Penticton Council Highlights

The following is a snapshot of what transpired during the May 5 and 6, 2014 meetings of Penticton Council.

Storefront uses on Martin Street

Penticton Council adopted the proposed bylaw for Martin Street storefront use. The bylaw was identified in the Downtown Plan as among the required policy changes that would help revitalize the commercial core. Storefront uses are when businesses maximize their available space to offer outdoor cafes, shop space and activities – making city sidewalks vibrant spaces for all. The bylaw outlines how best to use available storefront uses as well as design guidelines, offering options and variations to make the program accessible to a variety of businesses. Staff outlined the process businesses undertake to use their storefront spaces, making the application and installation process as simple as possible. While the proposed bylaw is specific to the Martin-Westminster project, the new concepts are intended to apply to other streets subject to revitalization in the future.

Backyard hens trial period approved

Penticton council approved a trial program that would allow a maximum of five backyard hens for 12 properties selected for a temporary backyard hen pilot program. The 18-month temporary use permits will expire at the end of November 2015. The pilot program was modelled on programs in other municipalities that encourage residential hen keeping for egg production, in line with the backyard food movement. Council agreed to a pilot project for 18 months, after which time the program would be reviewed.

Downtown development

Penticton Council passed first reading of a bylaw amendment to the Official Community Plan that would simplify the development process for development in the downtown core. The change would amend the exemption section for downtown development permit areas. The OCP amendment will go to public hearing May 20.

Co-op gas station and coffee drive-through

Penticton council passed first reading of bylaw amendments to rezone 2007 Main St. from mixed-use commercial to vehicle service station, allowing a gas station and convenience store for a co-op franchise and associated Tim Horton's coffee shop and drive-through. The property is currently vacant, but was originally rezoned to allow for a plaza-style mixed-use commercial development. A public hearing will be held on May 20.

Tax rates considered for 2014

Council passed three readings of the 2014 tax rates bylaw. The Community Charter requires annual property tax rates to be adopted by May15. Tax rates are set after the adoption of the financial plan. The 2014 financial plan includes a 2% increase in property taxes.

The average single family home assessed at $346,114 is slated to see a $47 increase in their municipal tax notice – up from $1,440 to $1,487. Sewer rates for the average home are slated to increase slightly from $81 to $82.

Council also passed three readings of the 2014 sterile insect release program tax rates bylaw, applicable to fruit growers of apple and pear crops. The amount of the parcel tax for 2014 is $139.26 per acre.

Special occasion liquor licence endorsed

Penticton Council approved a beer-wine garden licence application for the South Okanagan Roller Derby Association for May 10 and June 14, 2014.

Substation transformer upgrade

Penticton Council authorized an agreement with FortisBC to purchase a transformer to upgrade the FortisBC Westminster substation. In 2011, the Penticton Electrical Distribution System Plan outlined short- and long-term upgrades to the utility through to 2031. One of the key projects identified is the installation of a 12 kilo-volt transformer at the FortisBC Westminster Substation. The project will increase system security, handling a higher electrical load and allowing more flexibility in terms of load transfer between substations in the event of an emergency. The agreement outlines terms around the purchase of a $4,967,000 transformer (-10% to 30% variance), plus a $550,000 commercial allowance that is not due until 2015. As the City has been planning for the financial investment for several years, the funds will come from the City's electrical reserve account.

Fees and Charges Bylaw revisions

Penticton council passed three readings for amendments to the Fees and Charges Bylaw. The bylaw outlines the various fees and charges that the City levies for cost recovery of services provided to residents and businesses. The bylaw has previously included schedules that were difficult to navigate, which was thoroughly revised to feature 29 appendices named in a more user-friendly way.

Downtown residential density

Penticton council adopted zoning changes for 601/609 Ellis St. to allow a duplex on each property with secondary suites and parking structure. The project yields a total of 12 units, adding Downtown residential options. The application required a zoning change to urban residential from duplex.

Credit card processing

Penticton Council adopted the bylaw governing credit card processing, allowing the collection of a surcharge for credit card use.

Temporary construction fences

Penticton Council adopted bylaw changes that would add rules around temporary fencing and site construction fencing. The proposed changes take into consideration that construction and temporary fencing can be important to ensure safety and security while a property is under demolition or construction. This type of fencing is typically considered unaesthetic, particularly in downtown, tourist and general commercial areas – but some more dormant sites have the items erected for quite some time. The proposed bylaw outlines how temporary and construction fences that are not permanently affixed to the ground is only permitted on properties with a valid building permit, demolition permit or during special events. The proposed changes also include a fine of $250 for violating the bylaw provisions.

175 Kinney Avenue

Penticton Council passed an Official Community Plan change for 175 Kinney Ave. to medium density from parks and recreation. The applicant has indicated that the property cannot be sold with the current OCP designation of parkland. Zoning for the lot will remain large-lot residential (R1) after the rezoning application was defeated. Conceptual orientation plans attempt to minimize the potential impact to the view on neighbouring Cherry Lane Towers.

Council Highlights are written by communications staff at the City of Penticton. A PDF version [PDF - 73 KB] is available for download. If you require an official record of Council meeting resolutions, the Minutes are also available online.