan in 2014.

"Our neighbourhood has always been on a dead-end road, which is now being opened up to connect to Manning Place," the resident adds.

Another 29-unit development is underway on Manning Place, for a total of 86 potential new units in the country residential area, the letter writer laments.

"This is a massive change for our rural community, and we don't believe the majority of long-term homeowners on Herbert Road feel that adding 57 more units is 'exactly what we want.'"

Residents hope to sway council to halt the rezoning and plan to show up at the public hearing on the project Oct. 17 at City Hall.

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