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'Dull' development moved forward

'Dull - run of the mill - disappointing.'

That's how one Kelowna City Councillor described a proposed development at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 97 and 33.

New Town Architectural Services brought forth an application to have the property, formerly the Vineyard Inn Motel, rezoned from C9 Tourist Commercial to C4 Urban Centre Zone to allow for office retail and service uses.

"I have to say this is a pretty dull, run of the mill project. I would hope we have a much better quality project in this very important location," says Councillor Robert Hobson.

"It is a very important location and it requires a signature development. The issue is the visual quality of it and to just see a couple of building and parking at Highway 33 and 97 is disappointing."

The developer took the unusual step of asking for the rezoning prior to submitting a Development Permit application, however, Urban Land Use Manager, Danielle Noble assured council that would be a requirement before a zoning amendment bylaw gets final approval.

The envisioned development includes a four storey commercial building at the rear, a lower profile multi-tenant building parallel to Powick Road, two free-standing single tenant commercial buildings and parking.

The proposal also includes the possibility of a drive-thru business at the corner of Highway 33 and 97 that further irked council.

While the drawings outlining the project are completely conceptual, Councillor Gail Given led the opposition to the drive-thru concept.

"For me that was a little bit of a red flag. It would be similar to the Rexall Drug Store drive-thru (Hollywood Road and Rutland Road)," says Given.

"I just want it to be of note that a drive-thru at the front corner of a main intersection is not something I would find supportable and would encourage any future development that comes forward to address that in a different manner to make sure it looks more like a gateway project and not a drive-thru."

As for the rezoning itself, council agreed the C4 Zone is a proper application for the property, however, they did agree that, as a city gateway, any development should be a showpiece.

The application did get initial approval and will go forward to a future public hearing.

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