By ROY WOOD
Residents of the idyllic enclave of Wren Place are concerned about the impact of the 28-unit housing development proposed for the Richter properties right next door to them.
At a public hearing Monday, two residents from the eight-home neighborhood told Town Council their concerns involve increased traffic generated by the development, access to and from Highway 97, an inadequate “buffer zone” and protection of the pond adjacent to several of the Wren Place properties.
The land in question is the remainder of the land purchased by the Town of Osoyoos for the new fire hall.
The parcel lies between the Wren Place neighborhood and the new fire hall.
At a special meeting on April 25, council gave first and second readings to amendments to the Town’s official community plan and a zoning bylaw, changing the land use from agricultural to “intensive residential development.”
The Town is attempting to have the land removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The proposal calls for a road running from 74 Avenue through the development and hooking into Wren Place through to Hwy. 97
Resident Isla Petreny-Mackenzie, whose property sits directly adjacent to the development, suggested that the new road end in the Richter subdivision and not join Wren Place.
“We request that the existing highway access be closed off and that walking access only be retained,” from the highway into Wren Place,” she said.
“In this way, traffic noise and disturbance of our quiet and secluded area would be minimized, blocking the travel of ‘through’ traffic and yet allowing all parties ease of movement,” she wrote in a letter to Council.
Planning director Alain Cunningham pointed out that one of the intentions for the new road through the property would be for an alternate access for fire trucks to Highway 97.
Ms Petreny-Mackenzie told the meeting that residents were assured in the past there would be a buffer zone between the two neighborhoods but that at this point the area that would provide the buffer is “just grass.”
Having the new road stop before it reaches Wren Place would make a buffer more feasible, she said.
In her letter, she wrote: “We are aware that the proposed site of the new sewer line is to run intimately along our property line and that this may prevent the planting of trees. We ask, therefore, that the sewer line be placed further away … leaving the space for trees to be planted and some creative screening options reviewed, creating a ‘true’ buffer zone.”
Ms Petreny-Mackenzie pointed to a phrase in the town’s report on the proposal that refers to the large pond adjacent to several Wren Place residences as “an attractive neighborhood amenity.”
This “gives me the wobblies,” she said.
She fears that public access to the pond will disturb the birds and other wildlife that inhabit or visit the pond.
“We ask that the pond be regarded as only a ‘visual amenity’ and there be a covenant or protection order placed on the pond so that it not be disturbed by human intervention,” she wrote.
Haley Warren told council she is concerned about the increased traffic from the 28 new homes after they are occupied and from trades people and builders in the meantime.
To accommodate fire trucks, she suggested an “emergency vehicles only” lane connecting to Highway 97.
Council passed a resolution to “carefully consider all public input before proceeding to consider third reading at their regular meeting on June 6.”