The City of Kelowna is making it easier for developers to build rental housing within the Rutland Urban Centre.
Council Monday endorsed a change to the city's zoning regulations pertaining specifically to Rutland, allowing developers floor area ratio (FAR) on five and six storey buildings.
They have also changed regulations around which areas of the urban centre would require ground floor commercial to be included within a specific development.
"The amendment is to change the zoning bylaw in the Rutland area to permit an additional .2 FAR as an incentive and bonusing program for rental development," said planner Terry Barton.
"This provides an incentive to be able to promote rental development in the urban centre. "
Barton says the zoning change, which was brought forward to accommodate a specific development application, is part of an overall package of urban centre zoning changes anticipated to come before council next year.
"We do acknowledge this is being triggered by an application, but also we have considered it in a way so we can show council some of the advance tools we will be bringing forth not only to Rutland, but some of the other urban centres.
"These are the types of tools that our new zoning bylaw is considering."
The changes also better clarify where commercial space must be located, a "common sense" change according to Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.
The only concern was voiced by Coun. Luke Stack, who hoped adding to the floor area ratio, thus making way for larger buildings, would not prompt developers to come back and ask for variances to lessen parking.
"I am cautious about how it will affect parking. If it does trigger the number of people who say we can't park the site to take advantage of FAR, then I would want to revisit it," he said.
"I think the intent of the incentive is to promote rental housing in the town centre, but not at the expense of other priorities. I hope applicants coming forward can respect that."