Provincial government delays may cost Kelowna more than $8 million | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Provincial government delays may cost Kelowna more than $8 million

This proposed 122-unit housing complex on Benvoulin Road will save more than $850,000 in parks construction fees because the new charges have yet to be approved by the province.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

A new fee of about $7,000 per housing unit to build parks in Kelowna was supposed to be in place by Jan. 1.

But, it’s not yet been approved by the province so numerous developers who submitted applications to City Hall this month won’t have to pay those costs.

“Because of the pending DCC (Development Cost Charge) change for the parks, we’ve got a whole slew of development applications in the last six weeks,” Ryan Smith, the city’s community planning department manager, told yesterday, Jan. 20. “We’ve probably got three times our normal volume of them. A number of developers who planned to do something this year or next year rushed to get their applications in.”

Developers still have to pay a per unit cost to help pay for roads, water and sewer systems and to buy land for parks. The new fee is to help pay to actually develop those parks.

So far this month, five applications for larger projects have been filed, proposing almost 1,200 housing units that will not have to pay a total of about $8.4 million in the new fees.

The biggest of those is the Water Street on the Park project that calls for 816 units in three towers on Water Street and Leon Avenue. Of those, 216 were originally proposed as hotel units but are likely to be switched to rentals.

A new application processed by the City yesterday calls for a 122-unit residential tower at 2175 Benvoulin Road (near Mayer Road) that will offer affordable housing for seniors and middle-aged single renters. It needs a height variance from 4.5 storeys to nine.

Earlier this month there were applications for a 46-unit townhouse project on Clifton Road, 73 units at the corner of Cawston Avenue and Richter Street and 127 units at 815 Leon Avenue.

In the past, hotels were exempt from parks charges but the new fee will be charged for new hotels, but at a lower rate.

Yesterday, a development permit application was processed by the city for a new wood tower for the Ramada Hotel with 125 rooms. It will need a height variance from six to 12 stories.

And Argus Properties wants to rezone land on Fleet Court in the Kelowna Airport Business Park for a hotel. No details on the number of rooms are included in the application.

Last week, Vernon lowered its development cost charges by as much as 16 per cent in some classifications.

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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