By Ron Seymour
The Daily Courier
Plans for two new highrises in downtown Kelowna have been unanimously rejected by city council.
The developer's request for seven variances represented too substantial a departure from the recently-adopted downtown plan, councillors said, and approval could set a precedent for builders of future projects to request similar exemptions.
"If we say yes to this, how do we say no to anything?" Mayor Walter Gray said as a lengthy council meeting concluded just after midnight Tuesday.
The Monaco project would have seen diamond-shaped towers of 22- and 26 storeys built at the northwest corner of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street.
"It's just really difficult to imagine two towers of this shape on that site," Coun. Robert Hobson said.
"It is too big for the site," agreed Coun. Mohini Singh.
The separation between the two towers, as well as the project's setback from the nearby Madison building, would have been within the 100 feet required under the downtown plan.
That departure was cited by Coun. Luke Stack as being key for his voting against the Monaco proposal.
"In essence, it would be like a stake through the heart of the downtown
plan before we even give it a chance to succeed," Stack said.
Coun. Gerry Zimmermann said the public wants some sense that the terms of the downtown plan will be enforced by council. "A lot of time and effort went into this plan to put it together," Zimmermann said.
Several councillors expressed the hope the developer would return with plans for a single story highrise on the subject property. Keith Funk,spokesmen for the developer, declined to comment after the meeting.