A rendering of the proposal for Prince Albert Road. — Kassner Goodspeed Architects Credit: Kassner Goodspeed Architects

A proposal for two 12-storey towers in Dartmouth will go to a public hearing despite a staff recommendation against the project.

The municipality’s Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council met virtually Wednesday night and considered a development application for a site on Prince Albert Road, across the street from the Braemar Superstore.

The application is from property owners Robert Yuille, the Association of NS Land Surveyors, and Twin Lakes Development Limited (which is owned by Yuille, David Zareski, and Trevor Chisholm) for a development agreement on three properties — two on Prince Albert Road and one on Bartlin Road.

The property owners want to build two 12-storey towers with 176 apartments and ground-floor commercial space.

The two buildings would replace the building housing Napa Auto Parts. The Down East Hospitality building to the east would stay. Behind the property is an elementary school, Alderney School.

There’s already an approved development agreement for the Bartlin Road portion of the site — for a single 12-storey building with 83 units.

An aerial view of the site showing the surrounding properties. Credit: Contributed

The Centre Plan zoning on the site would only allow up to six storeys on one portion and four on two others. But the application came in before the Centre Plan was enacted, so it’s being considered under the outdated Dartmouth Municipal Planning Strategy.

Municipal planner Jamy-Ellen Klenavic recommended against the project citing concerns around height, size, wind, and design.

“The proposal is for an increase to gross floor area and living space, an increase in the permitted height, changes to the design and location of the building by bringing it closer to Prince Albert Road and removal of the required pedestrian connection between Prince Albert Road and Alderney Elementary School,” Klenavic wrote in the report to the community council. 

“It represents an intensification over what was previously approved with the original development agreement. The negative staff recommendation for the original proposal resulted from the building’s height and bulk, both [of] which are intensified with the current proposal.”

Instead, Klenavic recommended the community council extend the time limit on the existing development agreement.

The councillor for the area, Sam Austin, said most people at a public meeting in November 2019 were supportive of this new proposal, so he asked his colleagues to vote down the staff recommendation and move ahead to a public hearing.

“The public meeting for this project was very much not like any public meeting that I can recall. People were in support of the project,” Austin said.

“Based on that, I think we should be sending this forward to a public hearing to get the public’s feedback, and then we can weigh all the pros and cons, including the staff recommendation, in making our decision.”

Austin’s colleagues followed his lead, voting down the staff recommendation. He then put forward an alternative motion, that the community council give notice of motion to consider the application and schedule a public hearing.

That motion passed. It’s likely to be a virtual public hearing, held in the first few months of 2021.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the community council voted in favour of a development agreement to allow a livestock farm and small abattoir on Bianca and Pierre-Luc Sevigny’s land in West Petpeswick. That farm will include 100 chickens, 100 ducks, six horses, eight hogs, four goats, 30 rabbits, and seven “assorted rescue animals.”

And the councillors voted to discharge an existing development agreement for a six-storey building on Wyse Road at Pelzant Street so the property owner, Zagros Nova Home Developments Limited, can reapply under the Centre Plan.

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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