New public hearing needed

Regarding the zoning amendment bylaw and development variance permit applications for 602 Lakeshore Drive that are currently before Penticton city council, there appears to be a lack in the process followed to date by the city.

Transparency: The planning staff is in the habit of employing a procedure to process rezoning applications that avoids the need to adhere to the requirements of the city’s own zoning bylaw.

If staff deem a development application for an existing lot to have merit, they might ignore certain minimum size requirements (referred to as "parcel parameters”) in the bylaw of a particular zone and recommend council approve the development. The problem is this process, whether it is correct or not, isn’t disclosed or explained in the staff report or any information that is made available to the public.

A method that facilitates the rezoning of a property into non-conforming status that ignores the parcel parameters of the zoning bylaw may be permitted in certain cases but it defies logic. The public should know what is taking place because the result of these non-conforming developments can have a significant impact on our neighbourhoods and our city as a community.

The public is asking what is the relevance of minimum size requirements in a zoning bylaw if they aren’t applicable to developers? The optics are terrible.

This is a clear lack of transparency on behalf of council and the City of Penticton. This zoning amendment should be denied and the bylaw abandoned.

Disclosure: The variances required for the proposed development were explicitly disclosed in the staff and developer’s reports. Those variances were the topic of all the debate/discussion at the public hearing on Dec. 7.

However the deficiencies of the subject property were not explicitly disclosed. Research now reveals the subject property is 28% narrower than required in the RM3 zone and the lot area is 20% smaller than required in the RM3 zone. These are relevant facts, essential to making an informed decision as to the merits of the application.

If these facts had been clearly disclosed before the public hearing, the public’s input and council’s vote may well have been different. At minimum, these deficiencies would have helped explain why the multiple variances are required to fit an over-sized building on a non-conforming, under-sized lot.

The information relating to the significant size deficiencies of the subject property was not explicitly disclosed at the public hearing, therefore this is new information and a second public hearing is required.

Gary Denton, Penticton

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