Councillors on the Dartmouth side of the harbour have approved a development proposal adding 46 new homes to Cole Harbour Road.
The Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council held a public hearing Thursday night on the proposal from A.J. Giles Investments Ltd. for 1268 Cole Harbour Rd., just past Bissett Road.
The company, owned by Alfred J. Giles, J. Andrew Giles, and Janice M. Bayers, applied via Zzap Architecture and Planning for a development agreement. They want to build a four-storey, 30-unit building and a three-storey, 16-unit townhouse-style building on the property.
The developer’s plan is to build one level of underground parking with the four-storey building, and enough surface parking to have one space for each unit.
Municipal planner Paul Sampson told councillors the developer updated the design following public consultation to add privacy features like hedges on the property lines and fences on balconies.
Some neighbours opposed to development
Anne Knowlton, who also spoke on behalf of Brian Knowlton, lives on Bissett Road behind the proposed development. She told councillors there wasn’t enough public consultation on the proposal, and it doesn’t meet the zoning.
“This development has numerous problems and doesn’t meet numerous rules for Cole Harbour Westphal Planning Strategy, land-use bylaws, and it needs to turned down,” Knowlton said.
“It should never been accepted by Halifax planning, and I expect council to play by the rules and turn down the development application.”
Sampson said he’d had more contact with Knowlton than he has with neighbours of most development proposals. He told councillors that because the developer is going through a development agreement process, it doesn’t have to adhere to the letter of the land-use bylaw.
Another resident raised concerns about visitors to the development parking on nearby Parkland Avenue. Coun. Becky Kent asked about those concerns, and Sampson said the parking proposed, one spot per unit, is reasonable.
“The issue of on-street parking is one where it happens throughout HRM, and that’s reasonable. No one is necessarily entitled to park in the space on the public street in front of their house,” Sampson said.
Councillors argued housing needed
Coun. Trish Purdy, chair of the community council and councillor for the area, supported the proposal.
“We definitely do have a demand for this type of housing in in Cole Harbour,” Purdy said.
“I have been approached by many seniors who would love to downsize and stay in the district but they can’t because there’s not an option for them.”
Coun. Tony Mancini sympathized with residents, but agreed.
“I get it. You’re used to your property and all of a sudden you’ve got something that doesn’t fit or doesn’t appear to fit,” Mancini said.
“But I look at where we are in this city, this city right now we need housing.”
The development agreement passed unanimously.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the community council passed first reading of two developments. One of those is from Dartmouth Non-Profit Housing for Circassion Drive in Cole Harbour. The other development is on Shore Road in Eastern Passage, by developer Blue Ocean Estate Holdings Ltd. The community council will hold public hearings on both proposals before they’re approved.