Good Planning Needs Adequate Notification & Time to Reflect
FHC Board Member, Howard Epstein has written to HRM’s Jacob Ritchie following a recent meeting, to relate points of common understanding and reiterate FHC concerns with about the Halifax Common and the proposed Centre Plan. In summary:
The Halifax Common is a special place distinct from normal parks. The 1994 Halifax Common Plan could be integrated into the Centre plan. Intensive development on Spring Garden Road at Robie is not compatible with the 1994 plan.
The Proposed Centre Plan should favour medium-height buildings; distribute density; delay consideration of any new proposals until Plan is final and density bonusing is in place; respect public input such as in the case of the proposed Willow Tree developments; include a mix of affordable housing; prioritize in-fill of vacant lands; justify the case, if there is one, for towers and place more emphasis on sustainabilty with real targets for ghg emissions reductions, timelines and measures.
Imagine a building the height of Fenwick Tower a the corner of Robie & Quinpool
What is the racket at city hall? Despite overwhelming public opposition to George Armoyen’s proposed 29-storey highrise at Robie and Quinpool, City Council has voted to support the project as-is. Four Councilors – Watts, Mancini, Mason and Nicholl – voted to support the recommendation by City Staff for a 20-storey limit – see: Staff Report.
Click PLAY> above to hear News 95.7 host Sheldon McLeod interview Peggy Cameronabout why all the other councilors (except the absent Whitman & Johns) voted for 29-storeys.
Under present regulations, the height limit at this site is 14-storeys. If built, the tower will be Halifax’s second tallest building, just 29 feet less than Fenwick Tower.
Letter to the HRM Community Design Advisory Committee by Dalhousie professor Steve Parcell, for Wednesday Aug. 23 meeting.
My comments below are in two parts. The first section is new, addressed to you. The second section (with its attachment) is a copy of my comments on the Centre Plan growth scenarios that were sent to firstname.lastname@example.org two weeks ago. (I don’t know if the Planning department forwards a copy of the comments they receive to you.)
As a member of the Willow Tree Group (which has been monitoring proposals around Robie and Quinpool for several years), I’ve been struck by the significant mismatch between the implicit urban vision of the Planning department and responses by the public. This predates Continue reading →
Centre Plan Primary and Secondary Targeted Growth Areas
“We see the draft Centre Plan as making a bad situation worse. We urge a complete re-thinking of the draft Plan.” Howard Epstein, Board Member, Friends of Halifax Common
Below are FHC Board Member Howard Epstein’s comments on HRM’s June 27th draft Centre Plan Growth Scenarios submitted to HRM Community Advisory Committee. His letter addresses concerns about the Plan’s general approach and the failure to protect the Halifax Common. Click Here to read previous FHC submissions to HRM’s Centre Plan (PDF) and here (previous post).
August 5, 2016
I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Friends of the Halifax Common to offer comments on the draft Centre Plan.
While the main focus of the FHC is on those aspects of the draft Plan that have immediate impact on the Common, we see those matters as arising in an overall context. That is, the general approach of the draft Plan is also reflected in those portions that are directly related to the Common. These comments, therefore, start with the overall approach of the draft Plan, and then move to specific focus on the Common. Continue reading →
What ever happened to planning for the Common good?
Deliberately or otherwise and despite FHC’s submission to the Centre Plan, the new draft Centre Plan growth scenarios are about to continue the obliteration of the Halifax Common in at least five ways. 1. The Halifax Common Planning Boundary continues to be mislabeled. 2. Highrise growth is targeted on the Halifax Common at Carlton and Spring Garden Road. 3. Highrise growth is targeted next to the North and Central Commons at the Willow Tree. 4. The Halifax Common’s perimeter along Robie and South Streets are targeted growth areas. 5. Opportunities to re-capture VG Parking lot lands and create a promised Grand Allee from the Citadel to Point Pleasant Park are ignored. (See illustration below, taken from 2007 HRM staff report.)
In July 2016 HRM’s Design Review Committee (DRC) approved the controversial 16-storey Brenton Place. FHC’s letter to the DRC outlines its concerns…
WM Fares’ Brenton Place obtained an extra 3 storeys to add to the 13-storey height limit in exchange for unknown public art of unknown value. As Tim Bousquet writes: “Here’s the impossible view drawn by the architect, showing transparent trees, the elimination of overhead wires and parking metres, and the sky from Europa.” The public art is still a mystery.
Dear DRC Committee Members:
Please do not permit the extra height for the Brenton Place proposal.
The building is already controversial as it will block the sw side of the adjacent WM Fares Trillium and the high priced view. When WM Fares built the pre-HRMbyDesign Trillium on South Park Street across the street from the Halifax Common’s Victoria Park it already broke planning regulations by getting approved for 20-storeys where there was a 35 foot height restriction and completely ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan. Continue reading →