Trail city council defeated Greenwater Holdings’ request for a rezoning bylaw to accommodate senior housing.
In April, the developer applied to renovate Marino’s Wholesale building at 1883 Fifth Ave. in East Trail, and asked to rezone the property from a single family and two family residential R2 zone to a small multiple family residential R5 zone.
The purpose was to develop a 20-unit seniors’ independent living housing complex, to provide a more affordable living option in the community for seniors on fixed incomes.
While Trail council was hopeful and acknowledged the need for affordable senior housing, the rezoning application piqued concerns from several nearby residents who responded to council at the June 22 meeting.
At a Trail city council public hearing on July 20, Lisa Fransescato, whose parents live near the building, reiterated their misgivings with the proposed plan.
East Trail residents were concerned that the applicant’s parking plan failed to meet the city’s off-street parking requirements. The development would increase traffic and congestion, which could endanger the safety of pedestrians, drivers, and children, and would prove even more perilous in winter.
In addition, there were no guarantees on who could rent the apartments.
“If approved, tenants requirements in the site’s operations will be beyond the council’s control,” said Fransescato. “So I appreciate all the efforts by the council and by the applicant, however I believe the concerns brought forward at the public hearing by the neighbourhood have not been addressed or remedied.”
When council discussed the rezoning bylaw in its third reading, Coun. Robert Cacchioni talked about the city’s ‘dramatic’ need for senior housing, and made a motion to defer the matter.
However, following a thorough explanation from Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff regarding the proposed density of 20 small suites in the building and problems associated with it, the motion was withdrawn.
“If you look at it critically, while you appreciate what the developer is proposing, there are definite issues as far as the level of density,” said CAO Perehudoff. “If you put in 10 units it makes sense, but the economics there doesn’t make it doable from his perspective.
“But again, if you’re looking at it as a governing body, you have guidelines and regulations that you expect people to meet so you don’t create further issues for residents either in the facility or in the neighbouring area.”
Council moved to defeat the rezoning bylaw and it was passed unanimously.
“For a room size of 200 square feet (220 units/hectare), it’s an extremely small room size, to pack in someone living fully contained where they’re cooking and have a sitting area, they have a bed, they have a bathroom,” added Mayor Lisa Pasin. “That’s the size of a hotel room, and I am not sure, when you’re dealing with independent living seniors, if that is the right appointment.”