Planning and Development is working to update the zoning for Aerotech Business Park. This project includes introducing new policies and zones that will protect and support these valuable industrial lands, and increase watershed and wilderness protection in the area.
In 2008, Regional Council approved, in principle, Part I of the Business Parks Functional Plan (BPFP), and in 2021 the Industrial Employment Lands Strategy (IELS) to guide HRM’s development of its industrial and business park program. Both documents outlined the need for more industrial land in HRM to accommodate demand. These studies included recommendations for the Aerotech and surrounding lands within Airport Industrial Designation. Regional Council requested staff begin the planning process using recommendations from these studies and the recent approval of the Burnside Industrial Park as a framework to amend the Regional Plan, and the, Planning District 14 & 17 ( Shubenacadie Lakes) Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law.
The Aerotech Business Park was developed in the 1980s with a plan to create a “campus” supporting aerospace and technology. Planning policies and zones permit industrial uses that support technology- or airport-related facilities only. Since the original plan was made, market demand has changed and there have not been new aerospace-related occupants in some years. Business interest from non-technology and non-aerospace interests, such as warehousing, logistics and distribution, has been consistently active but are not allowed under current zoning rules.
A key objective of both the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and Halifax's Economic Growth Plan is to ensure there is a sufficient supply of industrial lands to provide economic development opportunities. Aerotech Park is well suited for industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, logistical and transportation uses, given its direct links to 100-series highways and the central location of the international airport. The Park is separated from residential neighbourhoods and there are restrictions around further residential development in the area due to federal noise restriction guidelines surrounding the airport.
Council is considering changes to municipal planning policies and zones that would expand the range of permitted industrial uses in Aerotech, and limit retail and commercial operations to accessory uses. No residential uses are being contemplated. Three new zones are being proposed to replace the existing zones:
- Airport General Industrial (AGI) zone, which will permit both light and heavy industrial uses, and limited commercial and retail that support industrial uses.
- Airport Commercial Industrial (ACI) zone, which will permit light industrial uses, and a range of supportive commercial, retail and office uses.
- Halifax International Airport (HIA) Zone, which will permit aircraft, aerospace and airport-related facilities and services, commercial uses that support airport operations, and manufacturing, construction and warehousing uses.
The policies and full list of permitted uses proposed for each of these three zones is available here:
The areas bordering Aerotech Business Park contain wetlands and Provincial protected areas, as well as the Bennery Lake Watershed which supplies servicing to the Halifax International Airport and properties on Aerotech Drive. The Bennery Lake Watershed is designated under Provincial legislation and has Provincial regulations governing activities and land uses in the area. The current municipal designation and zone, applied before these regulations were created, do not reflect the Provincial permitted uses. Amendments are being proposed that would align Provincial and Municipal policies.
Council is also considering the following changes to enhance watershed and wilderness protection:
- Changes to the boundaries of the Protected Area designation and Protected Water Supply zone around Bennery Lake, to reflect the protected area set by Provincial watershed regulations. The watercourse buffers have also been updated to reflect Provincial regulations (within 30 metres of any watercourse and 100 metres of Bennery Lake).
- Changes to the Regional Plan that would create a new Urban-Settlement-Employment (US-E) zone that would permit utilities, conservation uses, and public parks and playgrounds. The zone would be placed on lands currently zoned Aerotech-Holding (A-H), which border the Waverley Game Sanctuary. Under this zone, the lands would be earmarked for future industrial development, but only after studies establishing environmental, infrastructure, cultural and servicing needs upon development take place. The lands proposed for the temporary Urban Settlement-Employment (US-E) zone may be seen on the Draft Zoning Map below. Further details may be found in Chapter 10 of the draft Regional Plan here (Policy I-48).
This project is being considered under the municipal planning strategy and land use by-law amendment process.
Regional Council approved the Initiation Report on November 23, 2021 to review the existing MPS policies and LUB zones.
The proposed amendments to the Planning District 14 & 17 ( Shubenacadie Lakes) Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law. are intended to protect and support the Aerotech Business Park, Halifax International Airport and lands within the Airport Industrial Designation for long-term industrial use. All existing businesses will continue to be permitted as existing uses. There are no residential uses proposed with this zoning amendment.
The lands within the Airport Industrial Designation will continue to encourage a range of industrial, commercial and support uses that are compatible with an industrial environment and the operation of the Airport.
Documents Submitted for Evaluation
Proposed Draft Zoning Map
Existing Zoning Map (PDF)
Existing GFLUM (Generalized Future Land Use Map) Map (PDF)
Regional Plan GFLUM (PDF)
Case 22009 Initiation Report – Regional Council Nov. 23, 2021
Industrial Employment Lands Strategy
Part I of the Business Parks Functional Plan (BPFP)