Tag Archives: Municipal Planning Strategy

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.

Whose Interest is the City Serving?

The Halifax Common and the Parker-Welsford Street neighbourhood continue to be threatened by the proposed 30-storey Armoyen and 25-storey Chedrawe developments. It is disappointing  to have city staff pushing through the development agreement process for projects that are non-conforming to the MPS, the LUB, the Quinpool Road and Area Plan and 1994 Halifax Common Plan (see: PAC Minutes-Jan 25, 2016 ).  The Willow Tree Group‘s serious and credible

Developers' push for profit and all day darkness on the Oval.

Staff & Developers’ push for private profits, neighbourhood be damned.

work to draw attention to contraventions including height, scale, density, the negative effects on the Halifax Common, existing houses and from traffic, wind and shadow seems ignored.  All for the private interests & profit of exceptionalist developers. The
2013 Stantec Report, the city’s
recent Density Bonusing Study and  Turner Drake’s quarterly reports offer lots of evidence on why  building outside of plan is a bad idea.
Whose interest is the city serving?

“Amendments to an MPS are generally not considered unless it can be shown that circumstances have changed since the document was adopted to the extent that the original land use policy is no longer appropriate. Site-specific MPS amendment requests, in particular, require significant justification to be considered.”

 

 

Howard Epstein To Mayor Savage: Use Your Best Efforts

July 15, 2015
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage (Chronicle Herald Photo)Mayor Mike Savage
PO Box 1749, Halifax, NS B3J 3A5

Your Worship:
I am writing on behalf of Friends of Halifax Common to set out an important concern about the state of play in overall land-use planning in the Capital/Regional Centre. Our focus is on the Halifax Common, but some of the issues that illustrate problems that affect the Common are also of wider impact and concern.

Originating with the 2006 Regional Plan, a focus on the Centre has been adopted by Council. Unfortunately this has suffered from delay. It is worthwhile to recall the reasons for this focus in the Regional Plan: stemming general residential sprawl (especially with associated energy use for transportation); controlling the cost of hard and soft infrastructure; and a concern with the hollowing-out of downtowns. These remain valid concerns. Delay has come about through several steps: first, HRM By Design abandoned its initial focus on the whole of the Centre area and dealt for several years exclusively with the Halifax CBD; next, a ‘corridors’ policy was attempted as an interim measure; and in the meantime, Council and the community councils have been dealing with many individual site applications, approving much of what has been asked for.

The result of this has been not only delay in settling on a new Centre plan, but in a series of decisions that effectively pre-determine the results of what should be an open public planning process. Very little will be left to be determined, especially on the Halifax peninsula, if important, individual site-based decisions continue to be made. Continue reading

The Common Streetscape vs Towers, Wind & Shadows

Why is another Halifax neighbourhood up for grabs?
Chronicle Herald Op Ed, Jan. 14, 2015
by Andrea Arbic, Peggy Cameron, Kathy Moggridge, Steve Parcell and J. Grant Wanzel

The corner of Quinpool and Robie streets in Halifax: “If the two proposals proceed, we’d get a massive block of towers with more traffic, noise, shadow, wind and a much larger carbon footprint,” say critics. (ERIC WYNNE/Staff)

The corner of Quinpool and Robie streets in Halifax: “If the two proposals proceed, we’d get a massive block of towers with more traffic, noise, shadow, wind and a much larger carbon footprint,” say critics. (ERIC WYNNE/Staff)

HRMʼs Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-law were intended to guide a rational planning process for the city. They were developed through extensive public consultation and approved by our elected representatives on HRM council. By representing citizensʼ shared view of what constitutes “the public good,” these documents should minimize individual negotiations with private interests. Continue reading