by Dave Preston
Peachland council will be asked Tuesday to rescind third reading of a zoning bylaw amendment for a controversial downtown development.
Local businessman Steve Allison has proposed a three-storey, mixed use building on property currently occupied by the Edgewater Inn and the Aegean Grill buildings.
The proposal made it through a public hearing, third reading of zoning bylaw amendment and an Advisory Planning Committee meeting but then became mired in controversy over the summer.
Mayor Keith Fielding added a new step in the process for Allison, requiring form and character of the development to be reviewed by a peer review committee, made up of three alleged professionals. At the same time, Allison took exception to the district’s requirement that he pay into an amenity contribution fund.
The development process came to a screeching halt. Allison claimed he would not pay into the amenity contribution fund and it seemed the development was scuttled, at least for the time being.
Now the municipality wants to set things up for a new public hearing.
“In order to ensure that legal requirements are followed and that there is procedural fairness in processing the application, it is apparent a new public hearing will be necessary if this project is to proceed for consideration of adoption (of the zoning bylaw amendment),” states a brief from the town’s planning department to council.
The planning department claims that new information came forward after the public hearing from the developer and from members of the public.
When Fielding announced that he was setting up a peer review panel, he stated the panel’s findings would be made available in August. To date, the district has not released any information about the panel or its findings. That may be about to change.
The planning department states in its brief to council that the reason the panel’s findings were not made public was in order to “protect the integrity of the public hearing process.”
Staff notes that if council rescinds third reading of the zoning bylaw amendment on Tuesday, they will “release the results of the technical peer design review” to the public.