Video shows general area of Reservoir Rd. application. The area consists of 32 hectares (~80 acres) of land designated Forestry and Grazing with 16 hectare minimum lot sizes. The risk from wildfire from the forest interface as determined by the Wildland Urban Interface Threat Assessment Worksheet has given this property a High Wildfire Behavior Threat Class Rating. Video taken from Township 7 Winery.
Our concern with this proposed sub-division on the hillside south of Reservoir Road, is the precedent it will set for the approximately 290 hectares (736 acres) of city land that we need to protect from development on the hillsides along the Naramata Bench.
The proposed development takes us further away from a compact and affordable urban footprint and moves us closer to using rural, agricultural land for development at huge environmental, social and economic cost.
The Official Community Plan (OCP) for Penticton states that Infill development and densification is to be prioritized over any greenfield or hillside development. Environmentally sensitive and riparian areas are all to be protected. Given climate change, and fire and drought concerns, building in the hillsides and forested areas North of Penticton are very concerning. Our hillsides are burning all around us, we are on drought level 5, we need to reevaluate the future land use designations in the OCP in the rural areas. Our future is changing.
The developer is asking for a site-specific OCP amendment to subdivide and revise the land use designation from Forestry and Grazing 16 hectare (39.5 acres) minimum lot size to Country Residential with a 0.4 ha (1 acre) minimum lot size. Currently the Rural Residential designation in the future land use designation in the OCP is 1 hectare (2.47 acres).
The city planners are telling the public there is no need for 1 hectare lots unless you need to keep a safe distance between your water well and your septic (these proposed lots will be serviced with city water). It is extremely doubtful this was this reason alone that 1 hectare lot size was put in place in the rural residential zoning in our OCP. More likely, it was to conform with the surrounding rural and agricultural areas, and to maintain the character of our rural community and agricultural heritage.
The reality is it is not about water, or septic. It’s about the precedent the Reservoir Road development will set for future development of rural and agricultural lands.
The Society for the Preservation of the Naramata Bench continues to ask the city to hear the recommendation of Interior Health that future growth take place close to existing urban areas with an emphasis on affordability and that the NE sector of Penticton (city lands in the rural community North of Penticton) is accordingly removed as a future growth area in the OCP.
If you care about densification of our countryside, please participate in the Shape-your-city information sessions. Complete the feedback forms, ask the city planners questions, write to Council, tell your neighbours and friends and please participate in the public hearing on September 12th, 2023.
It is the only way for city council to know how you feel, and it will take a community, to change their minds about allowing this subdivision in the rural community to proceed with 0.4-hectare zoning.
Please fill out the feedback form by Sept 3rd, attend an information session, and participate in the public hearing on September 12th. See link below for all the details and feedback form: