Williams Lake realtor Henry van Soest said it’s about time a city lot on Proctor Street is turned back into residential property.
“This place has been in existence as a residential property since day one, since I think about 1959,” van Soest said.
When the city incorporated areas that were taken out of the regional district, they were put into municipal boundaries and there was a change to their zoning.
“There was very little understanding of it and people in the circumstances afterwards paid commercial taxes for all these years, which is a real shame,” van Soest told the Tribune.
At Tuesday’s regular council meeting city council passed a zoning amendment bylaw and an official community plan amendment bylaw to change the property zoning at 907 Proctor Street from Mixed Use to Residential Single Family.
During the public hearing before the bylaw was passed, van Soest told council the lot on Proctor Street has been owned by the same family since the 1950s and they have been paying “excessive” commercial taxes ever since the property was incorporated into the city.
“So they’ve paid their dues and supported the community through commercial taxation all the while being strictly a residential property.
“This is long overdue that it be turned back to residential.”
Van Soest said the property has been listed for quite some time and there’s been a fair number of people looking at the property, but 99 per cent of them are only interested in it as a residential property.
“The one person who did express interest in it as commercial found it did not have the proper location with enough exposure and the cost of renovation would be excessive for a business venture,” van Soest said.
In the current commercial zoning an owner would have to follow the commercial building code to do any renovations to the property, which adds extra costs, he said. “Also, the insurance issue is quite significant. There’s a much higher insurance cost because of the zoning and thirdly, the bank finance issue is monstrous. The banks will not touch this property period as a residential property.”
“There’s a substantial down payment, upwards of 35 per cent required to purchase this property and a substantially higher interest rate.”
Van Soest said Friday there are other lots within the city in the same predicament and he anticipates more rezoning applications will be coming forward.
“There’s one in Glendale, one next to the one I represented at 907 Proctor, and up on Mayfield there are two trailers I know the owner will want to deal with.”
On Tuesday council also approved a zoning amendment bylaw for the property at 2008 Second Ave. North, changing it to Single Family Residential 2.
The change will allow the owner to replace a legal non-conforming use being a manufactured home.
During the public hearing Elke Reiner, who owns property in the vicinity, said it is always positive to see an upgrade and legalization of properties.
“When Glendale was incorporated into the city, a lot of what should have been done in regards to zoning was not done. The bylaws weren’t matched in accordance, so in this case it is my husband’s and my belief to legalize this property which has been situated there for at least 35 years would be very very positive.”
The only conditions the Reiners have is because the property is part of a parcel, that all building codes will be enforced.
Property owner Kathleen Wittenberg told council she was shocked to find out they couldn’t replace the manufactured home.
“We’ve been there for 20 years and only found out when we phoned to see how far we were allowed to move from the lot,” she said. “I’m hoping that everything will go OK.”