By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
Osoyoos Town Council on Tuesday gave initial support to two business additions to the Gateway Plaza – a drive-through KFC restaurant and a drive-through Great Canadian Oil Change with a car wash.
Applications for both projects were submitted separately by Osoyoos developer Hart Buckendahl. Gateway Plaza is the plaza anchored by Buy-Low Foods.
The KFC would be located next to Highway 97 between Interior Savings and the grocery store.
There is no access to the plaza from Highway 97 and customers need to enter from Highway 3 or from Eagle Court.
The oil change and car wash would be located between the Highway 3 entrance and the Dollar Store With More.
Neither proposal led to debate Tuesday, as councillors accepted the recommedations of Gina MacKay, director of planning and development services.
The only disagreement was over the timing of a required public hearing on a zoning amendment for the oil change business.
Councillor Mike Campol argued to hold it at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 so that people who work can attend. He was overruled by the rest of council, who voted to hold the hearing at the usual 4 p.m. when town staff are normally around.
MacKay told council that the KFC proposal will require reconfiguration of parking, as the restaurant will be built in an area now used as part of the parking lot. Nonetheless, both the restaurant and the plaza will still meet parking requirements.
Although MacKay has delegated approval authority to issue development permits, she chose to exercise her discretion to bring the application to council to authorize the permit.
The 16-seat restaurant will be 144 square metres (1,550 square feet) in size and there will be a pick-up window at the rear of the building. The existing median will need to be relocated to accommodate the restaurant.
Councillor C.J. Rhodes asked if any existing businesses at the plaza had expressed concerns about the restaurant.
MacKay said that despite a sign being up, no concerns have been expressed to date.
Campol, who has worked with franchise restaurants in the past, pointed out that other businesses there would probably welcome the KFC because it becomes a good draw as a convenience stop at the plaza, thereby drawing some traffic to other businesses.
MacKay said she did discuss the proposal with Interior Savings. Ultimately, the size of the restaurant was reduced during the consultations to give it a more reasonable footprint.
The oil change and car wash business, unlike the KFC, does require a zoning bylaw amendment because this type of business is not currently a permitted use in the C2-Shopping Centre Commercial Zone.
The proposed building is smaller than the four existing commerical buildings in the Gateway Plaza and it will use vacant undeveloped commercial space.
“The owner does not anticipate the business will generate enough traffic to become an issue,” said MacKay in her report to council. “And, due to the nature of the drive-through business and its location in a commerical plaza, customer parking will not be a concern.”
There is only one other car wash business in Osoyoos, and while there are several businesses that can change oil, there are none close to the Highway 97 and 3 intersection.
“Planning staff is of the belief that the use is appropriate for the location,” MacKay concluded, adding that the town policy is to avoid sprawl development.