Kelowna council approves three developments and 249 residential units

3 developments moving on

With the stroke of a pen Kelowna city council gave initial approval to rezoning applications for three housing developments across the city, but not without some controversy.

If the projects are built out to current plans, they would provide 249 units, 202 apartment rentals and 47 for-sale townhomes.

The largest of the three is a 202 unit apartment encompassing 10 properties on Clement Avenue just outside the downtown urban centre.

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge praised the project.

"I want to acknowledge this is an exceptionally extensive consolidation which is great to see on a transit oriented development," said Wooldrige of the project bringing more rental stock to the city.

"I especially like removing the access off Clement which we will see at the [development permit] stage."

The other developments are for townhomes with the Rutland area, including a 14-unit project at Hollywood and McWilliams roads and a 33-unit project on Homer Road.

Planning staff strongly supported both projects as both are near the Rutland urban centre and close to transit, shopping and parks and provide infill as outlined within the Official Community Plan.

While all three were endorsed unanimously by council, Coun. Charlie Hodge protested a lack of information pertaining to the Homer Road development.

"It would help me to have an idea where we are going before I say yes to the zoning," said Hodge.

"I love the idea of what's going there, I love the idea of 33 units but I am kind of left in limbo of what it really means."

Hodge was reminded council was dealing with just the land use Monday. Form and character approvals would be coming at a later date.

"At the zoning stage I think council needs to assume the developer would build to the limits of the zone and if council feels that's appropriate then advance the zoning," said planning director Ryan Smith.

"We don't want to give a detailed look at the form and character of what could go there because often times the design changes over time. What we don't want is for council to be making form and character decisions at the zoning stage."

"I'm glad staff believes we should just assume (developers) will do the right thing but I don't," stated Hodge. "But, because I'm not allowed to know the numbers and the plan, I am very nervous.

"I love the 33 units but at what height and at what cost to the neighbourhood?"

City manager Doug Gilchrist interjected saying impacts of both zoning and density are part of the decision making process, but during the zoning process, it is important council focus on that.

"The reason we don't tie it to a specific development and show you images and heights is that once the zoning is approved, the owner of that land, or future owner if it changes hands, could build anything within the limits of that zone.

"Council really needs to understand perhaps maximums within the zone you are considering and whether you are comfortable with the impacts that might have on the neighbourhood."

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