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Multimillionaire suing City of Kelowna, developer over massive lakeshore condo project

View of the proposed Aqua development from Okanagan Lake. Contributed/Mission Group

A Kelowna multimillionaire is suing the city to prevent a massive condo project from being built next to his lakeshore property.

In a document filed in Vancouver Supreme Court on July 22, Chuck Fipke is seeking to have a development permit and a development variance permit quashed, and a restraining order preventing the land from being developed.

The land in question is located in Kelowna’s South Pandosy neighbourhood, along Okanagan Lake. It’s there where the city greenlighted plans in 2018 to build three towers featuring 154 residences.

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Fipke, who became rich after discovering diamonds in the Northwest Territories 30 years ago, argues that Aqua Waterfront Village should be stopped from being built as its footprint is too big.

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The development would see three towers of 13, 15 and 17 storeys over 4.67 acres (203,425.2 square feet).

Specifically, the court document says Aqua’s floor area ratio (FAR) exceeds what’s allowed.

“The total floor area of the proposed development is 403,040 square feet,” reads part of the six-page court document. “The permit application misrepresented the total lot area to be 268,693 square feet.”

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Fipke says pursuant to a Kelowna bylaw, the maximum FAR ratio cannot exceed 150 per cent of the parcel’s total area. That percentage is then expressed as a decimal, such as 1.5.

He then says on June 22, 2021, at a council meeting, the city granted Aqua Resort both the development permit and the variance permit.

“During the presentation, the FAR for the proposed development council was represented to be 1.47,” reads the court document.

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“The FAR as represented to council is incorrect. The land base for the calculation is 203,437.9 and the FAR is 1.981.”

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The court document says “the decision to authorize the development permit and variance permit are patently unreasonable because they authorize a development proposal beyond the power of council to approve.”

It continues, saying, “Specifically, the project’s floor area ratio is inconsistent with the FAR limit expressed in zoning bylaw No. 8000.”

The court document concludes that the hearing will take two days.

Global News reached out to the city for comment.

Global News also contacted the developer, Mission Group, for comment.

“We understand that new home development projects can have impacts on neighbouring properties,” said Mission Group executive vice-president Luke Turri.

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“It is always our practice, as good community partners and citizens, to work very closely with local regulatory bodies in the planning and development of our new communities.

“Mission Group has completed all necessary due diligence on Aqua Waterfront Village and the project has been approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies in order to move forward.”

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