If you were wondering what the Peachland Residents Association (PRA) submitted to Mayor Keith Fielding’s Peer Review Panel (PRP), wonder no more.
The PRA is well known for its stance that anything bigger than a pup tent is too big in Peachland. The group consistently complains about every aspect of every proposed development and while members seemed to have taken a hiatus for a while, they came out in force against the first new building proposed downtown in a very long time.
Steve Allison, president of Peachland firm TNI, has proposed a new building to replace the Edgewater and Aegean Grill buildings. The PRA, or at least some of its members, have been all over the proposal.
Fielding, for whatever reason, made an arbitrary decision that the TNI proposal would be subjected to a new, never before used, step in the development process. The PRP would be formed and three professionals would be members of it. The group’s purpose would be to give an opinion as to the form and character of the proposed building and whether it meets the spirit of existing planning documents.
Chief among the documents is the Sustainable Downtown Peachland Plan, commonly referred to locally as the charette. It has been hailed by the PRA and its members as the end all, be all document of planning and development (they ignore the fact that the document is nothing more than a guide).
The PRP is a big secret. The district has not released the names of those involved. Where they met has not been disclosed. Only the developer and town staff were allowed to attend. Public submissions would be reviewed.
Clearly the PRA was going to submit something to the panel. What the group submitted is now known.
In an email sent out Tuesday, Dora Stewart said the PRA’s submission to the PRP underlines “the inappropriate size and location for such a massive building on Beach Avenue.”
Stewart went on to say that it was unfair to the community that the developer was not requested to provide elevation drawings showing “the magnitude of the project in comparison with surrounding buildings.”
The PRA apparently procured such an elevation drawing. Note that in this week’s local newspaper, Gillian Evans states she is the one behind getting the drawing.
Inappropriate size? Massive building? Magnitude of the project?
It is one thing to be against a project. It is quite another to hold up a document (in this case the charette) as the epitome of what is right when it suits your goals and completely ignore it when it does not. And the PRA is ignoring the charette.
One can argue the TNI building is too big. That is subjective. However, the PRA has forgotten a key part of the document they keep throwing in everyone’s faces… That the charette clearly states, numerous times, that buildings along Beach Avenue in downtown Peachland will be two to three stories in height.
It really does say that, repeatedly. Several PRA members were part of the charette process. They were part of the group that came up with the document; a document that states buildings on Beach Avenue will be two to three stories.
The TNI building is three stories. It fits the charette. If TNI proposed a six-storey building on Beach Avenue, one could conceivably claim the building is an inappropriate size and a massive building.
How is it that a group of people come up with a document that says two/three stories and when someone proposes three stories it is suddenly too big?
Face facts, PRA. No one is going to fork out the kind of money required to buy land in downtown Peachland in order to build an historic, warm, fuzzy pup tent. It just isn’t going to happen.
As for the PRA’s assertion that the “magnitude of the project” is out of whack to neighboring buildings, of course it is! It’s three stories tall. Neighboring buildings are, for the most part, one storey tall. Of course the TNI building will seem big compared to nearby buildings, until those buildings are torn down and other two to three storey buildings are put up.
Hopefully the secret-for-now PRP tosses the PRA submission in the ‘Yeah Whatever’ pile.
Then again, hopefully Peachland’s councillors completely ignore whatever the PRP says in their report to council in favor of making up their own minds on a project that has been subjected to enough scrutiny.