Several pre-approved housing designs could help densify existing neighbourhoods, Kelowna city councillors heard Monday.
The city aims to significantly increase development on thousands of lots that have historically been used for single-family homes or duplexes.
The so-called ‘infill challenge’ is drawing lots of interest and creative proposals from builders, top city planner Ryan Smith said.
“I get really excited when I think about how some of our neighbourhoods will evolve,” Smith said.
It’s likely, he suggested, that the city would ultimately approve several specific building designs with a view to getting as much new housing built as soon as possible.
That would be a slight change of approach from a previous infill challenge, in which the city selected just two designs that could get an accelerated approval process for about 800 standard-sized lots.
As a result, there were some complaints about the repetitive look of some of the new developments. With more design options to choose from, that shouldn’t be a problem for the next infill challenge, council heard.
“You won’t really notice (the repetition) but you will notice the extra housing,” Smith said, adding details of the next infill challenge will be released in the coming months.
Last year saw the highest building activity in Kelowna’s history with 3,200 new housing units approved. Building permits topped $1 billion for the first time, coming in at $1.2 billion.
While future construction trends depend on many factors, such as interest rates and the overall economy, Smith said 2022 is already shaping up to be another record-breaker.
“We expect as busy a year as last year, if not busier,” Smith said.