Kelowna council underwhelmed by row housing project design

Academy Ridge proponents asked to explain exterior design decisions to council

Calling it boring and dull, Kelowna council has deferred its approval of a 154-unit row housing development proposed for Academy Way.

The Academy Ridge project design was presented to council Monday for first reading on a development permit application after extensive consultations with city planning staff.

While the project falls within the RM3 low density multiple housing zoning design guidelines and requiring no variance permits, several councillors expressed a desire to see a more dynamic design presentation.

Coun. Luke Stack said while there are a number of positive design attributes to the project he was looking for more architecture design creativity.

“I would like to have seen more variation on roof heights or just a different architectural mix once in a while, as having 156 units that all look exactly the same seems a bit overwhelming,” he said.

“It’s great to see the expanded housing supply but we want to see neighbourhoods developed that people feel good about living there and people feel good about driving through them…rather than seeing the cookie cutter approach.”

RELATED: Developers looking outside of Kelowna for project opportunities

Academy Ridge will encompass 30 separate buildings built over 11 separate construction phases on the east-facing 7.95-acre Academy Way property south of UBC Okanagan.

The design intent was to create a “living street concept” within a people friendly neighbourhood development with both garage and tandem parking allotments and an interior courtyard known as “The Park,” with lectern style seating around a lawn area accompanied by a variety of tree and shrub species.

Coun. Gail Given said nothing can be one to address what she called “form and character” design concerns if council adopts first reading on the development permit application is passed, which led Mayor Colin Basran to introduce a defer motion to enable the project owner, Watermark Developments Ltd., and permit applicant, Meiklejohn Architects, to give their viewpoint on the design choices made at an upcoming council meeting.

RELATED: Okanagan residents using too much water

City planning staff indicated discussion has taken place with the project applicant but the final design was what they wanted to proceed with.

Parking was another issue for some councillors who expressed concerns for the tandem parking. Of the 154 units, side-by-side garage parking is proposed for 88 units, and tandem parking for 66 units.

Tandem parking is configured like a single, double-length perpendicular parking spot. One space will be in front of the other, such that one car will have to pull out in order to access the second one.

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge felt the tandem parking aspect would lead to spillover parking although as a major arterial route in the city’s north end, no parking is allotted on Academy Way.

Basran noted parking was not an issue for him, but felt further discussion with council from the Academy Ridge proponents was in order.

“If we reject the application at this point we send them all the way back to step one,” Basran said, saying clarification is needed on the project’s exterior design choices and parking options.

“By deferring this, we allow the development team the opportunity to come before us and express their rationale behind the design and answer questions from council before we decide to either send them back or say it’s okay with us.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Only steps away: Gutsy Walk returns to Kelowna

The walk to cures for Crohn’s disease and colitis comes June 2

Mainly sunny Victoria Day in Okanagan-Shuswap

The South Okanagan is the hottest spot to be in the province for Victoria Day

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Five youth-led “positive change” projects in South Okanagan receive $9,500

Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth and United Way’s GenNext give money to projects

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws tons of support

Lineup around the block in Vernon for start of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read