Draft 2040 OCP - Development Permit Area

Form and Character

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Last Updated: 
September 17, 2021


2040 OCP - Chapter 18 - Form and Character chapter header, image of unique aesthetic of external building in Kelowna

Design Foundations apply to all projects and provide the overarching principles for supporting creativity, innovation and design excellence in Kelowna. Applicants should read both the Design Foundations and guidelines associated with their building type.

General Residential and Mixed Use Guidelines provide the key guidelines that all residential and mixed use projects should strive to achieve to support the Design Foundations. The general guidelines are supplemented by typology-specific guidelines which provide additional guidance with regard to form and character.

Introduction & Overview
Background and purpose

The Development Permit Design Guidelines establish the City’s expectations and aspirations for the form and character of development in Kelowna. Incorporating these Guidelines into a project’s design will encourage the creation of contextual and compatible architecture, high quality pedestrian realms, context-sensitive design, and will contribute to placemaking and design excellence in Kelowna. The Guidelines apply to all new developments and substantial building alterations that require approval by staff and Council. The Guidelines are intended to be used by City staff, developers, architects, engineers, community members, and others when evaluating development applications.

Intent of guidelines

The Guidelines are intended to stimulate creative design responses, rather than to limit development flexibility or to dictate design solutions. Moreover, the intent of the Guidelines is to:

  • Communicate the design expectations for residential, commercial, industrial, and mixed use projects
  • Facilitate the fair and consistent application of design objectives
  • Foster design excellence and enhance investment throughout the City by encouraging consistently high-quality, safe, functional, and attractive development
  • Encourage projects to be appropriate to the City’s context and climate.
Designation & justification

The Local Government Act Section 919.1 (1) (f) states that an OCP may designate development permit areas for the establishment of objectives for the form and character of commercial, industrial, and multi-family residential development. The City is experiencing rapid growth and is anticipated to accommodate an additional 50,000 residents over the next 20 years. This, along with the introduction of new infill typologies to address redevelopment pressures, as well as increased focus on design excellence in the City and community, justify the application of Design Guidelines for building form and character.

How to use the design guidelines

Sample key guideline feature imageGuideline Hierarchy

Design guidelines are structured to clearly communicate the design goals of the City, with key guidelines identified at the beginning of each section that must be followed in all projects, followed by supplemental guidelines to support design excellence in Kelowna.

More specifically:

  • The feature images at the start of each section illustrate the core design outcomes that projects should achieve; 
  • The key guidelines below the feature images describe core strategies for achieving the City’s desired design outcomes that projects must achieve; and
  • The remaining guidelines provide further detail on strategies for achieving well-designed buildings in Kelowna.

Guideline Structure

The guidelines are structured similarly in all sections to enhance usability. Key design objectives are presented as intent statements at the beginning of each section.  Each intent statement is followed by a series of guidelines which can be used to achieve the intent. 
Each section includes:

  • A guideline topic subheading;

  • A design intent statement that states the goal of the guidelines;

  • The guidelines, which outline strategies for achieving the design intent; and

  • Supportive illustrations and photos that demonstrate guideline concepts.

Development permit area map

Development Permit Areas (DPAs) are identified in Map 18.1 - Urban Design Development Permit Area, and specific development guidelines, such as this chapter, apply to development within DPA's. The goal of DPA's is to ensure that development occurs in a way that supports the OCP. 

Map 18.1 - Urban Design Development Permit Area