By John McDonald Special to The Daily Courier

Extensive revisions to Kelowna’s zoning bylaw, the regulations that guide development within the city, are expected to easily pass through city council after a public hearing Tuesday evening.

Director of planning and development services Ryan Smith said he hasn’t heard of any real opposition to the revisions, a change he described as "generational,” which is designed to make life easier for just about everyone who must consult the detailed document whether they are building a house or a highrise.

“There will be some opposition to some of the bits and pieces but there’s a lot of bits and pieces,” Smith said. “But if we get something wrong, this will still make it easier to fix it.

“These documents are living, breathing entities; trends changes, rules need to change. Kelowna council has a history of doing that, stopping the bad, encouraging the good.”

Bylaw 8000 as the current zoning bylaw is known was adopted in 1997, long before such things as EV chargers and infinity pools were a thing. Since then Kelowna’s population has surged along with development and the demand for housing.

Smith describes the plainly-named Bylaw 12375 as the rules that underpin the Official Community Plan 2040 adopted by Kelowna council in January.

“This is how local government regulates land use. It is a powerful document that along with the OCP, shapes how the city develops,” he said.

Among dozens of changes, some of the key revisions described in a report to Kelowna council are how building height is measured, requirements for minimum ground cover, changes to minimum buildable area on lots and simplification of base and bonus density

Smith said the new bylaw will also make it easier for the city to support affordable housing development, helping facilitate land purchases and allowing density increases where appropriate.

It also fits in with the provincial mandate to streamline development processes in major centres, an ongoing irritant for developers.

“We are modernizing the old one, making it easier to use with fewer zones, it address more modern forms of development,” Smith said, promising a better user experience with the rewritten document.

He praised his staff for producing such a comprehensive new bylaw, an 18-month project that had to be completed while planning staff were dealing with record development activity.

Should council adopt the new zoning bylaw, it would include a transition plan for developments begun under the old system, which Smith said would begin immediately.

The public hearing begins 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 in Kelowna council chambers. Council will likely vote on the bylaw at the 7 p.m. council meeting immediately following the hearing.