It’s an issue that caused community controversy and threaded its way through last year’s municipal election campaign – tall buildings on Beach Avenue in Peachland.
In late 2022, previous council directed staff to prepare a report to outline options for new zoning regulations including restricting building height to three storeys.
“There are some concerns with the potential implications of restricting the mixed-use development potential of the Beach Avenue neighbourhood,” a staff report to council reads.
The issue was a topic of controversy in the community, and during the municipal election campaign, after the previous council approved (4-3 vote) a four-storey building on Beach Ave last summer.
Staff concerns include financial implications if zoning regulations are changed, pointing out that densification in the area should be encouraged as it is more financially sustainable.
The alternative is hillside development and sprawl into rural areas.
“Over its lifecycle costs the provision of municipal services to hillside/suburban/rural areas does not pay for itself – taxpayers must subsidize these costs – which is not financially prudent,” according to the report.
Staff also note that increased density downtown increases municipal revenues through taxation, development cost charges, community amenity contributions, and other development fees.
The report states that a reduction in building height would also have an impact on developers by decreasing the overall
buildable area for a project, culminating in a decrease of leasable or sellable space.
“Put simply, additional mixed-use zoning restrictions may deter investment in the community, particularly in the core area where it should be most desirable.”
The district currently has 11 in-stream rezoning applications and only one located on Beach Avenue.