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Family apartment building proposed for next to Peachland Elementary

The four-storey, 84 unit building would include one, two, and three-bedroom units

An Alberta-based developer is proposing a four-storey, 84-unit multi-family apartment building next to Peachland Elementary.

Documents submitted to the District of Peachland show Porchlight Development’s plan includes one, two, and three-bedroom units. The project, located at 5481 Clemments Crescent, also includes a single-detached residential lot.

A staff report states the applicant initially proposed the project as a rental apartment building. Porchlight is now proposing a stratified building with an affordable homeownership model. It would include a down payment assistance program. The developer is anticipating that their project will provide units that are considered attainable, under $500,000, for a median income family.

If council supports the affordable homeownership concept, staff would need to explore legislative and legal tools available to the District to ensure the project maintains an affordable housing model for future owners. Staff indicates there are significant concerns about anticipated operational burdens, and associated impacts the proposal will have on the District’s already limited resources.

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The development would also be next to an Environmental Protection Area and Trepanier Creek. An environmental impact assessment submitted by the applicant indicates several mitigation measures, and a riparian setback from the creek are needed. A traffic impact assessment was also done by the applicant’s traffic engineer to determine potential impacts on the road network. That report found no adverse impact.

At the request of staff, a school area analysis was done which identified several works that should be completed by the District of Peachland and School District No. 23, based on existing road conditions. Porchlight Developments is proposing a new, widened roadway between their development and the school, to allow parent drop off and pick up during peak school hours. A raised crosswalk is also planned in front of the school to the existing sidewalk on Clements Crescent. It would function as a traffic-calming measure should a vehicle be exceeding the 30 km/h speed limit.

Comments from Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO) environmental planning staff states the property is located within the Trepanier Creek floodplain, as mapped in 2019, and found it is located in a high-risk floodplain area. The one in

20-year and one in 200-year flood modelling scenarios show out-of-channel flooding. The RDCO’s strategic priorities do not support new construction in high-risk floodplain areas. The developer indicates flood and floodplain analysis has and will be accommodated in the future design by assuring habitable space is clear of risk.

Peachland council will need to consider whether to make changes to the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws, as well as sending the project to a public hearing, in order for it to proceed. The applicant will also need to apply for a development permit. District staff is supportive of the project citing diversity for Peachland’s housing stock, protection of environmental values, and improved vehicle and pedestrian access around the school and Clements neighbourhood.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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