Get ready to welcome fourplexes into your Kelowna neighbourhood | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Get ready to welcome fourplexes into your Kelowna neighbourhood

Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Kelowna
September 25, 2020 - 5:00 PM

In the last couple of years, the City of Kelowna’s experiment to fit more housing into existing single-family lots has proven so successful that it's looking at expanding.

Since 2017, when a special zone was created, about 250 homes have been created in three core areas of the city that were “pre-zoned” to accommodate them. Almost all were fourplexes.

The zone allows owners to build new structures with two to four suites on about 800 properties that were mostly single-family before.

For economic reasons, most builders choose to go to the maximum four units that were allowed.

Fourteen per cent of the new units are owner-occupied, meaning it has increased the rental pool near core areas of the city at a decent price.

“The median sales price for these smaller ground-oriented units was $539,000 from 2017 to 201919,” states a report by Ross Soward, the City’s policy and planning manager that’s going to city council on Monday, Sept. 28. “Although these units are not ‘affordable,’ they do reflect a price point that is attainable for many middle-income households ($75,000-$130,000).”

One of the pre-zoned areas is near downtown where high-rises and multi-storey apartment buildings are starting to line major routes like Richter Street and Clement Avenue. It stretches from Richter Street to Gordon Drive between Coronation Avenue and the lane north of Bernard Avenue.

The other two areas are between Richter and Ethel Streets. One is along Cadder Avenue and the other south of Rose Avenue to Raymar Avenue.

The report is meant to not only outline the success of the experiment but to also suggest future expansions.

The City expects most of its growth over the next 20 years to be in five “urban centres.” It doesn’t want all the housing to be in high-rises and multi-storey apartments. The goal is to have 25 per cent be this type of 'infill' housing.

One option Seward is looking at is to just designate certain areas – say between downtown and Orchard Park mall – as core areas where this zone will be welcomed.

Another option would be to pre-zone certain neighbourhoods as was done in 2017. That means developers don’t have to take the time and expense to rezone each lot. How that will be done and in what areas is yet to be decided but it could also include neighbourhoods near commercial areas in Rutland, Glenmore and south of KLO Road.

The other aspect of the experiment was that it allowed smaller developers to build as opposed to the big companies putting up the high-rises.

One drawback, however, is the denser housing didn’t come with things like sidewalks and boulevard trees so the rules may be revised for future builders.

The report also suggests looking at  some pilot projects to put sidewalks and trees in existing neighbourhoods.

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.

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