Public hearing in the works for housing density plans in Penticton

Plans to densify the city

The public will soon have a say on proposed zoning changes to Penticton's Official Community Plan, which includes a focus on increasing housing and some changes to original plans following public concern.

On Tuesday, Penticton council heard a presentation from city staff that outlined a vision for the OCP changes, ostensibly in response to incoming provincial demands that municipalities pave an easier path to housing densification.

City staff conducted a public engagement period in March and April, and after the feedback, staff recommended to council that infill and density be focused on the established city area, rather than the hillsides.

Under the new proposed OCP amendment, some areas of town would be changed to allow higher density, such as carriage homes or complexes, and extension of height limits in the 400-700 block of Main Street to ten storeys.

A four-storey height limit on Lakeshore Drive would remain.

Notably, the proposed amendment would remove Spiller Road on the Naramata Bench from the "designated growth area" for the future. The area has been contentious for some time due to proposed development.

"We did hear a substantial amount of feedback through public engagement period about the density of new developments on the Naramata Bench. So with that, what is proposed is to remove the 'RSM-Mobile Home Park' zoning from that property which was put in place in the 1970s and have the entire property zoned 'Country Residential' which is the zoning of the rest of that site today," explained Steven Collyer, the city's housing and policy initiatives manager.

Council gave the proposed changes first reading, sending it to a public hearing on June 3, before any final decisions are made.

The entire proposed OCP changes can be viewed online here.

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