Resident skeptical plan will preserve character of Halifax neighbourhood

A south-end Halifax resident says proposed new development rules will establish a dangerous precedent for developers if they’re passed by the city.

Package B, which is the second phase of the Centre Plan, focuses on residential neighbourhoods. It identifies 13 streets within established neighbourhoods in Halifax and Dartmouth for special consideration, including Armview, Grant Street and Young Avenue.

The proposed rules for Young Avenue would allow multi-unit buildings of four to six units, as long as the outside of the development matches the type of houses that already exist.

“It would have to be compatible, so we are talking about one door, parking underground and strict controls in terms of building dimensions,” said Ben Sivak, a municipal community planner.

But Peggy Cunningham, a Young Avenue resident, is concerned about the proposed rules.

Peggy Cunningham, shown in this 2016 photo, is concerned about the proposed planning rules in Package B of the Centre Plan. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Two large mansions on Young Avenue were torn down in 2017 to make way for redevelopment. The lot remains vacant.

“We just don’t see why multi units on a R-1 [single-family home] street are being considered. Period,” said Cunningham, “Once a developer establishes precedent, every other developer is going to try to do the same thing.”

Cunningham points out that multi-unit buildings would be allowed to be as high as 15.85 metres, which is five metres higher than the maximum for single-family homes.

“I don’t think any R-1 street will be safe if this kind of thing is able to go ahead,” said Cunningham.

Regional council is expected to debate and vote on the changes proposed in Package B this fall.

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