The owner of this 1.5-acre parcel at 1441 20th Ave. SE near Mayfair Farms received approval from Salmon Arm Council on May 13 to rezone it from R-1, single family residential, to R-8, residential suite zone. A seven-lot subdivision is planned for the parcel. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Density trumps neighbours during Salmon Arm rezoning hearing

Residents express concerns about neighbourhood changes but council goes with more affordable housing

Density topped neighbours’ concerns for Salmon Arm council during a rezoning hearing May 13.

Resident Wayne Raspberry was applying to have a 1.5-acre (6,082-square-metre) parcel at 1441-20th Ave. SE rezoned from R1, single family residential to R8, residential suite zone.

Now on the property sits one house set back from 20th Avenue SE.

A city staff report notes the parcel is designated low density residential in the city’s official community plan and is in an area mostly comprised of single family and rural holding zones. It states 18 R-8 zoned parcels are currently within the vicinity of the parcel.

Although plans for the parcel are not a required component of the rezoning, the applicant made known that a seven-lot strata subdivision is proposed.

“My intention was to make some affordable housing for young families with an adult parent,” said Raspberry.

City staff reported that such a subdivision would also be permitted under the current zoning, just not the secondary suites.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Hillcrest subdivision named for First World War veteran

Read more: Suites for entire subdivision

Read more: Council votes against neighbours, for density in Hillcrest

Read more: 2014 – Plans proceed for 17-lot subdivision

Susan Housden, whose family lives on 13th Street SE, told council she was representing a very concerned group of neighbours who are unified in strongly opposing the R8 zoning next to their backyard fences. 

She raised issues such as health and safety, noise, character of the neighbourhood with smaller lots added to existing larger ones, traffic and congestion, access for emergency vehicles, cutting down older-growth trees, displacing songbirds and animals and reducing property values.

Three other people also expressed their opposition, agreeing with Housden’s concerns and adding a couple more.

Other issues included the expectation that the area would remain single family when residents purchased their homes and the worry that short-term tenants in the suites would make bad neighbours.

Mayor and council addressed the concerns, their central reason for supporting the rezoning being the need to densify in order to utilize existing servicing and limited land.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren asked the applicant about trees, to establish that the neighbours’ view of the backyard would not change. She also noted that densification is the way to go because so many people can’t afford to buy a $400,000 home. In her experience, she said, tenants have not been a problem.

Coun. Chad Eliason said Salmon Arm is now the fastest growing community in B.C. and new subdivisions have made it possible to house more people.

“Without this infill development, you guys wouldn’t have been able to move to Salmon Arm… These houses wouldn’t have been here…”

Coun. Debbie Cannon also supported the rezoning because it provides a less-expensive – as opposed to more affordable – alternative.

Coun. Kevin Flynn pointed out Salmon Arm is surrounded by lake, highway, rail and agricultural land.

“We only have so much room to infill. To me this is a perfect example of infill.”

Coun. Tim Lavery noted there’s no way to move up the housing ladder if there’s no place to start.

Mayor Alan Harrison said strata developments tend to look after themselves, and added he knows Mr. Raspberry and thinks he will be a very conscientious developer.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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