Kamloops council adopts set of OCP, zoning bylaw changes to boost housing; one more vote ahead – Kamloops News

Kamloops council has adopted a suite of sweeping changes to the city’s Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw — amendments which will make way for more housing in compliance with provincial legislation.

Two sets of OCP amendments and a zoning bylaw change were adopted after a public hearing held on Tuesday, June 11. One further zoning amendment will be coming before council for final adoption at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25.

Brandon Djordjevich, City of Kamloops community planner, told council during the June 11 public hearing that one set of changes involves designating transit-oriented areas, places located within 400 metres of transit exchanges.

“These are provincially identified transit exchanges and provincially prescribed height and density required allowances,” Djordjevich said.

He said developments in these areas will be exempt from residential parking requirements, except for accessible and bicycle spaces.

“Mixed-use developments will still have required parking for the commercial component, but not the residential component,” he said.

Coun. Margot Middleton asked if developers could opt to include off-street parking spaces if they wished, depending on market conditions, and staff confirmed the parking exemption was an option, not mandatory.

An official community plan bylaw amendment was also adopted by council after the public hearing, changes which will accommodate small-scale, multi-unit housing. According to the province, this type of housing can include garden suites or laneway homes, triplexes or townhomes — what’s been referred to as missing middle housing.

At its upcoming Tuesday meeting, council will vote to adopt zoning changes which will allow for these types of homes to be constructed on residential lots.

A Kamloops resident spoke out in favour of the provincial legislation and the housing changes during the public hearing.

“I feel that there is ample evidence in the research and in the documents that have been prepared to support this legislation to show that higher density design and quality site planning and aesthetics will give us healthier communities that allow more people to be housed affordably,” she said. “I’m really excited to see this happening on a province wide level.”

She noted concerns raised in council chambers about the cost of associated infrastructure upgrades, and said she feels the municipality’s bargaining position to get necessary funding from other levels of government will be stronger if the city is seen as “cooperative team players.”

“I feel that this is the direction we want to go. It paves the path for a healthier and more affordable community that doesn’t expand the footprint as much as standalone new single family home communities — which Kamloops is one of the communities that still seems to be kind of doing this,” she said. “I think it’s time that we reverse that trend locally and build affordable housing on the existing footprint.”

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