June 27, 2024

With changes to the OCP, the City of Penticton now has a blueprint for moving forward and developing needed housing

PENTICTON – With the passage of changes to the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw, the City of Penticton is set for a new era of housing to meet the growing and diverse demands.

“The changes that have been implemented are among the most significant made in many years and are designed to positively meet the needs of today and tomorrow,” says Mayor Julius Bloomfield. “This is the result of several years of consultation, puts into effect the recommendations of the Official Community Plan-Housing Task Force and aligns with changes from the provincial government. We now have a blueprint for moving forward and developing the entire range of housing that we need.”

The plan tackles several key areas of action:

  • Directs new growth into specific neighbourhoods in the built-up urban area
  • Expands residential opportunities on commercial properties (plazas, malls, etc.)
  • Implement provincial housing legislation: 4 units per urban residential lot and new density, height and parking requirements near bus exchanges
  • Zoning Bylaw changes support more development in the downtown

There have also been changes made to preserve the rural character of the Naramata bench area and the mayor notes it is important the public understand exactly what was done and, importantly, what wasn’t done.

“We heard the community when it said increased density should occur in the city centre and that’s the direction we’re taking,” says Bloomfield. “There has been much speculation around things we didn’t do. We want people to understand there was no rezoning of any agricultural or forestry grazing areas. That simply didn’t happen.

“For decades it has been designated as a growth area and it was always anticipated that there would be major construction and major development in that area. So we have reversed that to ensure low-impact development in the area.”

Changes that impact the area are:

  • Removing the Spiller Road area as a growth area (it has been designated as a growth area since the 1970s)
  • Removing 125 acres of land designated for urban densities and changed those to rural densities
  • Removing the mobile home park zoning on the hillside

Plan for housing across the spectrum
As well, Council is continuing with its plan to advocate for more investment by senior levels of government through the development of a Social Housing Plan. “Our housing needs assessment, the work done by the OCP-Housing Task Force and our Social Development Framework all highlight the need for housing to be attainable and accessible,” says Bloomfield. “By working with community partners to identify the needs and potential solutions, we will be in a stronger position to advocate for our needs to the provincial government and receive the financial support we deserve.”
As part of that commitment, Council committed three City-owned properties to being part of the upcoming plan with a focus on youth, senior and workforce housing.
The properties are:

  • Ellis Street Block: (225, 231, 235, 241, 247, 251, 253, 271, 283 Ellis Street and 99 Nanaimo Avenue East)
  • Eckhardt Ave Block: (971, 977, 985, 999 Eckhardt Avenue West)
  • 2509 South Main St

“This an exciting time for Penticton, we’re already seen a steady run of new projects and these changes will accelerate that process,” says Bloomfield. “We’ve set as a priority creating a livable and accessible Penticton that is marked by smart, planned growth and these reforms will help us accomplish that goal.”

Source: The City of Penticton

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