Dear Editor:

Re: Another non-conforming South Pandosy project

On Tuesday, Kelowna council will hold a public hearing on the Mission Group’s non-conforming West Ave project that ignores many official community plan and zoning bylaws that specifically recognize the unique neighbourhood character of South Pandosy and its need to be protected from insensitive development.

The applicant wants building heights and density 200% greater than allowed by RM4 zoning; site coverage 188% greater than allowed; a 100% loss of front and side yard setbacks; and the first commercial C4 zoning on this residential street.

Commercializing residential streets west of the Pandosy retail strip sets a precedent for even more tall buildings that will  impact the area, shade public open spaces and remove residential buffers near the lake and the Abbott Street corridor.

C4 zoning will also draw more people to the area from across the city and significantly increase traffic and parking congestion and impact area residents. On-street parking will be further reduced as new commercial establishments start using sidewalks and parking stalls for their patios and pedestrian bypasses.

No one knows how much it will cost to live, work and play in South Pandosy because OCP Policy 5.22.9 has been ignored.  This policy requires the city to assess neighbourhood impacts created by land use and zoning changes on land values to ensure adjacent properties develop as indicated in the OCP.

In addition, the applicant will get at least $404,000 in public subsides from taxpayers and utility ratepayers to offset developer cost charges and an undisclosed 10-year property tax exemption amount.

For two years, residents repeatedly asked the city to prepare a South Pandosy Urban Centre Plan to protect the area from non-conforming projects like this and the controversial Groves Ave, project nearby. But residents were repeatedly ignored as these game-changing projects were being circulated at city hall.

Clearly, the hidden agenda at city hall is “Damn the public. Let developers run the show.”

Council needs to reject this project for what it is — a public money grab by a developer seeking to exploit and ruin one of the city’s most unique residential neighbourhoods.

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