to allow for retail (thrift store) use.
Update: October 21, 2021
The board voted 8-to-1 to rescind the amendment to the bylaw to allow for retail store, general (including a thrift store). This means that there will be no change in the zoning.
Here is my argument as to why I was not in favour of the rezoning:
The subject property is surrounded by residential use, is located right in between the elementary school to the south and Selby Park to the north. Selby Park is a very active meeting place for families and right next to Selby Park is a well-used public riding arena. Further, the site is surrounded by a number of entry and exit points for some very popular mountain bike trails. The street is active with school children, pedestrians, equestrians and cyclist.
Increasing non-residential traffic to the neighbourhood is not desired and is overwhelmingly not supported by the community or our two policy documents:
The Regional Growth Strategy
The Area "F" OCP
Both documents direct commercial uses to primary growth areas like the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, etc. Here is why:
Retail and commercial businesses, when they operate in close proximity to one another, create a collective draw of customers and the increase in traffic is a shared benefit. An increase in traffic in a rural residential area is not a shared benefit.
This rezoning is not just about adding a thrift store use - this rezoning opens the site up to all retail opportunity including clothing, shoes, hardware, pharmaceutical, appliance, sporting goods - all of which should be located in our municipal not in a rural residential area.
The current site-specific zoning works in a rural residential area because the permitted uses are for a small-scale business that brings benefit to the community, a convenience for the community. OR for a business that does not rely on the community for financial support or an increase in traffic to succeed.
Further, this property was purchased a year ago, with the current zoning. The property owners do not live on the property nor in the community, or even the region. The proposed business owners will not reside on the site either. The space will be residential rental above and office space below that is rented separately.
Because this was a recent purchased with the current zoning, it should not fall on long standing community members to accommodate a new broader use that chips away at a very strongly held community value.
There are options for the investor within the current zoning that will allow for a return on their investment. For years there have been been professional services in the space that did not increase traffic, did not require a parking plan, or external signage.
Further the proposed business renter also has options. As long as there are vacant commercial spaces in Summerland, Penticton, OK Falls, etc. there are options for the business owner. We do not need to erode a neighbour to accommodate an investment.
Sept. 27, 2021
Please join via WebEx tomorrow (Tuesday, September 28) evening for the Public Hearing. This is your final chance to share if you are for or against the rezoning.
More information here including how to join via WebEx.