The intersection at Haven Hill Road and Johnson Road in Penticton.

The intersection at Haven Hill Road and Johnson Road in Penticton.

Resident concerned about Haven Hill corner

A Penticton neighbourhood is concerned about a local convenience store adding truck rentals to its offerings.

A Penticton neighbourhood is concerned about a local convenience store adding truck rentals to its offerings.

Sometime during the week of Jan. 25, several U-Haul trucks, trailers and cube vans appeared in the parking lot of the Rocky Store, at the intersection of Haven Hill and Johnson Roads.

It wasn’t long before the phones started ringing at Penticton City Hall.

“The owner of the store began operating a franchise vehicle rental, U-Haul, business as an accompaniment to the principal use. This generated a number of complaints, ranging from the unsightliness of the operation, the non-permitted use of the land and safety issues for vehicular traffic approaching the corner,” said Jules Hall, director of development services.”

When bylaw enforcement officers visited the site, they found 11 U-Haul units on the site. The property is zoned Neighbourhood Commercial, which allows for the convenience store and accessory uses, but does not permit vehicle sales or rental.

According to Hall, city staff did not feel the U-Haul business, as it was set up, met the definition of an accessory use, and told the owner, Sherlock Oh, he must either cease the rental operation or apply to the city to amend the zoning bylaw to accommodate the use.

He chose the latter and on Feb. 12 submitted plans to the city showing six spots for trucks and another three for vehicles.

That zoning amendment, which Hall said has been carefully worded to ensure that the rental business does not become the dominant activity on the property, came before council on March 7 and was given first reading after a short discussion. It will be back before council at a public hearing on March 21.

“It needs to be thoroughly discussed, because there are multiple problems,” said one of the neighbours, Brad Houston, who has lived in the area since 1963. One of his main concerns is the possibility of accidents.

“It is something to see a big truck, or a truck pulling a trailer drive out into oncoming traffic that is coming uphill, crossing into downhill traffic that is usually coming at a fair lick. There is a real potential for accidents,” said Houston. “If he is allowed to do this, then there certainly needs to be traffic controls put in.”

Coun. Campbell Watt said he drives that road twice a day, and has not had concerns.

“I have never had an issue with visibility or any safety concerns,” said Watt.

Coun. Judy Sentes said she drives the road often as well, and though she agreed with Watt’s comment about safety, she isn’t sure the U-Haul business is a proper use.

“I just don’t know that it is appropriate in the middle of a residential area,” she said. “I will support this on the basis of it going to public hearing. I really want to know what other people think.”

Besides Coun. Max Picton, the only vote against this amendment came from Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

“I think it clashes with the neighbourhood. It is quite a residential area and it is not really a complement to the convenience store,” said Jakubeit.

Houston was also concerned about how Oh moved the vehicle rental operation onto the store property.

“It is interesting that the shopkeeper there just went ahead without getting any authorization with city hall or having it looked at by the city engineers or the planners. Just allowing no change of pattern as for traffic control in that lot,” said Houston. “Saying it is part of the convenience just doesn’t hold water.”


Penticton Western News