The City of Salmon Arm has received a rezoning application for this property at 490 10th Ave. SW to permit the subdivision into service commercial to the north, for future development, leaving the southern portion, which is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, to continue to be used for farming. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Rezoning proposed for Salmon Arm farmland to allow for future development

Portion of parcel in agricultural land reserve will be sold to large-scale farming operation

The owner of a 12-hectare parcel on 10th Avenue SW used for farming has applied to rezone the northern portion of the parcel so it can be subdivided from the whole.

Applicant Westside Farms Ltd., represented by Bill Laird, is applying to rezone the 2.77-hectare (6.5 acre) north end of the property at 1490 10th Ave. SW, across from the Mall at Piccadilly. The northern portion would be rezoned from A1 – agricultural and R1 – single family residential, to C3 – service commercial. The southern portion is in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Subdividing the property is allowed under the C3 zone and would accommodate future commercial development.

City staff report the owner intends to sell the southern 9.19 hectares of ALR land to a local, large-scale farming operation.

As for the northern chunk, “there are no immediate plans to further subdivide or develop proposed Lot 1, and farming activity on the 2.77-ha. portion is likely to continue over the short-term,” states the staff report.

The owner has also applied for a development variance permit which asks city council to waive all servicing requirements – mainly the upgrading of the 10th Avenue SW frontage.

But approval would be subject to two covenants: one which prevents any further subdivision or development of the northern portion until it’s fully serviced, and the second one which prevents any development on the lot until fencing is adequately installed along the border of the ALR.

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Staff report that although the property has a long history of farm use, the proposed Lot 1 and the lots to the east and west have been designated for highway commercial land use in the official community plan since at least the 1990s.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, told council the whole property is currently used for agriculture but not the buildings. With subdivision would come a panhandle 15 metres wide to access the southern farmland. Pearson said the southern ALR portion is “protected heavily from subdivision and development.”

Because several farm buildings are located north of the ALR portion of the property, Coun. Kevin Flynn asked if there would be any trouble setting up farm buildings to the south.

Pearson said he doesn’t see any issues with putting up new farm buildings there. He said the ones to the north will likely be demolished in the future when it’s developed commercially.

Mayor Alan Harrison said the proposed rezoning fits with the official community plan so it makes “perfect sense.”

He said the street is heavily used and has commercial development along it already, and will probably have more in the future.

Council unanimously approved first and second reading of the application.

Final approval would be subject to approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as well as the Ministry of Environment. MOE is involved because an open ditch runs through the property and sustains fish habitat.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said the water goes under the highway through city storm pipes to Hobson Creek, and with new designs for the highway, pipes will have open bottoms for fish transfer. “So there are fish in that creek,” said Niewenhiuzen.

marthawickett@saobserver.netLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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