Would you like to subscribe to our newsletters?

Kelowna creates online tool to help homeowners understand dramatic housing changes

One of the preferred fourplex designs selected by the City of Kelowna.
One of the preferred fourplex designs selected by the City of Kelowna.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

New provincial rules to allow up to four units to be built on most single-family lots in BC has led to lots of confusion in city halls and residential neighbourhoods across the province.

The City of Kelowna has been working on such changes for months so is ahead of the game more than most communities.

Changes were presented to city council earlier this week with more details to follow on Monday, Feb. 12, but city staff are also trying to ease the communication challenge by creating a website with the uninspiring title of “2024 Planning Legislation Changes.’

READ MORE: More than 27,000 Kelowna lots targeted for more crowding with infill housing

The key attraction to the site is an interactive map that allows residents to type in their street address and quickly find out their current zoning and how it will change.

There are some challenges to using the map.

It doesn’t work well with the Firefox browser and there are no instructions on the page on how to gather the appropriate information.

It’s necessary to click on the circle that comes up once the address is typed in. That pulls up a menu box with three page options.

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Clicking to the second page shows the current zoning while the third page has the new infill zoning, which has to be in place by the end of June.

Another shortcoming is that there is no link to the city’s zoning bylaw in order to find out what, for example, can be built with an existing RU4 zoning versus the new MF1 zone that it will become.

And good luck understanding the old zoning bylaw once you find it. Go here to view that 214-page document.

In order to find, for example, the RU4 zone, it’s helpful to know it’s listed in Section 11 of the bylaw called “Single and Two Dwelling Zones.”

That section has eight pages of charts listing things like purpose, sub-zones, permitted land uses, subdivision and development regulations.

As for finding out what the new MF1 zone is all about, that takes some digging through past council agendas.

The most useful link is here, from the Feb. 5, PM council meeting.

City staff told that the site was put together in a hurry to help get information out to the public and with feedback they will work to make it more user-friendly.

It’s a start in trying to understand what are likely to be some shocking changes in many neighbourhoods where, with no notice, your neighbour’s single-family house can be bulldozed with a three-storey fourplex popping up in its place.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.