Infill housing and RU7 zone
Infill housing – the addition of new housing units to existing neighbourhoods – is an important part of the City's overall strategy to combat the impacts of urban sprawl. Focusing growth in areas with existing infrastructure such as roads, schools, parks and transit makes it possible to build resilient neighbourhoods with access to daily services and a wider variety of housing options.
The RU7 zone permits versatile infill housing that remains sensitive to surrounding neighbourhoods. RU7 zoning allows between two and four units, depending on the width of your lot. The RU7 zone applies to over 700 parcels in Kelowna’s central neighbourhoods – check out our online map viewer to confirm the zoning of your property.
The RU7 zone allows for complete redevelopments of property, but also provides the flexibility to add units to lots with existing dwellings. Read more about the RU7 zone requirements in our Zoning Bylaw.
Efficiently using our infrastructure by adding new housing to our central neighbourhoods is vital to the long-term health of our community, but only if we do it right. We’re working to ensure that infill housing is high-quality and designed to compliment surrounding neighbourhoods.
Building on the success of the 2016 Infill Challenge, the City of Kelowna presented its second open design competition for infill development. The Infill Design Challenge (IDC) 2.0 set out to generate innovative new ideas for infill housing that works to enhance affordability, diversity, resiliency, inclusivity, and livability in Kelowna’s housing system. Visit the competition page for more info.
The Infill Challenge was developed as an innovative competition to identify new designs for infill housing in parts of Kelowna’s urban core. Winning projects were intended to act as catalysts, inspiring greater achievement in infill housing design and strengthening community and developer support along the way. Entries were vetted against criteria established by a broad cross-section of the community.
Winning entries — designed by Lime Architecture Inc. and Inhabit Residential — were given reduced development permit processing times as a reward. The winners approached their designs very differently, providing for a variety of building types, configurations and tenure arrangements.
Following the Infill Challenge, Council formally adopted the new RU7 - infill housing zone in areas of the urban core. In addition to the RU7 zone, new infill housing design guidelines were adopted to guide high-quality infill development.
To develop a project under the RU7 zone, you need to apply for two permits:
- Development permit– evaluates the form and character of a development proposal, including landscaping. The development permit review process is rigorous and aims to ensure that every proposed RU7 development contributes positively to the surrounding neighbourhood and aligns with the sensitive infill housing design guidelines.
- Building permit – ensures compliance with the BC Building Code.
Communicating with your neighbours about your RU7 development proposal is strongly encouraged. Reactions to new development can range from curiosity to concern, and we suggest keeping in contact with your neighbours throughout the planning and development process. Having neighbourhood support helps infill development contribute to stronger, more diverse neighbourhoods.
Before moving forward with an RU7 development proposal, you should be aware of several important considerations:
- Design standards: RU7 development proposals are reviewed carefully to ensure they meet the infill housing design guidelines.
- Development cost charges (DCCs): DCCs must be paid for each new residential unit developed on your parcel. DCCs are paid at the building permit stage and can cost between $12,000 and $20,000 per unit.
- Frontage improvements & services: you may be required to pay a deposit to cover the cost of upgrading the road in front of your property including improvements to the curb, sidewalk, boulevard and street lighting. You may also be required to upgrade services such as water and sewer lines. These fees are paid at the building permit stage and can range from $10,000 to $40,000. If you’re applying for an expedited permit using one of the winning designs, you will need to submit a $40,000 deposit at the time of application.
- Tenure: it’s important to determine how you want to develop your RU7 lot, including if you want to stratify and sell the units or rent them out. The form of tenure you choose can have an impact on the costs listed above.
- Building permit fees: these fees are calculated based on the estimated value of construction. A home protection warranty is required.