ZZap, on behalf of Timbercreek Asset Management, applied to permit a 534-unit apartment building at 210 and 214 Willet Street, Halifax. While apartment buildings are a permitted use in the R-4 (Multiple Dwelling) Zone, the proposal does not adhere to the Zone’s current zoning regulations (e.g., population density, angle controls, open space, and parking) and cannot be considered under existing Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) policies.
The applicant requested a site-specific MPS and Land Use By-law (LUB) amendment to permit the proposed on the subject site.
The applicant suggested that the existing apartment buildings at 210 and 214 Willet Street are at the end of their economic life and are no longer habitable. As such, the applicant proposes to construct a large development with three above-grade apartment buildings and three above-grade townhouse buildings on a shared foundation. The major aspects of the proposal are as follows:
• Three apartment buildings (8, 13 and 19 storeys) with a total of 517 units;
• Three two-storey townhouse buildings with a total of 17 units;
• At-grade residential units along Willet and Dunbrack Street;
• Vehicular access from Willett Street; and
• Approximately 315 underground vehicular parking spaces and 320 bicycle parking spaces.
Staff determined there is merit to the applicant’s request; however, concerns about the R-4 zoning regulations are not unique to these two properties, but general to the larger neighbourhood. For example, there are numerous R-4 zoned properties within the vicinity of Willett Street and Dunbrack Street that contain aging apartment buildings, have similar site characteristics, and are subject to identical zoning regulations.
With these considerations in mind, staff recommended an amendment process that reviews the MPS policies and LUB regulations pertaining to all R-4 Zoned properties within close proximity of Willet and Dunbrack Street. Specifically, the following R-4 Zone regulations will be reviewed:
• Population density;
• Angle controls;
• Open Space;
• Parking standards; and
• Other regulations pertaining to site, building, and pedestrian-oriented design.
Staff’s recommendation does not permit new land uses in the R-4 Zone, but it will consider: if the neighbourhood is better served by apartment buildings that adhere to modern-day regulations or the current regulations (which were adopted in the 1970s); and whether the Regional Plan’s direction for Clayton Park West is being achieved by the current planning framework.
On November 12, 2019, Regional Council proceeded with staff’s recommendation and initiated a process to consider to consider amendments to the Halifax MPS and Halifax Mainland LUB that would incorporate modified zoning regulations into the R-4 Zone near Willet Street and Dunbrack Street.
Planning staff are undertaking a detailed review of the project, in partnership with other municipal teams and external partners. Once staff’s review process is complete, they will prepare a recommendation report for Regional Council to consider.
Before Regional Council can make a decision, a public information meeting and a public hearing shall be held. Additional information on process can be found in staff’s initiation report to Regional Council.
Staff are in the early stages of the review process, though they anticipate that a public information meeting will be held in winter 2020. Please monitor this website for details.
Documents Submitted for Evaluation
The applicant has submitted plans and documents as part of their application, though the Council’s approved amendment process will focus on numerous properties. These documents are available below and at the Planning Applications Office at 40 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth. The details of this application may change before consideration or approval by Regional Council.