Micro suite exemptions from development charges prompts policy review by city staff - InfoNews

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Micro suite exemptions from development charges prompts policy review by city staff

An architect's rendering of a 251-unit micro suite development slated for a site on Academy Way near UBCO.
Image Credit: Contributed
March 02, 2015 - 7:30 PM

KELOWNA - It’s the third micro suite project to come before Kelowna city council in the last month and there’s already concerns about the latest housing trend.

Councillor Luke Stack says micro suites are exempt from development cost charges under a provincial policy. It means the city can't collect money from the developers to help pay for infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, or water and sewer mains.

“If this is a future trend, we may have to revisit our own policy,” Stack says. “I think we need to review where we are going with this."

Director of planning Ryan Smith told Stack staff are already looking at the implications of more of micro suite developments in Kelowna and will be bringing their findings back to council in a couple of months.

A 24-unit micro suite complex is proposed for a site on Ethel Street and Glenwood Avenue across from the Cottonwoods Extended Care facility. Micro suites are defined as having an area of less than 29 square metres.

In his presentation to city council March 2, Smith said the project meets city benchmarks for development. 

“It is affordable housing meant for the rental market,” he said. “I think it’s a great little development.”

Last month, councillors gave preliminary approval to two other micro suite projects, a 90-unit complex on Dickson Road of which half will be micro suites and a 251-unit project on Academy Way near UBC Okanagan.

Despite his misgivings, Stack and the rest of council approved the zoning change for the latest micro suite development and sent it to a public hearing.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infotelnews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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