The community council representing the Dartmouth side of the harbour approved next steps for two projects and gave its final stamp of approval for another at a virtual meeting this week.
The Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council met virtually on Thursday evening. Like many committee meetings during the pandemic, the meeting was not open to the public, but draft minutes were posted online on Friday morning.
According to the minutes, the community council questioned why the meeting wasn’t open to the public. Legislative assistant Simon Ross-Siegel “spoke briefly regarding the Clerk’s Office policies in the context of the public health measures associated with Covid-19.”
Simon Ross-Siegel stated that there are staffing and technological restraints which motivate staff to prioritize resources for live meetings for meetings of Regional Council and for public hearings before Community Councils. In efforts to ensure public access to boards and committees, staff is ensuring that audio recordings of meetings are being provided to the public as requested and working to ensure draft minutes are posted to the website within 24 hours of a meeting.
The municipality is rezoning parts of the Burnside Industrial Park to “protect and support the lands in this area for long-term industrial use.”
The community council passed a motion to send the proposed land-use bylaw and municipal planning strategy amendments up to regional council for first reading and eventually a public hearing.
The changes were proposed in a 2008 report, the HRM Business Parks Functional Plan that had already been partially amended.
“The proposed policy and regulations limit the range of permitted commercial uses in favour of industrial uses, to encourage and support industrial use in Burnside Industrial Park and City of Lakes Business Park,” municipal planner Leah Perrin wrote in the report to the community council.
“Councillor [Tony] Mancini indicated this started back in 2008 and thanked staff for their work,” the minutes read.
“Members questioned the date of the Public Hearing.”
Perrin told them council will set a date after first reading. The motion passed.
Waverley Road development moves along
A proposal for the corner of Waverley Road and Montebello Drive is headed to regional council for consideration.
Zzap Consulting submitted an application on behalf of a developer Anthony Chedrawy’s G2J Residential Holdings for a five-storey building on the corner, containing 40 residential units, more than 4,000 square feet of “commercial and/or residential space,” and 45 indoor parking spots.
“It was noted that an application was previously submitted and withdrawn after a Public Hearing, and that this is a revised application with consideration given to public feedback,” the minutes say.
The developer submitted that original application in 2016, with 16 more units, and staff recommended against it.
Since then, the developer bought more land. The rezoning now proposed would only cover part of the space for the building. The developer plans to submit another application to rezone other land to fit the rest of the structure.
In the staff report to the community council, planner Leah Perrin wrote that the density of the proposal is “at the upper limit” of the zoning and it’s bigger than existing development in the area, but the design “recognizes the neighbourhood context and provides adequate transition to adjacent properties.”
Perrin recommended in favour of the proposal and wrote that a future development agreement process would mean more public consultation and a public hearing.
The motion passed.
Three-building Portland Street development officially approved
The community council gave its final nod of approval on Thursday to T. Chandler Haliburton’s 110-unit residential and commercial development on Portland Street.
Following a virtual public hearing in June, the community council approved bylaw amendments to allow a development agreement between Haliburton and the municipality.
Neighbours to the back of the building weren’t pleased, as the Examiner reported after the meeting:
Eight people signed up to speak and all eight called in — one of them in favour of the proposal.
The rezoning of the rear lot from R2 to R3 was the only contentious part of the proposal; every speaker said they wanted to see the two buildings on Portland Street built. But Rodney Road residents worried the four-storey building in the back would encroach on the privacy of their one- and two-storey homes on abutting properties.
“The proposed four-storey building will tower over our homes and gardens,” Madelaine Corke told the community council.
Corke’s neighbour, Heather Yule, said the building “removes all privacy for the neighbours.”
“That seems obnoxious, honestly,” Yule said.
The residents also expressed concern that the rezoning would set a precedent for further creeping of commercial development into their residential neighbourhood.
On Thursday, the community council approved the development agreement and required Haliburton to sign within 120 days.
“Members asked if anything changed since the Public Hearing. Staff confirmed nothing has changed,” the minutes say.
There was another item on Thursday’s agenda — the approval of a fence — that was deferred to a later meeting “in order to provide notice as required.”
Burnside, being a significant contributor of commercial taxes, is being governed by a 2008 HRM Business Parks Functional Plan?
I agree . Very poor planning by HRM . Seems like it’s often the cart before the horse when it comes to planning in HRM.