Halifax City hall through the memorial arch
Municipal

Special North West Planning Advisory Committee, Nov. 4, 2020

 | November 12, 2020

Present:

Ann Merritt, Chair

Lisa Blackburn

Tim Outhit

Nicholas Horne

Christopher Bewsher

Jordan Foster 

Absent: 

Robert Jarvis – sent regrets

Keith Boutilier

Ryan Donato – sent regrets

Donalda MacIsaac – sent regrets

The important stuff (motions under consideration and vote result):

The motion to accept the proposal from WM Fares architect group on behalf of Cascade Property Group to change their plan for 26 Walkers Service Road, from one building (pg 19) to two. Was accepted as proposed, was approved by everyone except the chair who is concerned about increased traffic. 

The application for the doggy daycare outdoor dog run was rejected due to concerns about the noise of dogs being too loud for the neighbouring houses. The only person who dissented in the vote was Chris Bewsher. As a reminder Tier Too Properties applied on behalf of the landowner to build a doggy daycare in Hammonds Plains. The building and business are allowed under current zoning regulations, but they needed permission for the outdoor dog run sections

The third item, the application by Clayton Developments Limited, on behalf of a number of landowners, who are looking to amend the Municipal Planning Strategy to allow the development of the land in between Kearney Lake and Highway 102, was approved unanimously. This is the first step in a very long process that might eventually see the land developed if services like roads and water get put into the area. The discussion about how and when that could happen was lost due to technical difficulties.  

Meeting synopsis (paraphrased): 

Merritt: Role call, approval of minutes, approve the order of business, no conflicts, no deferred business, no correspondence, or petitions. On to the first report! Welcome Paul Sampson who’s giving the report.

*technical difficulties in getting the presentation to display*

Merritt: While we’re waiting, I’ll read out the motion to refresh everyone’s memory.

Sampson: There are four properties and they’re looking to amend an existing proposal. It’s a little over 10 acres, there are two existing houses on the properties, as well as industrial buildings. The industry used to be a quarry and salvage prior to this. It used to be one building and a park, then it was two buildings no park, but the park is back. Any development here requires a development agreement and needs to be larger than five acres. Public engagement was letters to residents, sign on the lot, and a website. Community concerns were increased traffic, construction noise, environmental impact on the rivers, opinions that the original development shouldn’t be changed, and the removal of the park (which is back now). Questions? 

Horne: I don’t have questions at this time, maybe in the second round. I want to hear from the current councillor though. 

Bewsher: Ditto Horne. 

Foster: Nothing at the moment

Merritt: Lisa Blackburn, are you the councillor for the area? 

Blackburn: I’m not, I’m right on the edge. When was the existing agreement granted?

Sampson: 2016

Blackburn: what’s changed? Why do they need another one? 

Sampson: I don’t know

Russell: I spoke to Cesar Saleh, what changed is the removal of the street. By turning the street into a cul-de-sac it makes it cheaper. 

Blackburn: Thanks

Merritt: Outhit?

Outhit: With this change do the planner or councillor have concerns about traffic with the new plan? Since the plans cheaper did Russell try and leverage affordable units or keep the prices down? 

Merritt: I have similar questions, but Nick do you want to ask your questions to the councillor? 

Horne: What have you heard from the next door neighbors?

Russell: Virtually nothing from the local community. They’re more interested in the townhouse design because apartments don’t really fit with the community. Don’t really want apartments at all. Want it set back more. Traffic again. Other than that, not much. From the architect I’ve heard that it’s designed for people in Sackville and want to stay in Sackville, but the architect has no idea what they’ll cost. Not sure what else I can offer. 

Horne: I don’t have much concern with this proposal, other than unforeseen traffic issues. I’ve heard that the HRM is not in the business of business, it’s not our place to set rental rates so we should steer away from that. 

Bewsher: One of the previous uses was a junkyard? What’s in the ground? Was an assessment done? In my community of Eastern Passage it took 15-20 years for things to seep through enough to hurt people.

Sampson: Yeah they said it was done, I don’t have a copy though. It’s a provincial jurisdiction though so we don’t normally include that. 

Staff: I think it was done by Tyson Simms. While we were negotiating the first one we needed to do an assessment, so it was done and cleaned up then. 

Blackburn: So traffic would be coming out of Walker Service Road? Is that the road busses use? 

Russell: Nope. 

Merritt: I have a problem with the location. The first one had 86 residences, this one has 114. It’s only 28 more, but it’s probably double that in cars. But they’ll have to go out Old Sackville Road at the Cobequid intersection, right? That’s what google maps says. I’m not pleased with two apartment buildings in that spot because apartment buildings have more cars than houses. There’s no bus service, so there’s going to be more traffic. I’m not happy with the location. 

Staff: There was a traffic impact statement, but there are no concerns with proposed traffic. As far as units vs population numbers, it’s only a 9 per cent increase in local population. We removed the public street to save costs, but they put the park back because they didn’t realize they could, and so they did. 

Merritt: Can we get a motion? 

*silence*

Bewsher: I’d like to move. We accept the proposal as is. 

Horne: Seconded

Vote: Horne – Aye, Bewsher – Aye, Foster – Aye, Blackburn – Aye, Outhit – Aye, Merritt – Nay. 

Merritt: Next case presented by Maria Jacobs, for the outdoor dog run part of a doggy daycare. 

Jacobs: (Presenting this in slideshow format) 167 unique page visits after sending out notices to the community, which resulted in five emails expressing concerns. Concerns were about noise levels and there being too many doggy daycares in the area already. 

Bewsher: Not many people provided feedback, was the nearest property owner one of those people? 

Jacobs: I don’t know, we should look into that though. 

Bewsher: It’s only 75 feet away, if there’s an opportunity to mitigate the complaint in the development process we should. 

Horne: If barking dogs become a problem, what recourse do the neighbouring properties have? 

Jacobs: Good question, they could get a reading? Maybe limit the number of dogs in the evening? It’s a good thing to look into, how this works with the noise bylaw. 

Staff: It would be looked at through the noise bylaw, but we’ll get that answer. One of the primary concerns we have is with that next door neighbour. 

Foster: We can’t really advise what business goes here, but I think it’s worth noting that residents are concerned about the volume of doggy daycares.

Jacobs: You’re right it’s out of the scope, but it is worth noting. 

Blackburn: I had questions about noise, but they were answered. 

Outhit: Do we know what the zoning is for the two closest houses? 

Jacobs: Half commercial, half R1. 

Outhit: We take our dog to Jollytails in Burnside sometimes, and I wouldn’t want to live close to that. I don’t see how staff could mitigate the sound of 15-30 dogs with the proximity of these houses. Do you hear dogs two houses away? I do. I know we love dogs, but this seems real close to a house. 

Jacobs: Just to correct myself it’s C4 and then MU1 (C4 zoning includes “indoor kennels”, MU1 zoning is mixed-use and includes some residential), not R1  

Outhit: Right, so it’s residential, they didn’t build a house in Burnside, for example. It’s a residential area. So it’s a concern, I support business but this is a red flag. I’d hate to live this close to a doggy daycare. 

Staff: We haven’t finalized anything yet. There’s a lot to do still, we haven’t done enough to recommend anything. 

Merritt: There’s a little dog that lives over 200 feet away from me. With all my windows closed I can’t hear the wind blow, but I can hear that dog bark. They talk about building a solid wall, how will they keep the dogs from digging out from underneath? I have a lot of concern about putting 30 dogs into what is basically a backyard, in a ‘high-class’ residential area. 

Jacobs: They have artificial turf, so they wouldn’t be digging into the ground. Can the applicant speak to what they’re building the wall with? 

Applicant (Craig): It’s an eight-foot solid wood fence. 

Merritt: How do you prevent dogs from digging out from under the fence, normally you’d need skirting and you can’t really do that with wood. Dogs escaping would still be a problem, and wood wouldn’t make the sound quieter. 

Horne: I move that we reject this proposal because it will interfere with residents’ quiet enjoyment of their property in a way that can’t be mitigated. 

Outhit: Seconded. 

Vote: Horne – Aye, Bewsher – Nay, Foster – Aye, Blackburn – Aye, Outhit – Aye, Merritt – Aye. 

Merritt: Carries, it’s rejected. Onto the next, presented by Andrew Bone

Bone: (Presenting this in slideshow format) This committee is just talking about a very small part of the overall land. The end product of all of this is just a plan for how to use this land, at this point, since the current zoning is more or less a placeholder. 

Outhit: Can I go first? I want to set the stage here. Are the CCCs (Capital Cost Charges, or Capital Cost Contributions) going to be in place for all the other parts too? We haven’t done a good job getting transit and services in to other parts of Bedford. How much leeway do we have to talk about having development here at all? We should do road and transit improvements before developments. 

Bone: CCCs cover transportation and water improvements, and they’re required for transportation and water improvements in this part of Bedford. We’ve requested a series of transport studies, and the interchange and Larry Uteck isn’t performing as well as it should be. The province is demanding upgrades to it as part of this development plan. May include roundabouts and ramp widening. That might start prior to this plan being developed though. 

*three minutes missing from the recording due to technical difficulties*

Bewsher: Nothing to add, but this would be a great spot for an outdoor doggy daycare park. 

Blackburn: Just to clarify, these aren’t part of the lands Sandy Lake wants to protect?

Bone: Kilometers away. 

Merritt: Can you say specifically, what you’re asking for? 

Bone: Keep the existing zoning, but develop policy to allow for future development should services be extended to the area. 

Outhit: I can move that. 

Blackburn: Seconded.

Vote: Horne – Aye, Bewsher – Aye, Foster – Aye, Blackburn – Aye, Outhit – Aye, Merritt – Aye. 

Merritt: Next meeting December 2. 

Staff: We are doing public hearings in a virtual format, we haven’t been able to do the ‘townhall’ style ones. We do have some cases where we will need to have virtual public information meetings. Three cases are paused because we haven’t been able to do that. Council gave us the direction to do virtual public meetings so, we’re looking to host a virtual public meeting for this committee and it would require your attendance. We need to have at least two meetings but don’t think there’ll be a large turnout, they’re ‘less controversial’ so it’s a good way to ease into the virtual format.

Outhit: This is good news, ‘cause there’s some big ones coming down the pipe. We may have to run these more than one night. I don’t really like doing them virtually, but we have to do it. Unless these are very mundane, they probably shouldn’t be done before Christmas. Otherwise we might get accused of trying to ‘sneak’ ‘em through. 

Staff: The two coming up should be low interest, the one in Tantallon is a commercial property with limited access for example. Can we get your availability for a meeting? We need several weeks, we’re looking at Dec. 9, 2020. 

Merritt: We have confirmation that we’ll have a quorum. Anything else? 

Adjournment. 

Interviews:

Previous meeting minutes and current agenda:

Agenda for the meeting

Minutes from the previous meeting on Sept. 2, 2020


A former Naval Officer turned journalist, Matt Stickland is committed to empowering his community to ensure that everyone has access to the information they need to make their city a better place.