Oliver council approved a contentious 12-unit development in a largely single-family neighbourhood on Monday, Feb. 13.
The proposed construction of six duplexes on four separate lots in the 300-block of Chardonnay Avenue was given the green light by the slimmest of margins, thanks to a 3-2 vote from council that came after a lengthy public hearing.
It’s a project that brought along a number of concerns from the public, like building size and parking. The greatest concern expressed at the town hall table remained about the potential impacts multi-family housing would have on the neighbourhood.
A petition signed by several nearby residents urged mayor Martin Johansen and council to reject the project and instead consider low-level, single-family home development in the area at a later date.
It wasn’t enough to stop Oliver’s council from voting in favour of moving ahead with the development, as currently proposed.
“I think mixed housing promotes healthy communities and more affordable housing should be included in all areas, not just segregated to one specific lot…away from perhaps more affluent homes,” said Coun. Aimee Grice.
The four lots in question set for development include 313, 317, 380 and 389Chardonnay Ave.
Johansen and Coun. David Mattes were opposed, citing the familiar concerns of building size and neighbourhood fit.
“Single-family residential is what’s consistent with the neighbourhood,” said Mattes. “I believe putting this style of development in there will create — for lack of a better word — a slum.”
Last week’s public hearing was close to an hour in length and even included one man presenting council with a photo of his single-family home that’s currently blocked by a much larger, neighbouring building in Oliver. He claimed he’d never be able to sell his property, as a result.
Although eventually voting in favour of the project, Coun. Petra Veintimilla said she hopes the developer will consider the public’s comments before construction.
Veintimilla added that under its zoning, one could construct a two-and-a-half-storey dwelling on the properties in question — higher than is currently being proposed.
Approval from the B.C. Transportation Ministry is required before construction becomes a formality.