Penticton council green lights five-storey apartment building on Front Street

New housing on Front St.

City council has green lit a development permit for a five-storey residential development on Front Street in Penticton.

At Tuesday's meeting, council went ahead with the plan for the 48-unit complex at 123 Front Street, currently an empty lot.

Plans show there will be 22 parking spaces that are EV-ready, seven class-2 bicycle parking spaces for visitors, and 28 class-1 bicycle parking spaces for residents of the units.

The residential units will be a mix of bachelor, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, and there will be commercial space at street level.

The space had previously been approved for a mixed-use building but the developer let the permit expire in recent years.

Staff told council that the development fits with council's stated plans for increased housing capacity in the city, as well as provincial pressure to build housing stock.

After brief questions, council passed the necessary zoning amendments to allow the five-storey building, and gave a thumbs up to the general development plan.

Coun. James Miller was the lone vote in opposition.

"I do believe Front Street and the Lakeshore are marquee neighbourhoods, showcase neighbourhoods. The design and the variances [the developers have] asked for are not consistent with the neighbourhood," Miller said.

"If anybody happened to read the Globe and Mail on Saturday — I do — they had an interesting feature. It was written out of Toronto but it was ten towns or cities that you would like to visit in Canada that you've never thought of visiting before, and keep in mind this was a Toronto publication. Number one on their list was Nelson because of the unique architecture and just the vibe, and as much as we need housing, I'm going to vote no on this one."

Mayor Julius Bloomfield then spoke in favour.

"I think that this development is actually an improvement on the previous development application for this property and if it falls in line better with the aesthetics of Front Street. And I think that the variances that they've asked for regarding parking and two meters on the building height, [when] we've already got a building right next to it at a similar height ... I don't think that that's going to be a detriment at all," Bloomfield said.

"It'll be good to see the site getting redeveloped and repurposed into something that will benefit the area and benefit Front Street."

The approval passed 6-1.

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