Neighbourhood groups up in arms over potential to subdivide property where a heritage home once stood

Lamenting loss of heritage

Video of demolition of 409 Park Ave. March 30, 2020

An application to subdivide the property which once housed a heritage home in Kelowna's heritage district has drawn the ire of two neighbourhood associations.

In a joint news release, Friends and Residents of the Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Society (FRAHCAS) and the Kelowna South Central Association of Neighbourhoods (KSAN), says allowing the rezoning and subdivision to go ahead "spells the death knell of the Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Area."

The home on the property at the corner of Park Avenue and Long Street was demolished earlier this year, despite the fact it was on the city's heritage registry.

However, that designation, according to city staff, did not preclude the owner from demolishing the house.

Now, the property is coming back before council seeking to rezone the property to facilitate a two-lot subdivision.

"Our concern is that the heritage area is changing because the city is allowing infill, and allowing heritage houses to come down...sometimes the larger are being subdivided into two lots," said Wayne Ross, president of FRAHCAS

"We feel it's definitely going to change this gem that we have in the city."

It's felt if council approves the application, it will set a precedent allowing more heritage homes to be torn down in order to subdivide for future development.

"I know we can't retain everything that's there, and I understand the position that council is in," says Ross.

"They have to make a decision one way or another, but I think if they really appreciate the heritage area, they have to stop these demolitions."

Along with the rezoning application, the owner of the property has also applied for a Heritage Alteration Permit, which will be forwarded to the city's Heritage Advisory Committee for consideration.

At the time of applying for the original demolition permit, the owner said they planned to build a new home in keeping with the heritage nature of the neighbourhood.

A site plan for the property was submitted along with the rezoning application.

Council will review this latest application for the property at Tuesday's public hearing.

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