City wants issue resolved

Heaton Place says events are important for the residents who live there

Armstrong officials insist they want to find middle ground with a retirement residence.

On Monday, council instructed city staff to meet with Heaton Place over permitted uses.

“There are lots of solutions,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

In November, the city received a complaint from someone in the community about whether zoning at Heaton Place permitted events where products are sold.

At the time, Heaton Place confirmed events where fees are charged to businesses for tables or space, and the revenue raised by the fee was going towards a hearing loop for residents of the facility.

“Staff advised that the sale of goods through onsite vendors is not a permitted use according to the city’s current zoning regulations,” said Melinda Stickney, the city’s chief administrative officer, in a report.

Future events where fees are charged could require changes to zoning and business license regulations.

“We want to figure out how to make this legal,” said Pieper.

Also on Monday, council received a letter from a Heaton Place resident upset with the city’s actions.

“It seems particularly mean spirited and shameful for these events to be denied to those who live here, many of whom are not able to get out and abouyt to attend any similar events in and around town,” said Michael Hawkes.

“If any councillor objects to any means of attracting visitors and their money to town, then he or she should carefully consider their position.”

Hawkes calls for a compromise to be found.

“I suggest that subject to a legal interpretation of the bylaw, the recent action by Armstrong city council should be rescinded and events allowed to be arranged as before at Heaton Place and that serious consideration be given to providing a sensible, common sense solution for the long-term,” he wrote.

Heaton Place representatives say the events bring people into the community who spend money with local vendors.

“Most important, is these events are for the benefit of our residents and are included in their social and recreational programming,” said Penny Christensen, manager.

“With all of these positive attributes, I am hoping the City of Armstrong can rewrite the zoning bylaw to be more specific and allow these events for the wellness of the citizens of Armstrong.”

Heaton Place residents were informed recently that there can’t be further wellness or craft fairs becayse of the city’s stance on the bylaw.

“Needless to say, our residents were extremely upset and have decided to see if their voice within the City of Armstrong and community would possibly change the situation so we could have these events for their benefit,” said Christensen.

 

Vernon Morning Star

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