Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said he brought back a failed development proposal for the South Pandosy town centre because he felt it will be good for the city. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)

Second time lucky for proposed Kelowna development—thanks to mayor

After failing to win council approval, mayor brings back building proposal for a second vote

Second time lucky.

A proposal to build a six-storey residential building in the south Pandosy area of Kelowna, which failed following a lengthy public hearing last month when council’s vote on it resulted in a tie, has been approved after a second vote—thanks to Kelowna’s mayor.

Mayor Colin Basran brought the plan for the 20-unit proposed building on Groves Avenue building back to council using his executive privilege Monday, something he said he has rarely done in the past.

But he said because he felt the project fits with city’s objective of bringing more people to the city’s town centres, would not set a precedent as a restrictive covenant would be placed on it limiting the height to six storeys, would be only slightly higher than surrounding buildings and would be built on similarly zoned land next door, he felt compelled to give it a second shot before a full city council.

On the night of the public hearing, Coun. Ryan Donn was absent.

He also noted city planning department staff supported the proposal.

“This will not be a high-rise,” said Basran, addressing area residents’ fears expressed at the public hearing.

READ MORE: Kelowna council changes tack, supports growth strategy with more suburban feel

Basran brought no new information to the proposal’s second consideration, something would could have triggered the need for a second public hearing with its approval.

But while the resubmission once again won the support of the four members of council who voted for it last month—Basran and Couns. Gail Given, Loyal Wooldridge and Brad Seiben, it also swayed Donn.

The four councillors who voted against last month did so again—Luke Stack, Mohini Singh, Charlie Hodge and Maxine DeHart.

But this time the result was 5-5 in favour of changing to Official Community Plan to allow the proposed building’s height.

Those opposed wanted council to hold off staff reminded it of the vision of the South Pandosy town centre that is currently in place.

In speaking against the proposal, Stack said he heard loud and clear from the public at the hearing they were not against more density in the area or more development in general, but wanted the city to maintain the plan that was in place for the area.

That plan limits building height to four storeys.

“That’s why they bought into the area,” said Stack.

But Given countered that things change when it comes to development planning, and a plan made 10 years ago may not be what is needed today.

Even in opposition, several of the councillors who voted against the Grove Avenue proposal praised the building for its aesthetics.

But they agreed with Stack the new building, with higher density than what had gone before it in the area, would help drive up costs in the South Pandosy town centre, an area the city says it wants to be different from other town centres in Kelowna.

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