Farwell motel owners want zoning fairness

Owners of Days Inn, Monashee Lodge and Gateway Inn want zoning changed to allow people in C6 zone to build up to 5.5 storeys.

The owners of the Days Inn

Hotel owners in the Farwell neighbourhood want the city to change the zoning for their area to allow them option to build up their hotels.

The owners of the Days Inn, Monashee Lodge and Gateway Inn submitted an application that would change the maximum height allowed in the C6 zone to 26.5-metres, or 5.5-storeys, from the existing 10.5 metres, 2.5-storey maximum. The change, if approved, would impact commercial properties on Victoria Road from the railway bridge to Garden Avenue.

“One person on the block was able to circumvent that city bylaw. For whatever reasons that was, the present proactive, progressive city council awarded him the variance on that bylaw,” said Dean Leman, the owner of the Monashee Lodge. “At least one of the other three kids on the block  had already applied for the same variance and was turned down.

“If one person is allowed to do it, we feel there should be an even playing field and everyone with the C6 zoning should be allowed to do it.”

The circumvention Leman is referring to is the recent council decision to approve a height variance for a new hotel proposed by the Revelstoke Land and Development Company. Council approved the increased height, despite the opposition from a majority of neighbours.

The owners of the three existing motels wrote a letter to city council complaining of a lack of fairness. In the letter, they wrote that William Zhao, the owner of the Gateway Inn, applied to increase the height of his building six years ago, but was turned down.

“There have been questions about that, there have been ideas. People have thought about it and wanted to do it,” said Leman.

In response to council’s decision, the three motel owners filed an official re-zoning application with the city to modify the C6 zoning to allow for 26.5-metre high buildings throughout the area.

The application has been referred to the advisory planning commission and will eventually go to council, possibly as soon as next week.

“We haven’t formulated a report or recommendation at this point. We’re just collecting information,” Dean Strachan, the city’s manager of development services, told the Review.

Staff and council will need to evaluate the potential impact of the change given that it would affect buildings all the way along Victoria Road.

“We’ll have more to say when we report to council,” he said.

Leman said he wasn’t worried about the new hotel hurting his business — he just wanted everyone to play by the same rules.

“If this one is built, anyone else should have the right and privilege of doing the same thing,” he said.