By Heather Black
Public concerns for property and neighbourhood devaluation failed to convince district council to vote against allowing manufactured homes without foundations in a single family residential zoned-area.
A crowd of approximately 45 people filled Sicamous council chambers last Wednesday to voice their opinions and concerns on the proposed rezoning of a development at 711 Parksville St.
The property in question, owned by Darrell Trouton, is already zoned for Single Family Residential that allows modular A277 structures that use a conventional foundation, with the applicant asking to now include Z240 manufactured homes that don’t require a foundation or crawl space, thereby making them non-permanent. That proved to be a point of contention for many neighbours as they don’t want to see a trailer park with units that can come and go.
“I know there’s been all kinds of rumours going out there that we’re putting in a mobile home park, but that’s exactly what we’re not doing,” Trouton assured. “Everything stays the same; it’s a bare land strata development. What it boils down to, what we’re trying to do is build a clean, well maintained, practical, affordable community.”
He added that, as these units require just five per cent down on an average cost of $201, 851 (Z240) or $239,364 (A277), ideal for young families, with the idea to get people out of rentals and into homes where they can grow from there. That low cost issue, however, raised further concerns among area residents as they worry that will decrease their own property appraisals.
“The main thing is, our homes are worth more than $230,000… I had mine appraised at over $300,000 so all that’s going to do is drag our property values down,” neighbour Terry South said, while questioning the need for such a development, adding that a similar site in town is not even full. “Could someone tell me the demand for low income housing that would justify this?”
A number of others echoed that question, while voicing concerns over the seeming temporary nature of manufactured Z240 homes, as well as the fact that the bylaw amendment didn’t address how old the buildings could be, creating apprehension that it could result in a rundown, transient area. Both Trouton and council, however, welcomed changes to the bylaw to address that, with the recommendation being reworded to specify new units that must have permanent, engineered, pier footings.
The motion passed as amended, with Couns. Janna Simons and Colleen Anderson opposed, and Coun. Todd Kyllo excused due to a conflict of interest as his company, TA Structures, builds, manufactured homes.