Kelowna council approves Rutland apartment building despite concerns

Rutland apartment approved

Kelowna city council had some concerns Monday about a proposed Dougall Road apartment.

But despite those reservations, they overwhelmingly approved a development permit for the six-storey, 105-unit apartment just south of the intersection with Leathead and Dougall Road North.

Chief among the concerns was an amenity contribution for additional density and height that council felt was not commensurate to what they received.

Planner Barbara Crawford told council the developer is paying $63,815 for an additional two storeys as well as more density on the property.

"The base height is four storeys and with the payment based off lot area - in the Rutland Urban Centre that's $20 per square foot of lot area - that allows them the bonus in height to six storeys," said Crawford.

Stack called that "a very modesty contribution to the reserve."

"I think we need to revisit what the cost for the benefit that the developer is seeking and what the appropriate value of that benefit is," said Stack.

"Now that we have a few examples, I would ask staff to bring them back to us and say this is what the trade off was on this site and the trade off on that site."

Crawford said the amenity bonus, part of the new zoning bylaw, will come up for review sometime next year.

In terms of the development permit, staff characterized the application as "generally meeting OCP guidelines," which caught the attention of Coun. Maxine DeHart.

"What didn't it meet?" she asked.

"Generally indicates from staff to council that it is not necessarily an architectural masterpiece that we are presenting, but they have hit key components of ground-oriented apartment housing that we are concerned about," said Crawford.

"The quality of materials comes into play as well. Bear in mind a lot of this comes down to cost for the developers."

Planning director Ryan Smith added not every building is going to be a 10 out of 10, suggesting if that is what the city wanted to achieve there would be far less construction in the city today.

"When you see a recommendation of support on a development permit, it's because we've considered often 90 different factors and it's met enough of those to be a very good building," said Smith.

"If it were a sub par building, the recommendation would have been a negative one."

Given its location and the need for attainable housing, council voted 8-1 to approve the development permit with only Coun. Charlie Hodge opposed.

"I hate to be rude," said Hodge in opposition, "but I have said over and over in the past, if you want to build in Kelowna, I want you to build first class.

"I don't necessarily expect world class in the middle of a neighbourhood but I don't feel like the effort was made to make this building as attractive as it should."

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