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Re: “Schmidtville neighbours object to proposed new building

It seems a bit far-fetched to worry about discount penthouses, because for one thing the developer would lose out more if he really did offer a discount on more expensive units.

It's not correct to say that developers can "bypass HRM by Design rules" if they include affordable housing. The provisions for height bonuses based on affordable housing are part of the HRM by Design rules, and the 9-storey height was part of the original public consultation process.

Fundamentally 9 storeys is also a totally reasonable height for these sites. These blocks are two of the most desirable in the whole city and they are separated from the neighbourhood by a street and an extra setback that was always part of the plan and again dates back to earlier public consultation about the Sister Sites.

There's very little substance to the complaints about this development.

22 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by M on 06/13/2012 at 11:39 PM

Re: “Halifax's building boom: anything goes

This is a really twisted view of the situation.

The first problem with this view is that it supposes that the plan must be followed 100%. Problem is, the plan was full of errors from day one and no plan is ever going to be 100% correct. The population and employment projections used in the past by the city are now wrong. The open space requirements set for developments had unintended consequences and are being changed. Some of the height limits were also clearly misguided from the beginning -- some limits around South Street were amended to discourage redevelopment of heritage buildings (this is a dumb idea but actually is a motivating factor behind some height limits). Some of those buildings burned down and now the limits are being changed.

Clearly there must be room for modifications to the plan.

The next incorrect assumption is that the whole thing will come crashing down if HbD is amended for some developments. That is false. Many developers will still elect to follow the quicker basic procedure, and even for cases like the YMCA proposal there have been procedural changes that came about because of HRM by Design.

18 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by M on 03/01/2012 at 4:59 PM

Re: “Judge stops sale of St. Pat's-Alexandra to developer

So much for being constructive and trying to work with a cooperative developer, I guess. I'm not sure that was ever even seriously considered -- instead, several parties appeared all too happy to play off of ignorance and the old "evil developer vs. oppressed community" trope.

That may be a good way to get attention but I doubt it's what's best for this neighbourhood.

16 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by M on 02/02/2012 at 2:54 PM

Re: “St. Patrick‚Äôs-Alexandra development OKed

This whole process seems overly adversarial. The developers are prepared to invest in low-income housing and community space -- they're not the bad guys here.

Furthermore the city's been dealing with the underused Bloomfield site for years. It's maybe a 20 minute walk from the St. Pat's-Alexandra site, so I understand why regional council would not want to take on another similar site.

Several condo developments have gone up near Gottingen recently but they have all been moderately-priced units. During this period the street has improved somewhat. If it were to continue to improve and new businesses were to move in it would mean more services and more potential jobs for the community, including people who live in Uniacke Square. They are not well-served by the current assortment of underused buildings and empty lots like the former Sobeys property on Gottingen.

Public space and social services are important but so is some degree of population density and commercial vitality.

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by M on 12/16/2011 at 4:46 PM

Re: “Tower wars

Yikes! This article is full of misleading half-truths. Some duplexes can hold more people than some highrises, like say suburban highrises set in large parking lots, but they cannot hold more people than a tall building built to the lot line without overcrowding.

As for lasting a few decades, why is it that cities like New York are filled old highrise buildings, some over 100 years old?

Lately it seems like some authors at The Coast are more interested in promoting their own personal agendas than they are in writing informative articles.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by M on 04/29/2011 at 1:46 AM

Re: “Moving targets

There is a lot of confusion over demographics in the HRM. Here is the map of districts: http://www.halifax.ca/municipalclerk/docum…

Districts are roughly balanced by population. This map is therefore proof that the population is hugely concentrated around the core of the municipality. Rural areas (e.g. District 1) are not a significant percentage of the city's population and get far more attention than they ought to.

All of the talk of how HRM is somehow a fake city, "unsustainable", or spread out over an area the size of PEI (omg! how do we deal with this?!) has a very tenuous connection to the reality of settlement patterns in the region. Halifax is a completely normal city and the HRM should be focusing on urban issues -- it's an overwhelmingly urban municipality.

Posted by M on 03/06/2011 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Twenty-three downtown developments, and most won't get built

One reason why some developments were stalled was the lack of financing available during the recession. Heritage groups did add to this problem by delaying many developments proposed in good economic times until the recession.

Something else that should be pointed out is that it was always very obvious that there wasn't demand for half a dozen new office towers downtown. Halifax is already getting one big new office building (Emera) which will open up new space in Scotia Square.

The best development for the downtown right now is residential but unfortunately we aren't seeing it, perhaps because of the preference for commercial which might be encouraged by zoning. One of the big distinctions between relatively successful Spring Garden and Barrington is that Spring Garden Road has far more residents nearby.

Finally, it's important to have a sense of perspective. The media in Halifax might be very negative but the fact is that there is tons of construction occurring on the peninsula right now and more projects are going to start up in the spring.

Posted by M on 01/16/2011 at 7:53 PM

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