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Hart residents react to intersection development

An application to develop an intersection in the Hart is receiving a mixed reaction from neighbours. A public hearing during tonight's city council meeting will deal with parcels of property at the intersection of Monterey Road and Highway 97.

An application to develop an intersection in the Hart is receiving a mixed reaction from neighbours.

A public hearing during tonight's city council meeting will deal with parcels of property at the intersection of Monterey Road and Highway 97.

Matte Bros. and Sons and Comet Investments have proposed zoning and official community plan changes to allow for a mini-storage facility and motel and restaurant on the west side of the highway.

Brodie Otway wrote in to the city to offer support for the development on the southwest side of the intersection that is slated for a two-storey, 90 unit motel and restaurant with up to 90 seats, stating that though a hotel would be preferred, dining options in the community are limited.

But allowing the change from a residential and commercial use to a site-specific zoning for the mini-storage facility wasn't as accepted.

"I feel that a storage facility at that location will be an eyesore for people entering the community," Otway wrote, noting there are few benefits for local residents. "These types of businesses don't employ many people, so there would be minimal direct economic benefit to residents in the area. Also, most homes in the area are on large lots with garages, sheds, and shops so the residents generally have very little need for storage units."

Commercial mini storage "does not belong in a residential complex area, but is more suitable to an industrial setting," agreed Wendy Taylor.

There should be movement towards beautifying the Hart and improving its reputation said others who commented on the application.

"The Hart area already has a reputation for not being a nice area to live and having lower property values, we feel our area with the section of newer beautiful homes is trying to improve that image and adding mini-storage and a motel will add no value to the neighbourhood and once again detract those from living in the Hart and negatively impact our property value," wrote Vanessa Mayer and Issam Batarseh.

Staff have recommended approval of the applications, given that their location at a major intersection along the highway could be better suited for commercial uses as opposed to low-density residential uses.

However the proposed zone "requires that any commercial uses be oriented towards Monterey Road to establish prominence over the mini-storage units and to create a more inviting curb appeal," the staff report said.

Public hearings begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall.