Infill housing and RU7 Zone
Infill housing – the addition of new housing units to existing neighbourhoods – represents an important part of the City's overall strategy to combat the impacts of urban sprawl. By focusing growth in areas with existing infrastructure (e.g.: roads, schools, parks, transit, etc…), it is possible not only to mitigate the impacts of sprawl, but also to build resilient neighbourhoods with access to daily services, transit and a wider variety of housing options.
The Infill Challenge and the RU7 Zone
The Infill Challenge was developed as an innovative competition to identify new designs for sensitive infill housing in select parts of Kelowna’s Urban Core Area. Winning projects were intended to act as catalysts, inspiring greater achievement in the design of infill housing, strengthening community and developer support along the way. Entries were vetted against criteria established by a broad cross-section of the community. Winning entries — Architecturally Distinct Solutions and Inhabit Residential — were given development process incentives as a reward.
Following the completion of the Infill Challenge, Council has formally adopted the new RU7 - Infill Housing zone in select areas of the urban core to allow for infill development. The new RU7 zone is meant to allow greater flexibility for infill housing that remains sensitive to surrounding neighbourhoods. Depending on lot size, the zone will allow a range from two to four units per lot with lane access. Alongside the new zone, changes have been adopted to the Official Community Plan (OCP) to introduce new design guidelines to ensure a high quality of design and landscaping for new developments.
See below for key information about the RU7 - Infill Housing zone.
The RU7 zone came forward as part of a larger project called the Infill Challenge. In this project, community members, design professionals, builders and developers worked collaboratively to find ways to increase housing options in some of our central neighbourhoods. A design competition was held and two winning submissions were selected by the community and endorsed by Council. The RU7 zone was created using these winning submissions as a starting point. Both winners approached their designs very differently. As a result, the RU7 zone is highly flexible, allowing a wide range of building types, configurations and tenure arrangements.
The RU7 zone has been applied to over 700 parcels in central neighbourhoods in Kelowna (check the online Map Viewer to confirm your zoning). Most RU7 land owners will be able to add additional units to their parcels, with maximums ranging from 2-4 units, depending on lot width. Each property is a bit different, and so each land owner wishing to take advantage of the RU7 zone will likely approach it differently.
Regardless of the variety of approaches to RU7, each development proposal must go through two key stages of development approval:
- Development Permit – Evaluates the aesthetic form and character of a development proposal, including landscaping. The Development Permit review process is a rigorous process that aims to ensure that each new building in a neighbourhood works to make that neighbourhood better and adheres to the very high standards of community members and Council, as expressed through the approved Design Guidelines.
- Building Permit – ensures compliance with the British Columbia Building Code.
You will need both a Development Permit AND a Building Permit before you can build under the RU7 zone.
Want faster approvals?: if you use the already approved plans from one of the two winning submissions of the Infill Challenge, you will not have to get a Development Permit and your Building Permit may be expedited. This could save you between 4-12 weeks and $900.00 in application fees. Contact the winners to inquire about using their designs.
|Winner 1: Inhabit Residential||Winner 2: Simple|
The RU7 zone allows between 2-4 units, depending on the width of your lot. You may want to consider redeveloping your property completely. This gives you ultimate flexibility to take full advantage of the RU7 zone without having to work around existing buildings. It also makes site planning and building design easier.
Is a complete redevelopment not for you? That’s ok. The RU7 zone allows you the flexibility to add units to your existing lot. This may mean adding a home off the lane if you already have a secondary suite, or it may mean adding a secondary suite if you already have a home off the lane. There are any number of different configurations that may work for you.
Before moving forward with development under the RU7 zone, you should be aware of several important costs and considerations.
- Design Standards – projects coming forward under the RU7 zone will be scrutinized very carefully to ensure that they meet exacting standards of form and character.
- Development Cost Charges (DCC) – DCC’s must be paid for each NEW unit of development on your parcel. DCC’s must be paid at Building Permit stage and can be between $12,000 – $20,000 per unit.
- Frontage Improvements – these fees cover the cost of upgrading the road fronting your lot to current standards. Often, this means sidewalk, boulevard, street lighting and curb and gutter. These fees are payable at Building Permit stage and can range between $10,000 - $30,000, depending on the length of frontage.
- Services – you may be required to upgrade key services like water and gas lines to your units.
- Tenure – before you get too far along, it is important to determine how you want to divide your lands for development. Do you plan on stratifying your units for sale? Do you plan on subdividing your lot? These questions can have a direct impact on the costs listed above.
- Building Permit Fees - these fees are calculated based on the estimated value of construction. Home Protection Warranty is required.
Adding new housing options to our central neighbourhoods is vital to the long-term health of our community, but only if we do it right, with high-quality design that complements the surrounding neighbourhood. If you think that developing under the new RU7 zone is a good fit for you, please contact the Community Planning Department to meet with a Planner.
A note about neighbours: open communication about your plans with your neighbours is strongly encouraged. Reactions to development of any kind in a neighbourhood range from curiosity to concern. Our suggestion is to keep in contact with your neighbours throughout the planning and development process. Infill development should work towards creating a stronger, more diverse neighbourhood and the support of your neighbours is needed to achieve that end.