Don't mess with airport business park, planning staff tell Kelowna councillors - InfoNews

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Don't mess with airport business park, planning staff tell Kelowna councillors

Artist's rendering of the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Airport Business Park in Kelowna.
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March 26, 2018 - 2:02 PM

KELOWNA - Planning staff have given warning to Kelowna city councillors — quit mucking with future land uses at the Airport Business Park on Highway 97 or risk having the Ministry of Transportation step in and halt all development in the area.

The business park was originally envisioned to provide support for high technology and general industrial uses that complement the Kelowna International Airport and the nearby UBC Okanagan, according to a staff report.

But council heard Monday, March 26, that deviating from land uses already set out in the CD15 zone that governs the park’s development risks triggering a review by the Ministry of Transportation which has final say on any development within 100 metres of a provincial highway.

A recent request by the Sandman hotel chain to add a second hotel to the business park as well as a request by an unnamed big box retailer to locate there prompted the concern, manager of policy and planning Danielle Noble-Brandt told councillors.

The ministry’s concern is centred on anything that might affect traffic flow or add traffic to the intersection of Highway 97 and Airport Way.

As an example, Noble-Brandt said a request made to the ministry to make some minor changes to allowable land use triggered a series of meetings with ministry officials and took 17 months to resolve, Smith said.

Veering away from previously established land uses not only concerns the ministry, it sends the signal the business park is open to general commercial development, when in fact it’s not, she added.

As well, changing the land use assumptions risks undermining the Okanagan Gateway transportation study which is currently assessing future needs in the area.

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