The HRM Planning sent BARA a useful update Reply Letter posted on our Facebook. It is helpful in clarifying next steps - up to a point.
What is clear is BARA members need not attend on the February 1st Community Council Meeting this Thursday evening.
A core group of BARA members will attend and report any highlights. We will also present our second petition with over 300 names as part of HRM Council's right to petition. It appears the Developer (although trying to use intimidation tactics by listing the 0.43 acre Funeral Home site as a hotel development as-of-right) will in fact use common sense to work to fit the proposal within the 6 storey limit. It is certain that no hotel in Dartmouth was built in the past 40 years on a site less than 3 acres. Hotel Chain site selection metrics are more intense than financial lenders and municipal land use by-laws. Few builders are qualified to meet the exacting standards of construction for hotel chains.
Uncertainty still remains on the overall process, but for the time being, it is a possibility the Developer may try and work with our community to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
The Halifax Charter has deeming provisions requiring a motion to be voted on within statutory time limits, otherwise the matter is deemed to be decided in favour of the Developer (for that reason HRM Council cannot impose any development moratorium - such a moratorium would have to come through provincial statute and is not realistic across all HRM Planning matters). BARA is researching the timelines required for this case 20269 to be resolved, based on a December 7th motion start date.
Here is a useful update Reply Letter to BARA from HRM Planning:
Re: Case 20269: Rezoning and Development Agreement – 307 Prince Albert Road and 5 Glenwood Avenue, Dartmouth
Thank you for your letter dated January 14, 2018, requesting that the Banook Area Residents Association (BARA) be given a more formal role in ongoing and future discussions between staff and the applicant for Case 20269.
We support the concept of collaborative engagement between proponents and interested stakeholder groups or individuals. However, staff are not able to require that engagement as a mandatory condition of the planning process. Based on existing Municipal and Provincial Planning legislation, stakeholder input on this type of application is achieved through public hearings.
Notwithstanding matters of law, many developers recognize the potential benefits of additional direct engagement with interested individuals and stakeholder groups. Those who choose not to exercise that opportunity assume some risk because issues that might have been collaboratively resolved through that engagement can become insurmountable challenges when raised at a public hearing.
While we cannot require the applicant to engage with you or your membership, we can advise the developer of your request and suggest they consider any input you may have when they are preparing revisions to their proposal.
To help put this request in context, I’d like to provide a short summary of the present status of the file for the clarity of all parties. Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council held a public hearing on December 7, 2017 in regard to a rezoning and development agreement for 307 Prince Albert Road and 5 Glenwood Avenue. The hearing was held and closed.
Community Council subsequently passed the following motion:
MOVED by Councillor Austin, seconded by Councillor Nicoll THAT Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council defer consideration of this matter pending a supplementary staff report discussing a six (6) storey proposal with an appropriate transition to surrounding low-rise neighbourhood.
This motion of Council provided the applicant with three options:
1. Continue with the current proposal which would require Community Council to approve or reject the existing plans. This option would conclude the planning process subject to any appeals allowed by statute;
2. Amend the application to respond to the suggested changes from Community Council as outlined in the above referenced motion. This option would require a second public hearing prior to any decision by Community Council; or,
3. Withdraw the application. This option would put a halt to the planning process and no further action would be required from either staff or Council.
As of this date, HRM Planning and Development has received a verbal indication that the applicant has chosen option 2 above. We expect to receive an amended proposal shortly. We will then act as directed by Community Council by providing a supplementary report outlining the applicant’s response and seeking direction on Council’s preferred course of action. You should note that consideration of any proposal that is substantially different than the one that was advertised prior to the previous hearing will require an additional public hearing.
I trust this clarifies this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions concerning this letter or the application process for Case 20269.