New Developments in single family home areas
If you wonder why you hear little about this, remember that only neighbours within 50 meters(2-3 homes) are required to receive notice of proposed new developments. Public hearings are no longer necessary for rezoning. If one councillor suggests a public hearing is needed, a majority of council would need to agree. It is now the responsibility of residents to spread the word and take action by writing ‘email@example.com’
And follow with this letter:
“Large New developments in single family home neighbourhoods
If you live in Kelowna's core neighbourhood, be prepared to be boxed in from all sides in a ruthless fashion to "max out" the FAR as a result of the MR1 zoning now being applied to RU1 lots without lane access. This is not what sensitive infill housing looks like and not a necessary outcome to support the city's urgent need to build more attainable housing.
The allowances of the MR1 zoning are hard to believe. Picture a two story wall (26 feet tall) with windows staring down stretching stopping only three meters from the back fence. Picture 75% of the site covered with buildings and hardscape creating five "luxury" 2,600 square foot units with two car garages with an inner access road, rooftop patios, and seven mature trees mowed down because there's nothing in place to stop that. This scenario is currently playing out on a proposed development on Scott Road which if approved will be a domino for the rest of the city.
While MR1 is not new, it typically was applied to lots with lane access allowing units to front the street and the lane providing greenspace in the middle in addition to a lane width between back properties.
Residents of this city have been generally supportive of infill growth in core single family lots and it's understandable that both the city and province are hyper focused to increasing the supply of housing. The issue is the MR1 zoning being the hammer to create housing without sensitivity to creating great livable homes and neighbourhoods. It's hard to understand how creating unaffordable, supersize units, with a useless 10 m side yard setback support this.
There no longer is any in between zoning. RU1 remains too restrictive and needs to be modernized to achieve the province's 4 units per lot goal. What that would more sensibly look like is a zoning the city turfed -- RM4 transitional low density housing zoning which would still allow 5 units proposed as Scott Road and reduce the site coverage to 60% and 7.5 m rear setback resulting in more affordable family sized townhouse proportions, usable yard space and avoid boxing everyone in.
In October, the city completed its consultation on its infill strategy. Advancement of Kelowna's tree protection bylaw remains missing in action. In absence of both and MR1, "maxing out" the site will be the outcome and neither affordability or livability will be achieved. We urge the Mayor and Council to pause any rezoning to MR1 until both the infill strategy and tree protection bylaws are in place and an alternative zone that addresses the issues with MR1 in lots without lane access is in place.
If you wonder why you hear little about this, remember the process:
only neighbours within 50 meters(2-3 homes on all sides) are required to receive notice of proposed new developments.
Public hearings are no longer necessary for rezoning if the zone is allowed in the Official Community Plan.
A development receives first reading and often you will see it in the media with drawings.
After first reading a sign goes up on the property notifying the entire community.
About two weeks later, it goes to council for second and third reading and it is during that two week period the community should express concern or support.
Councilors are expected to read all letters to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ but often do not. Better yet, just call your councilors, they were elected to serve you.
If one councilor suggests a public hearing is needed, a majority of council would need to agree.
Remember this is only for rezoning and not for the mock drawing in the application. A developer can receive a zoning change and then sell the property to someone else who may build something completely different using the same zoning.
When application for a Development permit is submitted, it goes to council for assessment whether it meets the ‘form and character’ council wishes to see. Many councilors simply say they like it or they don't at that time and the architect may or may not make small changes.
We explain this to our community in order for all to understand the process better. Only by understanding the process, can the community feel they have input in to changes for the Neighbourhood.