As those of us who live in Kelowna have all known for quite some time, Kelowna is a very desirable place to live. The summertime brings hot temperatures, lazy day’s lakeside and an abundance of outdoor activities from paddle boarding to biking and hiking, to name just a few. In the winter we can head up into the mountains to enjoy all they have to offer, just a mere 45 minutes from our front door! Then there is the wine...let’s face it, we Kelownaites really enjoy our wine!
Well, it appears that the rest of the world is catching on. Our tech industry is developing and construction industry booming. Our university and college are both expanding and blossoming. Our hospital has grown and many retirees are looking to Kelowna as a desirable location to spend their golden years. As a rapidly growing mid-sized city we are faced with both opportunities as well as challenges.
One of the challenges that has been front and center in the media recently is the need for more housing, particularly rental housing. The City is implementing a variety of strategies in order to meet this community need. One thing they are doing is creating a new urban residential zone, called RU7.
We, at Little House, see the new zone as an opportunity to gently densify our urban centers. The formerly single family lots (that allowed for a maximum of one additional dwelling) that will be rezoned will now permit up to 4 residential units on a 15 x 37 m parcel of land. The November 14 2016 Report to Council states that “It is expected that builders will experiment with different configurations, including 4-plexes, paired duplexes and combinations of suites and multiple homes. The bylaw is drafted to allow flexibility in housing tenure and configuration, to reflect evolving neighborhoods. For smaller lots zoned RU7, the bylaw will allow two or three units. Lots between 13.5 m and 15.0 m in width will be able to be developed with up to three residential units. Lots narrower than 13.5 m will be able to be developed with 2 units.” Right now, the zone is planned for areas in the Downtown Core and in the Pandosy Neighbourhood.
This new zone could be considered an opportunity for owners of the homes in the area. There are a variety of ways that homeowners could benefit from the fact that their property can now accommodate more homes:
1. Property Values Increase
2. The ability to build additional homes can create ongoing rental revenue
3. The ability to stratify or subdivide and build could allow a homeowner that currently lives in a deteriorating older home to build a new home for themselves and build a home or two or three to sell, effectively offsetting the cost of their new home.
3. Adding various combinations of suites, single family homes, duplexes or fourplexes to the neighbourhood rather than high-rises will increase density at a manageable rate.
4. Development cost charges presumably will be used to enhance neighbourhood infrastructure including laneways and sidewalks.
To find out if your home is slated to be in the new RU7 zone, go to: https://kelownapublishing.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=5051
The next City council hearing on the tropic is December 13 2016 – for the full council meeting agenda go to: https://kelownapublishing.escribemeetings.com/Meeting?Id=da296218-5962-4931-ba89-227539616e96&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English#15
As these newly zoned lots are perfectly suited for smaller home designs, Little House Contracting would be happy to consult with you regarding your development and building dreams!