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…
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.
As I understand it under HRMbyDesign the height of Brenton Place building should be 39 m- that’s either a 13 or 14 storey building not 16 storeys. This is at the edge of Schmitviille where the community is trying to be designated a heritage district. Everyone was quite taken aback to discover that the city had not done any modelling for HRMbyDesign and Trillium residents had no idea their own developer WM Fares, would be building in their backyard. (Lack of modelling is also a big problem for the Halifax Library.)
I have previously raised the matter of the 1994 Halifax Common Plan not being taken into account for any of these developments on or adjacent to the Halifax Common beginning with the Trillium.
The Trillium, Brenton Place and the up-coming South Park Lofts in total will result in the demolition of ~10-12+ historic small-sale character commercial and residential properties-mostly affordable and with greater social, environmental and economic value than the replacements. I remind you of the 2014 report by The Preservation Green Lab, which provides the most complete empirical validation to date that neighbourhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings of diverse age support greater levels of economic and social activity than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings.
As a matter of interest this obliteration of traditional neighbourhood and community is exactly what the Centre Plan will allow in the majority of its proposed growth areas (Carlton St/Spring Garden Road, Quinpool/Robie/Parker St, Agricola. Gottingen) I hope you take the time to review the 3-document Halifax Common Plan carefully now that the Centre Plan proposes targeted growth areas on the Halifax Common at Carlton & Spring Garden Road and next to the Halifax Common at Parker Street, Quinpool Road and Robie Street. As proposed, the Centre Plan will obliterate existing neighbourhoods. -its a developer free for all.
Friends of Halifax Common
PS: Below are comments from Tim Bousquet’s Halifax Examiner which raises other important concerns.
Staff is recommending the award of “density bonusing” to WH Fares for its proposed 16-storey building on Breton Street. “The maximum pre-bonus height is 39 metres and the maximum post-bonus height is 49 metres,” reads the staff report, so three storey’s worth of extra height. Architectural renderings show that the elevator enclosure and other rooftop structures exceed even that height.
The developer is getting those three storeys in return for the “public benefit” of “public art.” Thing is, nowhere in the staff report is there any indication of what that art will be, who the artist is, or where the art will be placed. It could be some dog-awful thing, or despite being called “public,” it could be in the interior of the building. We’re supposed to trust the developer, I guess.