Kelowna council will hear back on safety concerns around a Benvoulin development

Road worry derails council

Kelowna city council got sidetracked over safety concerns of Mayer Road while deciding whether to issue a development permit for a 187-unit apartment complex.

The development in question is for three five-storey apartment buildings on an empty piece of property facing Benvoulin Road and bordering Cooper Road.

While trying to determine the actual form and character and landscaping plan for the proposed development, council got derailed into a lengthy discussion around the traffic impacts pertaining to an extension of Mayer Road.

"There is congestion, Benvoulin Road is completely congested," said Coun. Maxine DeHart who says she travels the road three of four times a day.

"Right at Mayer, you are waiting for the light on Springfield. I want to vote for the building, but I don't like the intersection."

Planning director Terry Barton told council the extension of Mayer Road has been in the works for about a decade as developments spring up in the area.

"(The Mayer Road extension) has been reviewed by our engineering department. This is a deal that has been put together by multiple property owners," said Barton.

"This is only one property that is contributing to Mayer Road, so it's one the city has been working on for the better part of a decade with contributions from a number of developers, so the plan has been in place for a number of years."

While the extension of Mayer Road needs to be included within the development permit, approval of the design and the intersection doesn't get established until the building permit stage which is still to come.

"Approval of the development permit today does not necessarily preclude the specific design of what happens with Mayer Road."

He also reminded council that only form and character was on the table Monday, a reminder echoed by city clerk Stephen Fleming.

"I want to refocus council's attention on what is before you, and it is a development permit which is form and character of the structures and the landscape plan,"said Fleming.

"All the traffic comments you made are valid. My concern is if you make a decision through that lens, you may be making a decision for the wrong reasons."

Such a decision, he said, could be challenged by the developer.

Council did approve the development permit by a 7-2 vote with councillor Gord Lovegrove and Charlie Hodge voting against.

Lovegrove cited the sheer length of the development, calling it a "brick, nd it needs to be broken up."

Council also unanimously voted to have the city's engineering department bring back a report with answers to some of the questions council raised over traffic and safety.

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