An annotated map is shown, with a property highlighted in red. On the bottom, the map says "St. Margaret's Bay Road" with an arrow pointing up to a road. On the top, "Raines Mill Road," with an arrow pointing down to a road. There's a body of water in the upper lefthand corner.
A map showing the location of Parkdale Developments’ property in Beechville.  Screenshot/HRM
A map showing the location of Parkdale Developments’ property in Beechville.  Screenshot/HRM

Councillors have approved a development proposal for Beechville nearly six years after it was first proposed.

Parkdale Developments Ltd. applied in 2016 to develop its property on St. Margaret’s Bay Road. John R. Fiske, the owner, died in March, and his family has taken over the company.

The proposal includes a 39-unit apartment building near St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and a subdivision of 39 single-family lots on a new public road between the bay road and Raines Mill Road.

A site plan for Parkdale Developments’ property shows the single-family lots in sub-area 2 with the multi-unit building ijn sub-area 1. — HRM/Parkdale Developments Ltd.
A site plan for Parkdale Developments’ property shows the single-family lots in sub-area 2 with the multi-unit building ijn sub-area 1. — HRM/Parkdale Developments Ltd.

In a staff report to the Halifax and West Community Council’s virtual meeting on Tuesday, planner Jamy-Ellen Klenavic recommended in favour of the proposal.

“Staff have reviewed the proposal in terms of all relevant policy criteria and advise that the proposal is reasonably consistent with the intent of the MPS,” Klenavic wrote.

Jenifer Tsang of Sunrose Consulting, working on behalf of Parkdale Developments, told councillors the application has taken longer than normal.

“It’s been in process for six years. It’s been thoroughly, thoroughly reviewed,” Tsang said. “And it is a very well designed project that will provide 78 families with homes. The density is actually extremely low.”

A rendering of the 39-unit building in Parkdale Developments’ proposal. — HRM/Parkdale Developments Ltd.
A rendering of the 39-unit building in Parkdale Developments’ proposal. — HRM/Parkdale Developments Ltd.

Tsang said 41% of the property will remain undeveloped, mostly because it’s too steep to develop, but also because the developer is providing parkland, as it’s required to do.

No one signed up to speak at the public hearing, but Coun. Iona Stoddard, who represents the area, brought up residents’ previous concerns about traffic on St. Margaret’s Bay Road. Stoddard noted the traffic study was conducted in 2016.

“It’s 2022, so I’m just wondering, where the traffic and everything on the St. Margaret’s Bay Road has kind of exploded, would they be looking at that again?” Stoddard asked.

Klenavic told Stoddard the municipality’s traffic engineers reviewed the traffic study in 2020 and didn’t see any issues.

“There’s quite a lot of capacity on St. Margaret’s Bay Road because it is an arterial road,” Klenavic said.

When the developer applies for a permit, Klenavic said there will be another review of traffic before approving plans for an intersection at the newly-created road.

Despite the concerns, Stoddard spoke in favour of the project.

“I do look at this as a development in the community that will be good for the community, as far as development goes,” Stoddard said. “I think there’s a way that the developer and the community can work together. They seem open to be able to be able to do that.”

The motion to approve land-use bylaw amendments for the project, and to provisionally approve a development agreement, passed unanimously.

Typically, a proposal like this would come back to the community council for final approval after the land-use bylaw amendments were approved by the provincial government. But recent changes to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter allowed the community council to approve both the land-use bylaw amendments and the development agreement at the same meeting.

Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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