After considerable discussion, a public hearing and staff reports, Kimberley City Council has decided that they will not proceed with a zoning change to allow a car wash to be built on Marsden Street.
The lot in question is just to the north west side of the Marsden Street bridge, across the creek and a small road from the Baptist Church. While the lot is already zoned commercial, a car wash was not allowed under the current zoning, so the proponent applied for a change.
Council has decided that a car wash is not appropriate in the mostly residential neighbourhood, though not without a lot of discussion.
Council was presented with a staff report from the planning department offering three options. 1; refuse to proceed with the bylaw, 2; defer pending submission of further information or 3; approve it. The report recommended that Council give second and third readings and adoption to the zoning change.
However, Council was not prepared to do so. Coun. Albert Hoglund led off by saying he would vote against the rezoning. He said he was disappointed in the staff report because it failed to mention a petition that had been brought forward by residents.
“In my mind, enough residents of that area showed they didn’t want the lot rezoned,” he said.
Coun. Darryl Oakley also said he wouldn’t support it. He said he had been down to the neighbourhood several times and felt that the neighbours were comfortable with the current commercial zoning.
Coun. Jack Ratcliffe said he would support it.
“There have been so many cases in the past where what was forecast to happen didn’t happen,” he said, pointing out that years ago when the Bauernhaus Restaurant was seeking a development permit neighbourhood residents had been greatly concerned.
“People were against it,” he said. “If we’d gone with that, the Bauernhaus wouldn’t be there. Then there was a daycare on St. Mary Avenue that the neighbours didn’t want. Again, we went ahead and it worked fine. The neighbours later came back to Council and apologized for causing a fuss. That’s the only time I’ve seen that in my 29 years on Council.”
Coun. Don McCormick also said he’d support it. He said he felt there were enough regulations in place that would make sure the car wash was not a detriment.
“The current zoning is commercial and there are things a lot worse than a car wash that would be allowed.”
He added that the owners bought the lot as a commercial property and should expect that a commercial venture would be allowed.
Coun. Kent Goodwin said he had been to the neighbourhood and had even been down to the Marysville car washes and observed them for quite some time.
“I think there would be significant noise and bother to the immediate neighbours,” he said. He also pointed out that Kimberley Official Community Plan said that commercial areas spot zoned in a mainly residential area must maintain residential form and character, and he believed that applied in this case.
Coun. Bev Middlebrook said she supported the rezoning. She also spent some time observing the Marysville car washes, and in fact lived near them, and said there was never a time where she found traffic to be an issue. She did note that homes near those car washes dealt with noise with higher fences and shrubs.
“There is no car wash in Kimberley and we are supposed to be encouraging business. I find it hard to say no.”
With Council deadlocked, it was down to Mayor Ron McRae.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’m torn,” he said. “Because I’m torn, I won’t support second reading. I would urge residents of the neighbourhood and the owners of the property to come together and find a way past this impasse. There is still potential for commercial development on that lot.”