Four Kelowna city councillors participated in a meeting by video conference on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Four Kelowna city councillors participated in a meeting by video conference on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

City of Kelowna changes development procedures amid COVID-19 pandemic

As the city suspends public hearings, emergency changes are required for development procedures

Despite the City of Kelowna’s closure of many of its facilities — including city hall — due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business is moving forward.

As the city suspends public hearings, emergency changes are required for development procedures.

The city will delegate the issuance of all development permits without variances to Ryan Smith, the city’s divisional director of planning and development services.

Permits that require variances will still move to a future public hearing. However, some applications that would usually have to go to a public hearing could have that necessity waived.

“Staff recommend existing criteria be expanded to include all rezoning applications that are consistent with the OCP (Official Community Plan), that have a recommendation of support from staff, and that are not expected to generate significant public input. This would be determined on a case-by-case basis,” said deputy city clerk Laura Bentley. “This would not include OCP amendments, rezoning applications that have an OCP amendment or are consistent with OCP policies.”

Rezoning applications set to go to council will have a staff recommendation to waive a public hearing. Face-to-face consultation on these matters will also be set aside for the time being.

Bylaw extensions at the third reading can be extended for up to six months if no previous extension has been requested.

Advisory committees such as the airport, heritage and agricultural committees will be suspended.

City manager Doug Gilchrest will be handling city transactions as far as real estate goes.

“For a select few, in case council cannot meet, authority would be delegated to the city manager or the divisional director to approve select acquisitions and disposition of property, and to access the reserve funds and make the necessary budget amendments for those transactions,” said Bentley. “Authorizing the mayor and city clerk to execute the transactions accordingly.”

The changes are set to remain in place until the end of May or until the provincial government lifts its orders on social gatherings.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Kelowna nixes on-street paid parking downtown, Pandosy

READ MORE: Kelowna council endorses $126 million in 2020 budget carryovers


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