by Dave Preston
An unusual step has been thrown into the development approval mix for one proposal by the District of Peachland.
Mayor Keith Fielding warned at a special council meeting July 4 that an additional piece of the development process would be added to the application by TNI to construct a new building on Beach Avenue.
“It is clear to me from feedback that I and others have received that many people wanting to comment on the design of the TNI building have ended up feeling angry and frustrated,” Fielding said at the meeting. “Angry because they have experienced the process as disrespectful and frustrated because they care about the issues but don’t feel that their opinions have been welcomed or heard.”
Fielding said an additional opportunity would be presented for public input but did not specify at the time how it would be managed.
This week, the district unveiled the new step and it goes far beyond simply letting residents submit their views.
The municipality is setting up a peer review panel of three professionals to review both the TNI application and any new public input.
Zoning for the TNI development is essentially approved, having received third reading. A controversial parking covenant that will allow the developer to use a district owned lot on Second Street has also been approved. The council appointed Advisory Planning Committee has reviewed form and character of the building.
The new, unprecedented step will involve the formation of a panel consisting of a member from the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability, a professional architect and a registered professional planner, according to the town’s website.
“Having regard for the Sustainable Downtown Peachland Plan (Charrette Report: 2010) and relevant components of the Beach Avenue Neighbourhood Plan, both part of the Official Community Plan (OCP), the Peer Review Panel will:
1. Review functional and physical design components of the concept plans for the proposed TNI building in downtown Peachland;
2. Review written comments solicited from the public on form and character design issues; and,
3. In light of such review, assist the municipality in Development Permit consideration by offering comment on form and character issues and charrette design and Beach Avenue Neighbourhood Plan interpretation,” states the website.
The panel will consider “relevant material” submitted by the public, according to the website. Only written submissions and illustrations will be accepted.
The public has until 4 p.m. on July 27 to submit their comments and the panel is to give a recommendation to council by August 15.
No information is available at this time on who the three professionals will be, what the cost of the panel will be or who will pay the cost.