April 25th Public Hearing on 20-storeys is About Taking from the Common

Imagine standing on the North or Central Common and looking to the west, to see a 20-storey building, (2 storeys taller than the new convention centre) blocking the sky.

HRM’s Public Hearing for Armoyan’s proposal for the Willow Tree is April 25th, 6 pm at City Hall. But Friends of Halifax Common 10-year effort to have HRM honour its 1994 commitment to develop an integrated master plan for the Halifax Common is ignored.

The 240 acre Halifax Common is a unique parcel granted by King George III in 1763 “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Commons forever”. FHC acknowledges the blight of the legacy of colonialism, but uniquely, the Common belongs in equal measure for joint use to the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax, forever.

It is wrong for HRM Council to be taking decisions outside of the context of a master plan, on matters that have a long-term, bad implication for the Halifax Common. Of the 240 acre grant only the remnant of the North Common remains as largely open space. Armoyan’s proposal for 29-storeys to take advantage of luxury views from Quiinpool & Robie is three times what’s permitted. HRM Council’s decision to consider 20-storeys is two times the 10-storey legal zoning.

Common citizens of Halifax have provided lots of evidence as to why this project has no grounds in regulations (at least 9 planning regulations are broken) or merit on a measure of common sense…more shadow, more wind, blocked views, too much height, mass, density, traffic, congestion, reduced diversity and affordability, degradation of character buildings, destabilization of the neighbourhood and Quinpool Road. etc.  All for a private developer and his urban elite.

Despite FHC’s best effort there’s nary a mention of the 1994 Halifax Common Plan in HRM Staff reports and their bias to support the project has only hardened their resolve to wiggle and break rules. It might be HRM Chief Planner Bob Bjerke’s vision to “create an urban form that feels and functions as a cohesive unit (aka a skyscraper zone) at this corner, but is it the right of the HRM Council to aid and abet in stealing from the Common good? Or to ignore the will and interests of the inhabitants who are the rightful shared owners of the space and will be the most affected by fallout from short-sighted decisions?

Its quite a statement on democracy these days when the debate is about having the developer make enough profit without any attention as to what the real cost is and who pays.

So please participate – Write to clerks@halifax.ca & Attend the April 25th public hearing, 6pm at City Hall. Help shed a bit of light on the problems with the process and the proposal so Council will have a better view on why they need to play fair.

There are many good places for good development to take place in Halifax that respect the common good.

Please, Write to Stop this Shady Dealing!

Tell the Mayor and Council to Stop this Shady Dealing! Download the ‘poster’ here: Stop This Shady Dealing

HRM Council moves one step closer to approving a 20 or 29- storey mega-lithic money-maker tower for APL (George Armoyan) at Robie & Quinpool on March 21st. That’s against what 99% of citizens who spoke at public meetings or wrote letters want.

But letters don’t get carried forward so if you didn’t write in March, Councillors won’t know you are against this project!  You still have time to write to tell them to not continue the approval process. Ask them to focus on the Centre Plan and the Halifax Common Plan, not individual developers.

FYI – 20 storeys isn’t a compromise-its twice as high as what’s allowed, as what’s there & two floors higher than the convention centre.

This is the thin edge of the wedge as other developers are chomping at the heels of staff and council to get break rules for their proposed projects for  13-, 14-, 16-, 20-, 25-, 26- and 30-storeys on or next to the Halifax Common.

So if you care about protecting green space, stopping shadows and preventing wicked winds on the Oval, the Common Roots Urban Farm and everywhere else in the neighbourhood please write to the mayor and council and tell them not to approve either 20 or 29 storeys at the Willow Tree.

Tell the Mayor and Council we want a livable city, not shady deals! email, clerks@halifax.ns.ca Print the ‘poster’, spread the word Stop This Shady Dealing

Write to Stop 20+ or 29-storeys at Quinpool/Robie

Armoyan’s proposal comes before Council on Tuesday, March 21. As a next step, a public-hearing date will be scheduled. Please write to say: re Case 18966: Do not approve APL’s 20 or 29-storey tower at Robie & Quinpool at this time. Wait for the Centre Plan.

Dear Mayor and Council:
Please say “No!” to the proposed 20- or 29-storey Armoyan tower at Robie & Quinpool. What’s there, a 10-storey office tower, is what’s permitted. Don’t spot-rezone to advantage a private developer. Wait for the Centre Plan. Wait for the Halifax Common Master-plan.

To date, 120 individual written submissions, 3 community group submissions and a Willow Tree survey have opposed increased height at this corner. That’s 99%+ of all participants. Evidence in HRM’s staff report recommending 20-storeys (2 storeys higher than the convention centre) at this site is thin, biased and misleading.

Citizens’ right to peaceful enjoyment of their neighbourhoods, the Halifax Common, the Oval, the Common Roots Urban Farm or the skate park must be respected. Regulations for height restrictions at this corner exist precisely to protect the area against more or higher towers, wind, shade, blocked views, traffic etc. The existing towers are non-conforming anomalies, mistakes that should never be repeated or made worse.

Respect the citizens. We support responsible development; that is why you must respect the regulations and stick to the Plan.

Keep the Common Good.

Yours truly,
Name & Address

 

Sorry, Wanderer’s Grounds is not available for Stadium

Friends of Halifax Common have written to HRM Mayor and Council asking them to make a statement to refute rumours and media coverage indicating there will be a stadium built on the Wanderer’s Grounds. The city has received an unsolicited proposal from a private person to put in 3-5,000 temporary bleacher seats. So begins the slippery path. Please see the letter for details. Continue reading

Please Comment on 18 Spot Re-Zoning Projects

There is worrisome trend for the developer tail to be wagging the HRM Centre Plan. And for some folks to not have to follow the rules. HRM is asking the public to comment on 18 projects (many on or near the Halifax Common), that break rules and will hand hundreds of millions of dollars in extra floor space for developers to rent or sell – is this the best way to plan a city? Continue reading

HRM Planning Information Meeting – Wednesday Dec 7th 19 proposals at 1 meeting

Please attend this important meeting and make comments on the 19 proposed developments…

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, is an Edwardian-era building on the South Common that is under threat from the Two developers hope to erect 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road under debelopment agreement applications. targeted growth area- Spring Garden Road bounded by Robie, College, Summer Streets and Camp Hill Cemetery.

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, an Edwardian-era building at Spring Garden and Robie, on the South Common,  is one of a dozen+ buildings that will be demolished by two developers if their plans for 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road are approved.

Most of the 19 proposals are for highrises that break existing height restrictions and are out-of -scale with neighbourhoods. They’ll cause dozens of affordable small-scale, mixed-use residential units, commercial spaces & historic houses to be demolished. This will harm Halifax’s Common in various ways. Examples are:

  • 13 storey on Robie, Cunard – Compton
  • 14 storey on Robie St, Pepperell – Shirley
  • 16 & 30 storey on Spring Garden Rd & Robie west of Carlton
  • 20 & 26 storey on College & Robie St west of Carlton

Continue reading