Tag Archives: Halifax Regional Plan

FHC Requests HRM Auditor General Review Public Consultative Process as a Charter Matter

August, 2020-Letter to HRM Auditor General
Re- Review of HRM Planning’s public consultative process as a Charter matter
This letter (accompanied by 10 brief case studies) is to request that HRM Auditor General conduct a review of HRM Planning Department’s public engagement process and outcomes with respect to HRM planning and council votes. In writing to you we wish to note that we are aware of your July 2018 report to HRM Council on the operation of the Planning Department with respect to development agreements. We are prompted to write regarding a crucial aspect of the operations of that Department not addressed in the report, namely public participation.
The HRM Charter, Part VIII, s.208 states: “The purpose of this Part is to …(c) establish a consultative process to ensure the right of the public…to participate in the formulation of planning strategies…”
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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-https://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

Steele Auto Expansion- Not a New Experience

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda - Tristan Cleveland

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda – Tristan Cleveland

News 95.7 Sheldon MacLeod interviews Peggy Cameron about demolition being a long-term threat to neighbourhoods that the city has allowed.

 

 

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.”

 

 

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

FHC Signs Coalition Letter to Mayor & HRM Councillors

HRM Mayor Savage and Council

HRM Mayor Savage and Council

Coalition of Community Groups to Council: “Stop Misuse of Development Agreements to Circumvent Approved Plans and Regulations”
Friends of Halifax Common has joined the Coalition for Responsible Development in HRM, which includes 14 community groups from across the municipality, in sending an open letter to Mayor Savage and HRM Council today, September 10, 2015.

The letter requests that:
1. Mayor and Council stop using development agreements indiscriminately to approve development that are inappropriate for the communities in which they are proposed; and,
2.  Mayor and Council apply existing policies and bylaws currently in place until such time as these policies and by-laws are changed.

For the full text of the open letter and a list of the signatories, please visit:
https://openletterhalifax.wordpress.com/

To Residents’ Groups in HRM:   If you are concerned about the development agreement process and would like to add your group’s name to this letter, please send your group name, e-mail contact, and website (if you have one) to willowtreehalifax@gmail.com.

The Coalition for Responsible Development in HRM is coordinated by the Willow Tree Group.

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

Herald Opinion – Halifax Common Takes Another Hit

Published June 22, 2015 –
On June 23, 1763, King George III granted 240 acres of common land “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Halifax as Common forever.” Unwittingly, this year the city will commemorate the anniversary by cutting several mature trees to make way for a roundabout at the Cogswell/North Park/Ahern/Trollope intersection.This is a fitting tribute to the ongoing

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.

onslaught of the Common, whereby less than 30 acres remain as public open space. And it suits the city’s habit of ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan to protect it by not decreasing the amount of public open space or the amount of city-owned land, and to increase the amount of land under city ownership through recapture of lands.

Examples of giveaways include the lands of the former Queen Elizabeth High School, Grace Maternity Hospital and Civic Hospital, School for the Blind and its adjacent block of Tower Road as well as the side-yards of All Saints Cathedral. Next will be the CBC-TV and the Victoria General Hospital lands. And decisions for the permanent Oval, the Oval building, the roundabouts and several public art projects were all outside of an integrated Halifax Common Master Plan.

Now, after a 21-year wait, this year’s municipal budget included money to begin the planning process. Time is not on the Common’s side. Developers are unjustifiably making extensive use 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

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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