Tag Archives: block-busting

Don't take the public blue sky for granted. Its time to protect the public's view of the sky and access to light and warmth of the sun. photo by-http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs108/1102470517241

Protect Public Blue Space Too!

Don’t take the view of public blue sky for granted. No, Halifax developers aren’t painting the town red, but they are trying to get rich by occupying public blue space next to green space. Presently there are proposals for 25-, 28-, 18-, 11-, 25-storey buildings around the Halifax Common.  As well, on Halifax Common land, an 18-storey building next to Camphill Cemetery on Carlton St. is already approved; a 30-storey building is proposed for Spring Garden Road at Carlton-Robie; and another in the works on the JustUs/Medical Arts block.

Halifax developers are misusing development agreements to by-pass the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and build out-of-scale buildings.  When developers build highrises next to public green space, they privatize the public’s blue space/view selling and make higher profits, not just from extra floor space to sell or rent but because these condos, hotel rooms and apartments have a privatize luxury view.

Write the Mayor & Council (clerks@halifax.ca) & ask for regulations to protect the public’s “Blue Network” to ensure access to the view, the light and warmth of the sun and against the wind and shade effects from highrises. Continue reading

Good News at the Willow Tree – Thank You Bill Mont!

Replacement Tree

Private citizen Bill Mont replaced this Willow Tree, victim of a car crash.

Friends of Halifax Common offer a sincere “Thank You” to Bill Mont for his resolve to plant a new willow tree at the Robie St. & Quinpool Rd.  corner. A midst all the distraction over proposed highrises & a proposed roundabout at the “Willow Tree” corner no notice was given to the Willow Tree having gone missing in action.  On Nov 29, 2014, a 4 am car crash took down the most recent willow tree that Queen Elizabeth II planted years ago. (See Nick Hood’s car crash video & pics of previous willow trees here…)
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Residents say Armoyen’s 29-storeys is too tall for neighbourhood

shadows_feb-1_4pm_west_smallIt’s Deja view!
A 29-storey tower
one of  two developments proposed at the corner of Robie & Quinpool, next to  the Halifax Common and residential neighbourhoods west of Robie Street is too high according to 80+ attending a Sept 17th public meeting.  At just 20′ shorter than Fenwick Tower the building is potentially the second tallest building in Halifax but proposed for a site presently restricted to 145′.  Of 20+ citizens speaking only one person, representing the Quinpool Business Commission supported the proposal.  See CBC’s Coverage of the Public Meeting

View the developer’s drawings

Visit the Willow Tree Group website for a critical evaluation of these two projects.
Follow the Willow Tree Group on Twitter

Blockbuster Highrise Proposed for Quinpool & Robie

Presently there are 2 proposals by 2 developers for 3 block-buster towers of 28, 24 and 12 storeys near the Willow Tree intersection. (For comparison, Fenwick Towers is 32 storeys and Bell Aliant is 22 storeys) These highrises are not permitted under present planning regulations, set a bad precedent and will harm the Halifax Common experience. A public meeting will be scheduled. Please read below to learn what the implications are and how you can be involved.

Block-Busting
When developers apply for special exemptions or changes to smaller parcels of land that ignore an existing master plan and are at odds with a big picture view of what is permitted under existing zoning regulations its known as block-busting or spot-rezoning.

Near the Willow Tree intersection (Quiinpool Road, Robie & Parker Streets), two developers are trying to increase height limits and reduce or eliminate open space and set-back requirements. These are applications for spot-rezoning. The proposed spot-developments are looking for major exceptions to present land-use by-laws that are based on broad and comprehensive public consultation. These existing plans and regulations provide a predictable framework that guides development.

Unfortunately this kind of block-busting creates exactly the sort of controversy that blames Haligonians for being against developers and change. Developer George Armoyan banned from city buildings due to threatening behaviour | The Chronicle Herald

Too bad, because a 2013 Stantec Report, commissioned by the city concluded projected density requirements can met under the existing planning rules.

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Effect of Spot-Rezoning on the Halifax Common
The 1994 Halifax Common Plan emphasizes that views, streetscapes and trees are an essential features of the Halifax Common and its perimeter. Spot-developments allowing high-rises will permanently alter the experience of being on the Halifax Common by blocking the view and sky, increasing the shadows and increasing the wind. When you walk home from downtown the western sky at this location will be blocked. People working or living in the private sky-scrapers will be the private owners or our Common view. As well, it sets a precedent for block busting and breaking height restrictions with any future developers who are hoping to re-develop their properties with high-rises anywhere around the perimeter of the Halifax Common.

An on-line public survey by HRM staff about these projects does not offer the option of “no change to allowable height” or “no change to allowable set-backs” but you can write this as you preferred choice in the comment section. The survey is also incorrect about the shadow effect of tall-thin buildings being less than shorter ones.

Some details:
APL Redevelopment: Presently, the corner of Quinpool and Parker Streets has a maximum allowable height of ~ 5 and 14 storeys, north-west of the Willow Tree. The APL re-development proposal wants 12 storeys (3 times the allowable maximum) and 28 storeys (2 times the allowable maximum).

Westwood Redevelopment: The former Cruikshank’s funeral home (2 storeys) and a single family home (2 storeys) at 2032-2050 Robie Street, north-west of the Willow Tree has a maximum allowable height of ~ 4 storeys. The Westwood re-development proposal wants 24 storeys or 6 times the allowable maximum height.

Setbacks: Existing regulations requires that apartments have a set back of 20 or 10 feet to reduce the effect on the neighbouring properties such as solar loss or wind. Both developers are looking for complete exemptions.

In 2013 study HRM commissioned a Stantec report that concluded there is enough existing development potential within the Regional Capital to meet future density targets set out in the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy based on EXISTING height allowances. Changing the rules to favour individual developers isn’t necessary to achieve density and existing neighbourhoods can continue to be protected.

The Halifax City Staff report favours density but ignores the results of its own Stantec Report.

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Some Height Comparisons

  • Welsford Apt. – 19 storeys
  • Atlantic Hotel – 16 storeys
  • Quinpool Towers – 12 storeys
  • Aliant Building – 21 storeys
  • Fenwick Towers – 32 storeys
  • APL Proposal – 28 & 12 storeys (allowed now – 4-storey & 16 storey)
  • Westwood Proposal– 24 storeys (allowed now – 4 storey)

Concerned? Write the Mayor and Council directly at: clerks@halifax.ca

Halifax Common vs. Block Buster Highrises

 Presently there are 2 proposals by 2 developers for 3 block-buster towers of 28, 24 and 12 storeys near the Willow Tree intersection. (For comparison, Fenwick Towers is 32 storeys and Bell Aliant is 22 storeys) These highrises are not permitted under present planning regulations, set a bad precedent and will harm the Halifax Common experience.  Please read below to learn what the implications are and how you can be involved.
The proposed developments will block  the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

The proposed developments will block the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

Block-Busting – When developers apply for special exemptions or changes to smaller parcels of land that ignore an existing master plan and are at odds with a big picture view of what is permitted under existing zoning regulations its known as block-busting or spot-rezoning.
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