An open house will be the next step for a proposed new Vernon neighborhood on the site of the former McMechan Water Reservoir.
The Highlands of East Hill would include 173 various types of housing units on a 20 acre site on 39th Avenue.
Mayor Akbal Mund says the development will include single family homes, duplexes and row housing.
“It’s going to be affordable for people with household income of $50,000 to $65,000, probably a significant amount of those units, because those places are not large in terms of square footage.”
The city sold the land to Vernon Reservoir Developments for about 6.5 million dollars last year.
The proposed development includes a new park, connected trail systems, active laneways and walkable streets designed to slow automobile traffic. A small commercial node is proposed to provide services to surrounding residents.
“It’s close to downtown, and the way people are looking at the e-bike now, it’s very easy to get up and down (East Hill) using an electric bike, which are becoming more popular,” says Mund.
City staff say the proposed development looks to add diversity to the housing supply and support Vernon’s growing population.
“In order to accommodate growth in a sustainable and affordable manner, residential development is being encouraged close to existing services and amenities, like schools, parks and shopping. This approach uses existing infrastructure more efficiently and helps to protect rural areas, agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas,” says Cleo Corbett, long range planner with the City.
The site, known as the McMechan Reservoir, was previously used as an open air water reservoir and was decommissioned in 2006. The sales agreement to Vernon Reservoir Developments Ltd. required the developer to apply to rezone the land and prepare all the necessary professional planning and engineering work to support the application.
Council also supported a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the property going towards Attainable Housing. Seven to 10 units at Highlands of East Hill are proposed to be sold below market value to the Vernon and District Community Land Trust. The units, which would be spread throughout the development, would be rented to families household annual income levels below the Vernon median income.
City Administration has been directed to prepare the necessary bylaws for the proposal to be considered.
An open house is expected later in August to present the proposal to the public and get feedback.
“There typically will be some opposition because people like nothing built beside them. I get that, but that property is due for development. It’s been due for probably 30 years now,” adds Mund.