Not too tall after all

Although it's two storeys higher than building rules allow, this six-storey project with 46 homes and commercial premises has been approved for West Avenue in the South Pandosy neighborhood by Kelowna city council.

A somewhat controversial six-storey building has been approved for the South Pandosy neighbourhood by Kelowna city council.

By a vote of 7-1, council on Tuesday approved the necessary development permit and development variance permit for the project, that includes 46 rental suites and ground-floor commercial premises, on West Avenue.

Council's approval came despite the opposition of nine people who spoke against the project, from Kelowna-based Mission Group. Critics wanted council to stick with the specified four-storey height limit for the property.

But councillors said the building was attractively designed, sensitively integrated into the neighbourhood, and would provide highly-needed rental suites.

"I certainly see this as a benefit to the community," said Coun. Brad Sieben.

Coun. Luke Stack acknowledged the building was two storeys higher than regulations stated, but he still thought it represented a suitable form of density.

"That is a nice-sized building for this property and I think it will fit in quite nicely," Stack said. "It's a beautiful building. . . it looks very good."

By allowing a six-storey height, councillors said, the building was narrower than might otherwise have been the case. A shorter, squatter structure would not have been preferable, they said.

"It would have been really easy to meet the zoning requirements and build a really blocky, shoebox-looking building. But the applicant has done a great job of creating nice, interesting sightings and bringing different aspects to this neighbourhood," Wooldridge said.

Coun. Charlie Hodge was opposed. "We've clearly heard that the neighbourhood is not happy," he said. "It flies in the face of what the Pandosy plan is."

Coun. Mohini Singh was absent.