2040 Official Community Plan

Suburban Neighbourhoods

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Last Updated: 
May 14, 2024
2040 OCP - Chapter 7 - Suburban Neigbhourhoods chapter header, image of Kettle Valley neighbourhood

Suburban Neighbourhoods, which are typically characterized by single family homes, are the dominant development pattern outside of the Core Area. They are heavily reliant on cars to meet their transportation needs, since they are too far from work and other destinations to be convenient for walking or biking, and their low densities make good transit service difficult to provide. This makes the cost of maintaining, repairing and replacing infrastructure in Suburban Neighbourhoods very challenging to the long term financial sustainability of the City. This approach to growth must change.

As outlined in the Chapter 1: The Big Picture, the OCP focuses on slowing the outward growth of Suburban Neighbourhoods using a Permanent Growth Boundary, beyond which urban growth is not supported. This protects our agricultural lands and ecologically sensitive areas while reducing the amount of new infrastructure that is needed to service growth. But, where Suburban Neighbourhoods are already approved and building, efforts need to focus on better meeting the housing needs of Kelowna residents, facilitating greater transportation choice, and making more efficient use of infrastructure investments.

Land Use and Urban Design

2040 OCP - Suburban Neighbourhoods pillars related to Land Use and Urban Design

Land use in Suburban Neighbourhoods will focus primarily on low density residential development with strategic areas targeted for multi-unit development and areas of commercial activity. Future development of many these neighbourhoods are guided by Area Structure Plans (ASPs) that were endorsed prior to the development of the 2040 OCP, but continue to be in effect. Village Centres will act as the focal point for these neighbourhoods, being characterized by a mix of commercial and multi-unit residential development, public spaces and other community amenities that contribute to small activity hubs that allow residents to travel shorter distances for day-to-day errands.

In addressing the high costs of servicing Suburban Neighbourhoods, the City and the development community share responsibility in seeing them be completed in a way that makes more efficient use of infrastructure, reduces the overall urban footprint, and creates more complete communities. Some forms of infill are expected as these neighbourhoods grow and evolve. Secondary suites, lot splits, duplexes and carriage houses will become even more common in these neighbourhoods, alongside lower density forms of multi-unit housing, such as four-plexes. Townhouses and low-rise apartments would be located in and around Village Centres, neighbourhood commercial nodes, schools and parks, contributing to the evolution of these neighbourhoods into more complete communities.

Objective 7.1. Create more complete communities in Suburban Neighbourhoods.

Policy 7.1.1. Area Structure Plan Consistency.
Support development that is consistent with adopted Area Structure Plans (ASPs) in Suburban Neighbourhoods. Require amendments to ASPs where proposals include significant increases to the number of residential units beyond those signaled in an ASP or where proposals are likely to require significant changes to planned transportation, parks and utility infrastructure.

Policy 7.1.2. Suburban Village Centre Services.
Encourage the provision of a range of services by developing Suburban Village Centres that are scaled to support residential development in the surrounding neighbourhood. Such services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Food, retail, services and programs;
  • Banks and credit unions;
  • Medical, health and wellness services;
  • Daycares and schools; and
  • Places of worship and other community gathering spaces.

Policy 7.1.3. Pedestrian Oriented Village Centres.
Promote human scaled, walkable Suburban Village Centres. Approaches shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Locating retail, restaurants and service uses at grade;
  • Public gathering places such as urban plazas;
  • Providing clear, comfortable pedestrian routes through surface parking lots; and
  • Strategically locating landscaping and street trees to maximize pedestrian comfort.

Policy 7.1.4. The Ponds Village Centre.
Support development in the Ponds Village Centre that includes the following characteristics:

  • A mix of commercial and residential development to a maximum height of approximately four storeys; and
  • Orientation of buildings towards Frost Road, with minimal surface parking between the road and the buildings.

Policy 7.1.5. Black Mountain Village Centre.
Support development in the Black Mountain Village Centre that includes the following characteristics:

  • A mix of commercial and residential development to a maximum height of approximately six storeys;
  • A street network that integrates the Village Centre with the surrounding neighbourhoods, specifically by linking Loseth Road with Forest Avenue and Alpine Avenue;
  • Orientation of the buildings towards one or more streets, with minimal surface parking between the street and the buildings;
  • Articulation of building facades and landscaping to soften the visual impact of the buildings towards Highway 33; and
  • Integration of the Gopher Creek Linear Park into the design of the Village Centre. This could include pedestrian access points and orientation of some buildings towards the park.

Policy 7.1.6. Neighbourhood Commercial Areas.
Encourage the development of small scaled Neighbourhood Commercial areas to provide, basic day-to-day services to surrounding residential neighbourhoods.

Policy 7.1.7. Suburban School Sites.
Support and assist School District #23 in the development of new schools in central and easily accessible areas as well as retention of existing school sites, with due consideration for the prioritization of school sites in Urban Centres and the Core Area.

Policy 7.1.8. Child Care Spaces.
Support the development of small-scale child care spaces including accessible, affordable and inclusive spaces that meet the needs of residents living in Suburban Neighbourhoods.

Objective 7.2. Design Suburban Neighbourhoods to be low impact, context sensitive and adaptable.

Policy 7.2.1. Ground-Oriented Housing.
Consider a range of low density ground-oriented housing development to improve housing diversity and affordability and to reduce the overall urban footprint of Suburban Neighbourhoods. Focus more intensive ground-oriented housing where it is in close proximity to small scale commercial services, amenities like schools and parks, existing transit service and/or active transportation facilities.

Policy 7.2.2. Hillside Housing Forms.
Encourage housing forms that best match to the topography and have the lowest amount of impact is hillside areas, such as minimum cuts and fills, for example, and provide the greatest environmental protection. Discourage housing forms and associated roadways that cause high amounts of slope disturbance and visual impact.

Policy 7.2.3. Integrate Nature.
Integrate the design of active parks with adjacent natural areas while maintaining individual park standards. Reduce the impacts of parks on adjacent natural systems.

Policy 7.2.4. Boulevard and Neighbourhood Trees.
Encourage subdivision plantings of street trees and individual lot trees to create a comfortable suburban environment over the long term.

Policy 7.2.5. Shared Use Facilities.  
Consider joint-use opportunities that allow for a variety of uses or users on a single parcel. Examples include shared parks and school playgrounds and shared opportunities where it can be demonstrated that parking areas will be or are currently underutilized.

Policy 7.2.6. Aircraft Noise Impacts.
Prohibit increases in residential density within the NEF 25 contour and above, as illustrated in Map 6.1, to accommodate for growth in aircraft travel from Kelowna International Airport. In addition, new development that falls within the Federal Aviation Zone, as illustrated in Map 6.2, should include upgraded sound proofing and must provide a covenant that saves the City harmless with respect to noise complaints.

Policy 7.2.7. Building Heights Near Airport.
Require that all proposed subdivision, multi-unit, industrial, institutional and commercial development projects within the Federal Aviation Zone, as illustrated in Map 6.2, include consultation with Kelowna International Airport and Transport Canada with respect to building heights as per Airport Zoning Regulations under the authority of the Aeronautics Act.

Objective 7.3. Design Suburban Neighbourhoods to be inclusive, safe and to foster social interaction.

Policy 7.3.1. Private Open Space.
Encourage the development of private open space amenities as part of new multi unit residential development in Suburban Neighbourhoods.

Policy 7.3.2. Reduce Social Isolation.
Design Suburban Neighbourhoods to include groups who may face higher levels of social isolation including seniors, people with diverse abilities, Indigenous communities and newcomers. 

Policy 7.3.3. Walled Developments.  
Discourage developments enclosed on all sides by walls, gates or other physical or visual barriers that hinder walkability, block access to neighbourhood amenities or inhibit the efficient use of infrastructure. 

Objective 7.4. Ensure a compatible urban-rural interface that protects agricultural uses.

Policy 7.4.1. Agricultural Land Protection.
Retain the agricultural land base for the long-term by supporting the ALR and by protecting agricultural lands from the impacts of adjacent development and redevelopment. 

Policy 7.4.2. Urban-Rural Interface Uses.
Where a property is adjacent to agricultural lands, encourage land uses that are compatible with adjacent agricultural uses, such as urban agriculture and passive recreational uses. Encourage uses that accommodate vulnerable populations, (e.g. seniors, children, people with health challenges), to parcels that are not adjacent to agriculture to limit interface incompatibilities.

Policy 7.4.3. Urban-Rural Buffers.
Where a property is adjacent to land in the ALR and land designated Rural - Agricultural and Resource (R-AGR), ensure that development limits associated negative impacts on adjacent agricultural operations by including appropriate buffers, setbacks and site planning, consistent with the Farm Protection Development Permit Guidelines outlined in Chapter 22: Farm Protection Development Permit Area.

Objective 7.5. Encourage initiatives in Suburban Neighbourhoods that supplement the local food system to increase food security, equitable access to healthy food and social connections.

Policy 7.5.1. Urban Agriculture.
Encourage urban agriculture that uses integrated pest management practices as a way of supplementing the local food system and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production, processing, and transportation. In Suburban Neighbourhoods, support and encourage urban agriculture using approaches that include, but are not limited to:

  • Food production on public and private land including rooftops, beehives, and edible landscaping on residential boulevards, park land, backyards, and rights-of-way;
  • Multi-residential shared gardens and services (i.e. water and storage) in new developments;
  • Private and non-profit sector universally-accessible community gardens, considering the use of City-owned land for use of community gardens where appropriate.

Policy 7.5.2. Indigenous Forest Gardens.
Partner with syilx/Okanagan communities to develop forest gardens that focus on the cultivation of native and culturally important species of plants for food and medicine.


2040 OCP - Suburban Neighbourhoods pillars related to Housing

While Kelowna will continue to see housing added to Suburban Neighbourhoods with approved land use designations, housing forms in the Suburban Neighbourhoods will mostly comprise of low density ground-oriented housing with some multi-family in areas closer to key community amenities and services. Efforts for new affordable and rental housing projects will continue to be focused in the Urban Centres and Core Area, where there is easier access to services, jobs and transportation options, but such uses will be considered in the context of each neighbourhood.

Objective 7.6. Support a variety of low-density housing.

Policy 7.6.1. Family-friendly multi-unit housing.
Encourage multi-unit developments near schools to include a variety of unit sizes, including three or more bedrooms.

Policy 7.6.2. Social connections through design.
Encourage design for multi-unit residential buildings that incorporates common spaces that foster social connections, such as gardens, greenspace and children’s play areas.

Objective 7.7. Support the protection and construction of purpose-built rental housing.

Policy 7.7.1. Protection of Existing Rental Stock.
Ensure retention or replacement of existing rental units as redevelopment occurs in Suburban Neighbourhoods through planning tools that include, but are not limited to, Rental Only Zoning and Rental Replacement Obligations.

Policy 7.7.2. Rental Conversion.
Prohibit the conversion of existing residential rental buildings with greater than four units to condominium status when rental vacancy falls below five per cent in Kelowna, unless the conversion is for the purpose of creating affordable rental housing with a Section 219 covenant registered on each strata title.


2040 OCP - Suburban Neighbourhoods pillars related to Transportation

The majority of people living in Kelowna’s Suburban Neighbourhoods are reliant on personal automobiles for most of their day-to-day trips due to their distance from employment hubs and their largely hillside context. As a result, there is limited opportunity to shift transportation trips to more sustainable forms of transport such as walking, biking or transit. Each new development in Suburban Neighbourhoods often requires costly roadway expansion that create significant long-term costs for the City.

As new development areas continue to build roads, sidewalks and paths to connect to the existing transportation network, efforts will be made to improve connectivity to destinations like schools, parks and Village Centres through walking, biking and other transportation options. However, the City will continue to prioritize efforts for biking and transit expansion in Urban Centres and the Core Area.

Objective 7.8. Reduce dependence on the automobile where possible.

Policy 7.8.1. Roadway Congestion.
Recognize and accept that Kelowna’s streets will become busier as the City grows. Suburban neighbourhoods will have limited potential to shift away from driving, meaning that greater roadway capacity will be needed to support growth in suburban areas. Increases to roadway capacity should consider ways to mitigate impacts on livability of neighbourhoods in the Core Area and Urban Centres.  

Policy 7.8.2. Active Transportation Connectivity.
Seek opportunities to improve pedestrian and biking connectivity during the design and development review process in Suburban Neighbourhoods, including, but not limited to, improvements to the sidewalk network, cul-de-sac walkways, and biking routes. Prioritize connections to neighbourhood areas such as Village Centres, parks, schools, transit stops and recreation facilities, and where possible, formalize informal pedestrian routes through the use of trail dedications and statutory right of ways for public access.

Policy 7.8.3. Transit Connectivity.
Provide access to a base level of transit service (every 30 minutes) in areas with population densities that meet acceptable performance standards to ensure financial viability of service and ensure a range of transportation options. Supplement this transit service by leveraging emerging technologies and shared mobility options to connect suburban areas to the frequent transit network.

Policy 7.8.4. Parking Relaxations.
Discourage parking relaxations for projects where residents or tenants are expected to be car dependent, indicated by higher rates of vehicle ownership and limited potential for sustainable transportation options.

Policy 7.8.5. Utility and R.O.W. Corridors.
Seek opportunities for preserving rights of way formerly for utilities or other purposes, such as future linear paths as part of the pedestrian and bicycle networks.

Policy 7.8.6. Road Capacity Increases.
Prioritize the removal of on street parking over land acquisition when exploring road capacity increases, with due consideration of the road’s character and function.

Objective 7.9. Create neighbourhood streets that are comfortable and safe for people to walk and play on.

Policy 7.9.1. Access to Schools.
Invest in sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle routes and trails that provide safe routes to and from schools first in Suburban Neighbourhoods. Such investments should adhere to Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, as well as the City’s Guidelines for Accessibility in Outdoor Areas.

Policy 7.9.2. Neighbourhood Short-Cutting. 
Assess options at the time of subdivision for how the developer could mitigate cut-through vehicle traffic using traffic calming, traffic diversion and other design strategies through the Subdivision, Development and Servicing Bylaw. Priority should be given to traffic calming measures on roads near elderly and child-oriented spaces and facilities.  

Objective 7.10. Maintain connectivity for emergency response and evacuation.

Policy 7.10.1. Emergency Access and Egress.
Design road networks in suburban areas to allow for multiple points of access/egress to facilitate emergency services response and to support community evacuations.


2040 OCP - Suburban Neighbourhoods pillars related to Culture

Within our Suburban Neighbourhoods, artistic and cultural expression is an important part of improving quality of life and contributing to their distinct character. The placement of public art ultimately enhances the unique character of these neighbourhoods and further contributes to the overall sense of place that many of the citizens’ experience daily.  

Objective 7.11. Increase the vibrancy of Suburban neighbourhoods through artistic and cultural expression.

Policy 7.11.1. Cultural Spaces.
Allow for private sector creation of small-scale spaces to experience and participate in cultural programs, public events, performances, and public art installations. Larger facilities should be directed to Urban Centres and the Core Area.

Policy 7.11.2. Public Art Promotion.
Promote public art that celebrates the culture and diversity of Kelowna while reflecting unique character and qualities within each neighbourhood. Seek opportunities to partner and collaborate with Westbank First Nation and Okanagan Indian Band on public art and placemaking initiatives that acknowledge and celebrate their traditional territory and cultural values.