Potential build in Lake Country puts spotlight on lakeview sightline bylaw

Lake Country neighbours asked to come to compromise to allow for view of Okanagan Lake

Potential build in Lake Country puts spotlight on  lakeview sightline bylaw

How much of a view of Okanagan Lake is left after construction of a new home has become an issue for neighbours of a proposed single family home on Finch Road in Lake Country.

And now Lake Country council has left it up to the three property owners to come up with a compromise before the issue comes back to council.

Council deferred a decision on allowing Team Construction to begin building a 2,840 square foot single family home on Finch Road due to the fact the plans for the home infringe upon Lake Country’s lake development sightline bylaw.

That bylaw protects the lake view of existing homes so that they have a 120 degree panoramic view of the lake, keeping new homes from blocking sight lines of existing properties. In essence, a new home must not be built inside a 60 degree line coming from their neighbours home.

On Finch Road, the couple in question have owned the undeveloped property since 1993. Original plans to build put their home in contravention of the bylaw, coming within the 60-degree sightline of both of its neighbours. Their original application for a variance to the bylaw was turned down by Lake Country council on Feb. 2.

Last week the issue was brought back for reconsideration with two new options, either building the home deeper into the rock to drop the level three metres and allow for better sightlines for its neighbours or move the construction back, out of the way of one neighbour but still infringing on the second neighbour.

“They’ve owned the property since 1993 and they’d like to build their dream home,” said Charles Kullen of Team Construction. “They want to join the fabric of the neighbourhood…they are interested in keeping the sight lines as clear as possible.”

The couple did not appear at the meeting, but both sets of neighbours did speak to council and neither was happy with the proposed development, arguing that the house should not impede on their views and potential rock blasting could also negatively affect their properties, the topography of which features rocks and trees and a steep drop toward Okanagan Lake.

“We are concerned we’re going to be staring at the side of another home,” said one neighbour, who owns the property to the north of the proposed development. “The builder says it’s not going to affect the value of our home but we disagree with that.”

New plans showed the builder would move the proposed home back on the property, a narrow, 2.22 acre parcel, but the home would still be located ahead of each of the neighbour properties.

Lake Country staff had recommended approving the new plans saying that the topography of the land means the sightline bylaw could be amended.

“This variance request has merit given that there is a significant topographical change between the two existing residences and the proposed residence,” stated a report to council. “Further the existing lot is densely vegetated. Sight lines up and down the lake for existing dwellings are obscured and therefore not truly impacted.”

Councillors weren’t convinced through and asked the developer to go back to the two neighbour properties and try to work out a compromise. Council heard one way to alleviate the problem would be to move the building back so that it is parallel to the two neighbour homes, but the builder said that wasn’t an ideal option either.

“If they moved the property back everybody’s privacy would be really reduced,” said Cullen. “The decks would be side by side and everyone could see everyone walking around in their underwear.”

The issue is expected to be back at council in the future.