Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Penticton city council approved a unique land swap deal this week that will allow a 33-unit subdivision to be built at 157 Abbott St., on the east side of downtown.
“The land exchange being proposed is not a conventional proposal,” director of development services Anthony Haddad told council.
The subject properties are surrounded by an existing apartment building to the north, the Westminster electrical substation to the east, and a mix of single-family and duplex homes to the south and west, said Haddad.
The site was originally 12 parcels of land, and a laneway that was closed in 2006 runs through the proposed development zone. The laneway was sold to the developer for $130,000.
The original developer planned a multi-storey residential development on the site back in 2007, but a new developer has much-different plans, said Haddad.
“They’re now looking to return the lands back to smaller parcels in order to allow for three residential units on each parcel of land, providing for a unique housing option in our community,” he said.
The development would include a mixture of single-detached homes, duplexes and carriage or secondary houses with three units on 11 lots, for a total of 33 residences.
“This development will be the first of its kind in Penticton, whereby each single-family or a smaller parcel of land will be permitted to form three different kinds of residential dwelling units,” said Haddad.
The developer will be providing a residential area offering different kinds of affordable housing options in a compact downtown neighbourhood, he said.
Having the city allow lane access will provide angle parking at the rear of each residential unit.
The developer has proposed a “land exchange” that will see the city take ownership of the laneway, while the owner will pay for all underground electrical and property frontage upgrades, as well as 17 public-access parking spots in the area.
The laneway being returned to the city is just over 4,000 square feet. With a value of $36 per square foot based on the recent sale price for these lands, that would put the value of the land at $150,000, said Haddad.
The value of the land the city would hand over to the developer along the boulevard area would be just over $152,000, he said.
Coun. Campbell Watt praised development staff for being “incredibly creative” with the proposal.
“This looks very much to me like a win-win,” he said.
Mayor John Vassilaki strongly supported to deal too.
“I’ve been looking for matters like this to come before the council for many, many years, and I’m really happy that not only the proponent, but also our city staff (work) to think outside the box and come up with solutions,” he said.
“The other important thing is we are getting a variety of housing here. It’s not just one type of housing, but there’s three different types of housing per building in here.”
Construction is expected to begin within the next several months.