By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos council has moved a step closer to allowing a 47-unit townhouse development on the shore of Peanut Pond, despite concerns from some residents and one councillor about potential traffic problems.
The proposed site sits immediately northeast of Highway 3 and is bounded by the Super 8 Motel, Peanut Pond and a small trailer park.
It was the location of a 200-unit residential-commercial development proposal about a decade ago. That project didn’t proceed and Monday’s public hearing was to return the area to the original zoning, which would allow the latest proposal.
Most of the concern expressed at this evening’s public hearing revolved around the increased traffic and limited access to the site.
By provincial highways ministry dictate, no direct access to Highway 3 will be allowed from the project, and so the main access is along Vedette Drive. It is a narrow road running between two rows of carports attached to another condo development. One resident was worried about the increased traffic’s effect on residents backing out of their carports.
Another resident feared the development would cause a substantial increase in traffic up Valiant Lane and through the parking between the motel and the Red Apple Store.
Town planning director Gina MacKay told the hearing that a traffic study was not required of the developers because there had been one done for the earlier, much larger project.
MacKay’s report pointed out that “Vedette Drive requires a full reconstruction” to bring up to the standard needed to be the main access. “The town and the developer will be cost-sharing these improvements,” she said.
At the special council meeting following the public hearing, Councillor Brian Harvey said he believes a traffic study is appropriate and proposed delaying the zoning amendment. His resolution was defeated by the rest of council.
Council voted 4-1 in favour of third reading of amendments to the zoning bylaw and the Official Community Plan to move the proposal forward.
The project will come before council at least once more for final reading and adoption.
If approved, the development will see 47 townhouses built in four parallel tiers running along the hillside. The top level will back onto Highway 3 and the lowest tier will run along the pond.
The plan calls for 14 of the units to include basement suites, which, according to MacKay’s report, “will provide much needed market rental housing for local residents.”