Monaco take two on life support

Kelowna City Council continues to wrestle with the merits of a large development proposed for the corner of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street.

They are asking the developers of the controversial Monaco project to try again.

Developers of the Monaco project originally envisioned two towers with heights of 22 and 26 storeys.

Council shot down that proposal in the spring, not because of the height, but the sheer mass of the towers and the fact they were only 9.29 metres apart as opposed to the required 30 metres for structures over 22 metres in height.

Premier Pacific Group the developers proposing the project were back before council Monday with a new design with towers reaching 22 and 30 storeys in height.

The smaller 22 story southern tower would house a hotel (128 suites) with the taller 30 story northern tower set aside for 161 condo suites.

Separation between the two towers is 19.6 metres with a footprint area of 822 square metres.

The new Official Community Plan calls for a separation of 36 metres when a building exceeds 26 storeys and a footprint of 697 square metres.

Despite staff's' non support, Premier Pacific Group hoped it had a design council could agree with.

They couldn't - and again, the overall mass or footprint of the north tower and the lack of significant separation between the two towers was the holdup, not the height.

"No we could not (entertain a smaller footprint). We would have to hit our target of about eight units per floor to make that project work," Dueck told council.

"With the square footage of each unit it just would not be possible to build anything that we feel is sellable and reasonable to the public."

Councillor Robert Hobson says he is happy with the density of the proposed project and not concerned with height. It's size and separation Hobson has concerns about.

"I guess my feeling is having gone through the whole process of the Downtown Plan and having agreed with, what I thought was quite a reasonable compromise to accept greater height as long as we had a separation between towers, that was a reasonable place to land," says Hobson.

"If you are going to bring forward the first major project after the plan, you had better not be just a nice project and not just iconic, you have to be the best of the best. I just feel to go to a separation that is 17.9 metres less than we require as the minimum separation and then bulk up one of the towers that also doesn't meet the size is kind of a log in the eye."

Hobson says it would create a precedent for each subsequent applicant to further pick apart the Downtown Plan.

"This is quite a stretch, in my view, from where the plan ended up."

One by one, councillors agreed with assertions by Hobson and staff but also agreed the project is viable and deserves a chance to be re-worked and brought back for further consideration.

"I am looking to defer a motion because he's (developer) heard our comments, he clearly understands the vote and where we would end up today and I don't want to vote anything down because then he would have to wait six months unless there are major changes," Councillor Andre Blanleil stated in presenting the deferral motion.

"If he can go back with staff and see if they can come up with something that is palatable for staff to support it."

Blanleil says he hopes staff and the developer could come up with some kind of compromise between the required 697 square foot floor plan and the hoped for 822 square metres.

"By deferring I think it leaves some options to go back and talk to staff."

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