Culos stymied again in rezoning bid at Kamloops Landmark development

Kamloops council denies permission to convert commercial space into residential units. Meanwhile, parking remains an issue at the development across from TRU

For the third time, Kamloops council has denied a Kelowna developer permission to rezone commercial space to residential units in the Landmark Heights development on McGill Road, across from Thompson Rivers University.

About 40 people — some of whom were also on hand to discuss impending changes to secondary suite rules — attended Tuesday night’s heated public hearing at Sandman Centre,

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Jonni’s Styling Studio owners Jonni and Darrel Yeomans own unit 101 at Landmark Place, at 765 McGill Rd. Their unit is on the same floor and shares a lobby and front entry with the two units developer Mike Culos asked to be rezoned — 102 and 103.

The Yeomans urged council to deny Culos’ rezoning, due to impacts on their business, which they say they purchased with their life savings after decades in the business. Jonni’s staff is now limited to buzzing in and out its clients as if it were located inside an apartment building, because they do not have a streetside entry, as do other businesses in the development.

“We’re alone and without critical public access, which definitely affects our business,” Darrel Yeomans said.

The Yeomans also noted the units in question have been all but converted to residential without proper approval. The city had issued Culos a stop-work order for pre-emptively converting the commercial units to residential.

It’s not the first time Culos has charged ahead without proper paperwork. Trees were cut down on lots next to the old CN Station downtown, contrary to the city’s tree removal bylaw.

Culos, however, said a plan remains in the hands of the strata council to provide the Yeomans daytime lobby access.

“We just think they would be far better residential,” Culos said of the units at the centre of the public hearing.

Without providing any reasons, council quashed Culos’ rezoning application. Moved by Coun. Dudy, it did not receive a seconder and therefore died on the floor. Coun. Arjun Singh had declared a conflict of interest, in light of family members living in one of the buildings.


However, the Yeomans were not the only ones calling on council to deny the rezoning.

It appears concerns continue to persist around a parking problem at the Landmark Heights development.

U District Liquor Store and Lucky’s owner Ramesh Patel, rheumatologist Dr. Barbara Blumenauer and periodontist Dr. Preety Desai again appeared before council, having spoken on the issue in March 2018 during Culos’ first failed bid to rezone.

Patel questioned a parking study conducted by Culos suggesting there is no parking problem and requested the city direct Culos to provide 20 parking stalls or build a parking lot on adjacent cemetery land to the south of Landmark.

Parking has been a sticky issue, dating back to a covenant that failed to be registered on the property, which would have allowed shared parking among Landmark Heights’ four buildings. Instead, multiple stratas continue to squabble over the spaces.

Earlier Tuesday, a closed council decision made public during that afternoon’s regular council meeting revealed council rejected plans to lease 600 square metres of Hillside Cemetery land to the strata at Landmark One and Landmark Two, which would have provided 21 more parking stalls for residents and businesses.

Council did not support the request and instead instructed administration to prepare a business case to build a city-owned parking lot in that location. Voting in favour of that option were Mayor Ken Christian and councillors Dudy, Dale Bass, Sadie Hunter, Bill Sarai, Kathy Sinclair and Denis Walsh. Coun. Mike O’Reilly was opposed and Singh recused himself in light of his conflict of interest.

When that information came to council this past March, council quashed the idea in light of estimated costs and return on investment and requested another business case based on a $75 per month parking stall rate for a 75-stall parking lot at Hillside Cemetery. However, on June 11, that idea also failed to gain traction, due to costs.

Following the decision on Tuesday, Hunter asked staff to include other options as part of a cemetery parking plan.

© Kamloops This Week


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