Several area residents, a local business owner, and city staff oppose an OCP amendment and rezoning to allow Volaré Medical Aesthetics to remain permanently.
Several nearby residents, an area business owner, and city staff oppose an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment and rezoning to allow Volaré Medical Aesthetics to remain permanently in a converted home in the Crescents area.
The dermatology clinic, located at 1677 Seventh Ave., has been in operation since 2021 when the city council approved a three-year temporary use permit to allow commercial use in a former urban residential zoned home. According to the clinic’s website, Volaré specializes in cosmetic skin treatments like botox injections.
On Monday, City Council will consider an OCP amendment request to change the designation of the Crescents area home from residential to downtown and rezone the building from urban residential to commercial conversion.
“OUR CHILDREN SEE OPEN DRUG USE”
In a letter to City Council, Seventh Avenue resident and homeowner Bryce Lamont said he was concerned that more businesses in the area could cause downtown problems in his neighborhood.
“Our children frequently witness outdoor drug use, heavy accumulation of litter and outdoor ‘camping’. I’m extremely reluctant to support any changes that might hurt residential areas when we can’t even cope with the current situation downtown, and I hope council can recognize that our downtown is in a very serious state of disorder,” Lamont wrote. . “If there was a way to support the current owners in their business, without rezoning, I would support it 100 (%). However, if that means opening a door for any other business, if (they) choose to sell in the future, I can’t stand the unknown so close to home.
Seventh Avenue resident Maureen Massini said in a letter to city council that there are already several businesses operating out of converted homes in the neighborhood.
“An amendment to the OCP to allow rezoning at C8 Commercial west of Vancouver Street will set a precedent that this neighborhood is ‘open for business’ and this area will be part of downtown,” Massini said. “I chose my property several years ago because it had the character and charm of a property I had always dreamed of and I worked hard with many others to develop the Crescent neighborhood plan to preserve this area and its character.”
Volaré’s temporary use permit is valid until July 2024, Massini added, and she urged council to delay consideration of OCP’s proposed amendment and rezoning until then.
“SAFER AND PRECIER THAN DOWNTOWN”
In a letter to council, Tanya Wood, owner of salon and day spa The London – which is located in the same block as Volaré – said she chose to locate her business there because it is not downtown. She was able to rezone her property for commercial use without needing an OCP change, Wood added, and there are many other places the clinic could move to without needing an OCP amendment.
“I deliberately chose this area and paid more because it was safer and prettier than downtown. I hope the city can focus on improving our downtown area before spreading downtown issues to good areas,” Wood wrote. “I’m very proud of what I have in my business and my neighbors and customers are very happy as well. Changing 7th Avenue to “Downtown” would be a huge mistake and I would consider selling and closing my business if that came to fruition.
Like Massini, Wood also urged council to delay a decision on the OCP amendment and rezoning until the temporary use permit expires in 2024, to give neighbors and nearby businesses time to judge. of the company’s total impact on the region.
In a May 24 report, the city’s director of planning and development, Deanna Wasnik, said city staff recommended denying the OCP amendment and rezoning because it did not fit the neighborhood map of Crescents. City staff also recommended denying the company’s temporary use permit in 2021.
“The subject property is on the west side of Vancouver Street, half a block along 7th Avenue, in an established residential area. OCP policy does not support the expansion of non-commercial commercial uses to properties west of parcels along Vancouver Street,” Wasnik wrote. “Furthermore, OCP directs commercial and service uses in the neighborhoods to collector and arterial streets…While 7th Avenue is classified as a minor collector, OCP does not designate this road as a corridor for public transport. commercial and service expansion.”
‘AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE IN THE COMMUNITY’
Seventh Avenue resident Phil Gobbi wrote a letter in support of the rezoning.
“The current business of this property has been in operation for several months and the improvements have improved the neighborhood without causing a significant change in the lifestyle of the residential community,” Gobbi wrote. “The only concern I have is that street parking for residents during the day has been somewhat affected.
Besides wanting to see clinic clients use the parking lot at the back of the building, instead of parking on the street, Gobbi was in favor of changing and rezoning OCP.
In a cover letter supporting their application, Volaré owners Dr. Amy Johnson and Mike Davis said the property was a perfect fit and “has a lovely boutique feel to it”.
“For 10 years, we have dreamed of operating a local boutique clinic specializing in medical and dermatological treatments. Currently, due to a lack of community dermatologists, patients are usually referred to physicians outside the community or treated by visiting physicians. Over the past (two) years, through his skin clinic, Dr. Johnson has performed an essential service in the community,” Johnson and Davis wrote. “We are local investors and entrepreneurs looking to contribute to the economic growth of our city and are passionate about playing a role in helping to add pride and essential services to our community.”
OCP’s proposed amendment and rezoning will be considered by council, following a public hearing around 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers. The deadline for submitting written comments to the Board on the proposal is Monday noon.