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  #181  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2015, 2:48 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by alps View Post
I also think this building is quite good from an urban design perspective. I like the mix of two floors retail with residential above. Such a fine-grained mix of uses would keep the building active around the clock and it seems like having retail on the second floor would act as a buffer zone, precluding noise complaints from second-floor residential tenants.

I don't mind that the building is plain. Not every building can or should be an architectural icon. Tokyo is comprised mainly of these kinds of dense, mixed-use, plain-looking "boring" buildings but the city is still very pleasant and liveable due to its variety of ground-level uses, walkability, scale of the street, etc. I love seeing these dense, small-lot developments in Halifax because they remind me of Tokyo.

My only complaint might be that in the first photo Hali87 posted, the building seems to call out for nice exterior lighting that illuminates both the sidewalk and the building.
Great post. External lighting would be a nice addition.
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  #182  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2015, 2:48 AM
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Untitled by Hali87, on Flickr


Untitled by Hali87, on Flickr
Thanks for the nice pics, Hali.
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  #183  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2015, 2:55 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
Now, I'm not going to say this is the most amazing building I've ever seen, but I will say that it's pretty close to exactly what we should be seeing on major commercial streets in the city centre: a street oriented building with extensive glazing at grade and higher-density residential above.

The detailing is not heart-stopping, but it appears to be good quality and should last.

It's a great foil for the public theatre of a city street.

Much of your other comments? I agree, we need to hold developers to higher standards, but this building is not indicative of low standards in my opinion.
Perhaps I overstated somewhat. I don't think this is a bad building, and does have many positive points as mentioned by several posters including yourself.

Not earth-shattering in its beauty, but a net-positive I think. All points well taken.
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  #184  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2015, 6:23 PM
beyeas beyeas is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Perhaps I overstated somewhat. I don't think this is a bad building, and does have many positive points as mentioned by several posters including yourself.

Not earth-shattering in its beauty, but a net-positive I think. All points well taken.
I think this is a solid addition, and as noted I love how much retail they integrated (and integrated well I think).

Having said that, it is obviously quite similar to the TD building, and that really is my main (albeit soft) criticism of this development. I hope that this ends the number of buildings on this strip that are built using that mold. Otherwise it will start to look way too cookie cutter.

Taken on its own though, I think this is a fine addition to a street looking to balance retail and residential.
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  #185  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2015, 4:52 PM
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  #186  
Old Posted May 10, 2017, 9:08 PM
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This one is back at the Design Review Committee this week requesting amendments, as what was built is not consistent with what had been approved.

Full report here:
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...0511drc911.pdf

20170510_151121 by Jonovision23, on Flickr
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  #187  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 3:25 AM
mr.wheels mr.wheels is offline
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The cladding on the BMO is a ventilated Porcelain Facade system, same as on the Pearl and Monaghan sq. The sunshades are also made of Porcelain. The material will not alter and will last over 100 years.
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  #188  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 1:39 PM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
This one is back at the Design Review Committee this week requesting amendments, as what was built is not consistent with what had been approved.

Full report here:
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...0511drc911.pdf

20170510_151121 by Jonovision23, on Flickr
I mean, really, why bother having rules if they can be broken at will?

It's a tough position to be in because it's already been built and I'm not sure the areas where it doesn't meet the requirements or specific relaxations already applied for and approved would result in a significantly better building.

If we want to reach a place where agreements are made in advance and the public trusts that the qualitative and quantitative aspects are addressed securely in a Site Plan approval process, something has to be done.... otherwise, it might as well be back to the Development Agreement process.
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  #189  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 1:48 PM
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Westwood should be fined for every "non-compliant element". Where possible, it should be made to undertake renovations to fix them: rooftop landscaping, the guards on the penthouse terraces, cladding materials and colours.

I don't care how much money it costs Westwood; that's bullshit.
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  #190  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 1:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Westwood should be fined for every "non-compliant element". Where possible, it should be made to undertake renovations to fix them: rooftop landscaping, the guards on the penthouse terraces, cladding materials and colours.

I don't care how much money it costs Westwood; that's bullshit.
As I see it, that's the only way to ensure compliance in the future. If nobody enforces the rules, then why bother having rules in the first place?
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  #191  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 4:36 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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I'm curious to see how this one goes. The DRC could give variations for the balcony railing material and the penthouse setbacks, and I imagine they will (the developer would have likely been approved for those variations if they'd asked for them in the first place). The DRC could also give a variation for the penthouse cladding, but staff is recommending against it. This would mean Westwood would have to go back and reclad the penthouse in glass.

What I'm not sure will happen is in relation to the stuff the DRC can't vary, and that can't easily be changed. The biggest one is the the streetwall height, which is 0.7m too high. DRC is not permitted to vary it, and it's not like it's really physically feasible to go back and knock 0.7 metres off the building. So I'm not sure of the mechanism for punishing Westwood in that situation. A big fine?

To me this really highlights the issue we have, in that developers don't want to spend money on detailed design prior to having approval. So they do a sketchup model and a rendering and take it to get approved. Then they do detailed design and find out, "oh, I need a bigger penthouse for the elevator and the balcony railings need to be more substantive so that the window washing crew can hang their platform off of them." I'm not sure how we solve this. Require detailed design before approval? Just be vigilant on these after-approval changes?
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  #192  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 4:43 PM
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Here's a pair of elevations from the document:

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  #193  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 4:44 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by IanWatson View Post
I'm curious to see how this one goes. The DRC could give variations for the balcony railing material and the penthouse setbacks, and I imagine they will (the developer would have likely been approved for those variations if they'd asked for them in the first place). The DRC could also give a variation for the penthouse cladding, but staff is recommending against it. This would mean Westwood would have to go back and reclad the penthouse in glass.

What I'm not sure will happen is in relation to the stuff the DRC can't vary, and that can't easily be changed. The biggest one is the the streetwall height, which is 0.7m too high. DRC is not permitted to vary it, and it's not like it's really physically feasible to go back and knock 0.7 metres off the building. So I'm not sure of the mechanism for punishing Westwood in that situation. A big fine?
I think a very big fine. Obviously it doesn't really matter, in the big scheme of things, that the building is 70 centimetres too tall. But a line has to be drawn somewhere, and it's the principal of it. As for the things that can be changed, I think it makes sense to levy a small fine, and permit a window of time to fix them. Non-compliance within the permitted time frame will result in another, much bigger fine.

I take it that the city has no firm process for this kind of thing, eh?
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  #194  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 4:58 PM
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Not surprising given the preponderance of planning grads and students here that nobody has questioned the wisdom of needing to have planning bureaucrats approve things in such detail. But really, what is the point of doing that? You got what you wanted in the end in terms of the building itself and whether a balcony rail is exactly as originally stated really makes not one whit of difference.
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  #195  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 5:05 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Not surprising given the preponderance of planning grads and students here that nobody has questioned the wisdom of needing to have planning bureaucrats approve things in such detail. But really, what is the point of doing that? You got what you wanted in the end in terms of the building itself and whether a balcony rail is exactly as originally stated really makes not one whit of difference.
Mixed feelings on this Keith. We need enforcement mechanisms, at the same time many of the rules are seemingly arbitrary when we look at (the quality) of some of the buildings that stem from them.
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  #196  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 6:19 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Not surprising given the preponderance of planning grads and students here that nobody has questioned the wisdom of needing to have planning bureaucrats approve things in such detail. But really, what is the point of doing that? You got what you wanted in the end in terms of the building itself and whether a balcony rail is exactly as originally stated really makes not one whit of difference.
Planning exists in a legal world. There is no "ohh it turned out looking okay, so we'll let it slide". There is no gray zone. You can't say 0.7 metres over the height limit is okay, but the guy who builds 3 metres over the height limit to sneak in an extra floor is not okay.
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  #197  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 6:48 PM
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Originally Posted by IanWatson View Post
Planning exists in a legal world. There is no "ohh it turned out looking okay, so we'll let it slide". There is no gray zone. You can't say 0.7 metres over the height limit is okay, but the guy who builds 3 metres over the height limit to sneak in an extra floor is not okay.
I am not sure what will happen here but actually in legal proceedings it is common for there to be a test of reasonableness which in practice works out to being a grey zone. A court is unlikely to apply huge penalties that aren't commensurate with the real impact of the problem. It would be hard to demonstrate a major, real negative impact from going 0.7 m over the height limit. If the penalties are unreasonable they might be ignored, and if they weren't well-specified then there won't necessarily be an assumption that the developer must be forced to adhere to the original plans at any cost.

Personally, I think it would be better if there were more grey area built into HRM planning rules. You need flexibility in the real world. Things change suddenly and in unforeseen ways. People find loopholes in rules. The idea of black and white rules is a platonic ideal from bureaucrat land that doesn't work very well.
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  #198  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 7:30 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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And that needed flexibility is the whole idea behind Site Plan Approval, having a legislated 60-day turn around, and having a Design Review Committee. But at some point you actually have to write a rule down on paper, and given the legal realm that planning works in the rule can't be, "street walls shall be 20 m high, but if you go higher and it looks okay we'll let it slide".

EDIT: Yes, if this ends up in court the court will apply the test of reasonableness to any punishment. They might find it's unreasonable to make them rip the top floor of the building off to correct this issue. But that test doesn't apply to whether or not they broke the rules in the first place. It is not possible to make that gray. Either you broke the rules, or you didn't. People are saying HRM should just let it go, but they literally cannot let it go if they want to have any ability to enforce on other, worse-outcome, examples of similar broken rules.
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