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  #321  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by spaustin View Post
In no way am I anti-development. Recall that I faced down an angry room to approve the eight storey residential option on this project and had a few choice four letters words hurled my way for my troubles. I think I'm probably one of the only Councillors who would do that in their own district. Most would have thrown good planning right out the window to pander. I didn't because something should be built here and well-designed mid-rise residential would be a great fit.
Thank you, Councillor, for your willingness to engage with residents on this project, with taxpayers generally, and with members of this forum. I wish more of our elected representatives were as open to communication.

I agree fundamentally with most of your positions. The approved 8-storey structure was a reasonable compromise that you worked very hard for after seven years of debate. But, as we know, the result of compromise is very often that no one walks away satisfied. Why the development group decided to toss it all and revert to the structure they could have built years before is beyond me, but its fair to speculate that after showing willingness to compromise for years, faced with yet another appeal, they finally decided enough was enough.

I'm finding it hard to blame them for that. And I suspect there are more that feel that way than you appreciate. That's why the attempt by you and others to paint the developers as the unethical bad guys, for playing the lousy cards they were legally dealt, is grossly unfair in my opinion.

You've made the case that their hotel project would be great, if only it was somewhere else. The statement's disingenuous, as I think you know. It would make no difference where in this city this project was proposed. Some vocal minority would find a reason to oppose it, and some councillor, some journalist or some advocate would be ready to rush to their side. And the dance would begin again.
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  #322  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 1:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
I agree fundamentally with most of your positions. The approved 8-storey structure was a reasonable compromise that you worked very hard for after seven years of debate. But, as we know, the result of compromise is very often that no one walks away satisfied. Why the development group decided to toss it all and revert to the structure they could have built years before is beyond me, but its fair to speculate that after showing willingness to compromise for years, faced with yet another appeal, they finally decided enough was enough.
The reason is simple - the anti-development NIMBY group that fought this every step of the way first appealed this to the UARB, and when that was unsuccessful, threatened to take it to the NS Supreme Court. How much abuse and delay should the developer be expected to take?

Quote:
I'm finding it hard to blame them for that. And I suspect there are more that feel that way than you appreciate. That's why the attempt by you and others to paint the developers as the unethical bad guys, for playing the lousy cards they were legally dealt, is grossly unfair in my opinion.

You've made the case that their hotel project would be great, if only it was somewhere else. The statement's disingenuous, as I think you know. It would make no difference where in this city this project was proposed. Some vocal minority would find a reason to oppose it, and some councillor, some journalist or some advocate would be ready to rush to their side. And the dance would begin again.
I would also like the councillor to unequivocally deny that he and HRM staff are investigating ways to expropriate the property to quash the as-of-riight development. That would be exceedingly foolhardy and underhanded in my view and would likely ensure his defeat in the next election.
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  #323  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 4:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
The reason is simple - the anti-development NIMBY group that fought this every step of the way first appealed this to the UARB, and when that was unsuccessful, threatened to take it to the NS Supreme Court. How much abuse and delay should the developer be expected to take?



I would also like the councillor to unequivocally deny that he and HRM staff are investigating ways to expropriate the property to quash the as-of-riight development. That would be exceedingly foolhardy and underhanded in my view and would likely ensure his defeat in the next election.
I'm asking for an information report on Tuesday that looks at all our options. There is enough community concern that it warrants a detailed look at what HRM can and can't do. I expect they'll be no planning grounds (it's as-of-right and a building permit has been issued), and I expect that there will be no interest in acquiring the property due to high cost. People deserve that explanation though since that's what everyone is asking.

The only realistic long shot would be some sort of swap. HRM, for example, owns the property at the corner of Ochterloney and Alderney which HRM staff consider surplus. It's about the same size as the portion of Prince Albert/Glenwood that a hotel could be built on. It's Downtown, and next to existing tall buildings. I would be happy to have a hotel there. It's an outside the box move and a lot would need to fall into place for HRM and the developer to come to an arrangement and, at the end of it, the developer may not be able to shift considering the work and expense he has sunk into Prince Albert/Glenwood. It's probably the only option that might have a chance that doesn't result in 16 storeys at Prince Albert/Glenwood.
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  #324  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 5:26 PM
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This is an impossible position to be in as a councillor, because so many voters want things for their neighbourhoods that don't scale up to the city level and therefore are bad planning practices. And the developers are stuck too because land values are based on crap shoot dynamics created by the planning regime in most of the city.

The solution for the future is to implement something like HRM by Design or the Centre Plan and replace the broken quasi-court-style political process with objective check boxes.
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  #325  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 5:29 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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Originally Posted by spaustin View Post
I'm asking for an information report on Tuesday that looks at all our options. There is enough community concern that it warrants a detailed look at what HRM can and can't do. I expect they'll be no planning grounds (it's as-of-right and a building permit has been issued), and I expect that there will be no interest in acquiring the property due to high cost. People deserve that explanation though since that's what everyone is asking.

The only realistic long shot would be some sort of swap. HRM, for example, owns the property at the corner of Ochterloney and Alderney which HRM staff consider surplus. It's about the same size as the portion of Prince Albert/Glenwood that a hotel could be built on. It's Downtown, and next to existing tall buildings. I would be happy to have a hotel there. It's an outside the box move and a lot would need to fall into place for HRM and the developer to come to an arrangement and, at the end of it, the developer may not be able to shift considering the work and expense he has sunk into Prince Albert/Glenwood. It's probably the only option that might have a chance that doesn't result in 16 storeys at Prince Albert/Glenwood.
What kind of guarantee are you going to give them on the other site? Isn't it madness that there was an appeal on the approved, 8 story building. Is this correct, factually?

The Craigmore is a 16 story building that seemed to have little to no impact on the area. I've just been in a few cities with world class rowing and other similar facilities with 40 plus story towers in very close proximity. This type of discussion makes Halifax look like an absolute joke.
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  #326  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 5:33 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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This is an impossible position to be in as a councillor, because so many voters want things for their neighbourhoods that don't scale up to the city level and therefore are bad planning practices.
Totally... but their decision shouldn't be based on re-election. Also the second isn't just "bad planning", it's not planning at all. As of Right should be respected.
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  #327  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 6:34 PM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Originally Posted by spaustin View Post

The only realistic long shot would be some sort of swap. HRM, for example, owns the property at the corner of Ochterloney and Alderney which HRM staff consider surplus. It's about the same size as the portion of Prince Albert/Glenwood that a hotel could be built on. It's Downtown, and next to existing tall buildings. I would be happy to have a hotel there. It's an outside the box move and a lot would need to fall into place for HRM and the developer to come to an arrangement and, at the end of it, the developer may not be able to shift considering the work and expense he has sunk into Prince Albert/Glenwood. It's probably the only option that might have a chance that doesn't result in 16 storeys at Prince Albert/Glenwood.
The public has been led to believe that site is where a future HRM museum/archive will be built. And who wants a hotel adjacent to a railway line ? Gloria had the chance to convince council to expropriate the Prince Albert site and claim that it was part of a scheme to alter the intersection. HRM would have been on the hook for the assessed value in 2011 of $459,000. And then some time later HRM could decide not to change the intersection and rezone the property for a 10 storey condo development and sell it back to Monaco or some other developer.
Expropriation is the best tool in the box, without it a council has no bargaining power in cases such as this.
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  #328  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2019, 6:52 PM
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I suspect the business case for a DT Dartmouth hotel of that size would be non-existent.
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  #329  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2019, 8:02 PM
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Looks like Austin's tantrum and threats against the long-suffering developer amounted to nothing:

https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2019...l-project.html

Quote:
HALIFAX—There’s nothing the city can do to stop a controversial 16-storey hotel development in Dartmouth.

That’s the finding of a staff report requested by Halifax regional council in a last-ditch effort to see whether the municipality had any recourse to shut down the project at the corner of Prince Albert Rd. and Glenwood Ave.

The area community council approved an eight-storey residential development for the site after a raucous public hearing last September, but the developer, Monaco Investments Partnership, decided to exercise its right to build a 16-storey hotel.

Dartmouth’s land-use bylaws require a long process to approve any residential development larger than three units, but a commercial development like a hotel or office building can proceed as-of-right — meaning no special council approval is required as long as it meets the requirements.

The staff report from Steven Higgins, manager of current planning, went to regional council last week as an information report, so it wasn’t up for debate or a vote.

In the staff report, Higgins looked at bylaw requirements, purchase or expropriation and the potential for a “land swap” with the developer, where the municipality would trade land elsewhere for the site on Prince Albert Rd.

The report said purchasing the site would require a “municipal purpose,” in this case “the prevention of a development,” which, it noted, was not a valid reason to spend public money.

Austin argued the purpose would be “defending our planning process that we’ve just undertaken,” but he understands the municipality can’t “give up the farm” to stop the project.

“To buy out a 16-storey hotel development, the cost would be extreme, so I didn’t think that was going to work,” he said.

Given that HRM is seemingly made of money these days I'm surprised he isn't still arguing for this. But I'm glad he has admitted defeat.
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  #330  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2019, 6:12 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
Looks like Austin's tantrum and threats against the long-suffering developer amounted to nothing:

https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2019...l-project.html




Given that HRM is seemingly made of money these days I'm surprised he isn't still arguing for this. But I'm glad he has admitted defeat.
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The report said purchasing the site would require a “municipal purpose,” in this case “the prevention of a development,” which, it noted, was not a valid reason to spend public money.
Touché...
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  #331  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2019, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Touché...
HRM could have expropriated for road re-alignment after having prepared detailed drawings and rough cost calculations for a safer intersection based on the premise of future traffic growth and then sat back for the court case.
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  #332  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
HRM could have expropriated for road re-alignment after having prepared detailed drawings and rough cost calculations for a safer intersection based on the premise of future traffic growth and then sat back for the court case.
That would have been tough since Austin is already on record as saying that Prince Albert Rd is far too wide there so he wants to narrow it to make room for you-know-whats, grassy areas and "safer streets for all".
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  #333  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 2:40 PM
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HRM could have expropriated for road re-alignment after having prepared detailed drawings and rough cost calculations for a safer intersection based on the premise of future traffic growth and then sat back for the court case.
My colleagues would have, rightfully, not supported such a blatant ruse that would have potentially opened HRM to all sorts of damages.

About the only thing that I can think of that could have stopped this would have been to have eliminated the commercial zoning's lack of height limits for hotels when the market would have been unlikely to have supported a hotel and when the developer wasn't prepared to rush out and get a permit. Right after the URB upheld Council's decision not to hold a public hearing after the first residential proposal was made in 2012 would have been the time to strike and I know there was discussion about it behind the scenes. It would have been an all or nothing gamble though since it would have pushed the developers to try and make a hotel work to defend the only certain thing that they could build. I get why my predecessor didn't go that route as I made the same calculation.

Since the project is coming regardless, I just hope at this point that it's a quality operation. My Council summary on it

http://www.samaustin.ca/council-upda...eart-and-more/
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  #334  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 2:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Thanks for your input, Sam. Muchly appreciated.

I am curious, though, as to what was the issue with the original non-hotel design - other than the fact that the neighbors didn't like it. I fail to see how the height of any building in that area would be an issue, especially in light of the nearby natural topography - this is a very hilly area, and I can't see how a tall building would ever create any issues in this location. It's also close to a major traffic interchange that's already set up to move more vehicles than it currently sees, so traffic can't be an issue.

Without going back and reviewing all the information in this thread, was there a solid, data-related reason for this not being a good location for this building? I am not in the planning/development industry, so as a layman (and HRM citizen), I'm wondering why so much of the city's resources have been used to fight this development, only to end up with a taller building than originally proposed. It makes little sense to me, other than to appease the desires of nearby residents.
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  #335  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 5:28 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Without going back and reviewing all the information in this thread, was there a solid, data-related reason for this not being a good location for this building? I am not in the planning/development industry, so as a layman (and HRM citizen), I'm wondering why so much of the city's resources have been used to fight this development, only to end up with a taller building than originally proposed. It makes little sense to me, other than to appease the desires of nearby residents.
It is the same for any development over 3 storeys in height in this town - tall-building phobia. Your question really should be much broader and not site specific. Why does the much-vaunted Centre Plan limit height so stringently? Why has virtually every development agreement hearing bogged down into a parade of citizens decrying the proposals by saying "It's TOO TALL!!" and "We're not Toronto!!"? Why has so much tax money and staff time been spent over the years sawing off development proposals generally, not just the previous ones proposed for this site which went through an absurd process of proposal/counter proposal for years over a couple of floors that once built, nobody would have even noticed. It is unchecked planning theory run amok, fuelled in part by many militant urban planners in an oversized and poorly managed HRM Planning Dept..
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  #336  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by spaustin View Post
My colleagues would have, rightfully, not supported such a blatant ruse that would have potentially opened HRM to all sorts of damages.
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The impending high rise developments on Prince Albert across from Supertsore have been on the books for many years prior to 2012 and we all know there will be a significant increase in traffic and then there will be more calls for lights at the intersection and then staff will redesign the intersection.
I know some of the people who own vacant lands in that area and they know from talking to planners that there will be a need for changes in how the intersection is aligned.
Expropriation for fair value was possible all those years ago and any court action by the developer would have failed - as they usually do. The King Street lot was expropriated over 41 years ago for redevelopment, and there were no plans or technical drawings at the time of expropriation,and remains unwanted except as a parking lot.

Last edited by Colin May; Aug 8, 2019 at 11:13 PM.
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  #337  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2019, 7:18 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
It is the same for any development over 3 storeys in height in this town - tall-building phobia. Your question really should be much broader and not site specific. Why does the much-vaunted Centre Plan limit height so stringently? Why has virtually every development agreement hearing bogged down into a parade of citizens decrying the proposals by saying "It's TOO TALL!!" and "We're not Toronto!!"? Why has so much tax money and staff time been spent over the years sawing off development proposals generally, not just the previous ones proposed for this site which went through an absurd process of proposal/counter proposal for years over a couple of floors that once built, nobody would have even noticed. It is unchecked planning theory run amok, fuelled in part by many militant urban planners in an oversized and poorly managed HRM Planning Dept..
Actually, no. I wanted to discuss this particular development. There is another thread in which to discuss the Centre Plan if I wanted to do that.
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  #338  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 2:16 AM
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The crane went up for this one today. It does not look 16 storeys tall.
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  #339  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 2:30 AM
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The crane went up for this one today. It does not look 16 storeys tall.
I am not sure about this particular case but cranes are often raised as construction projects progress.
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  #340  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Actually, no. I wanted to discuss this particular development. There is another thread in which to discuss the Centre Plan if I wanted to do that.
You cannot talk about a patient's illness without understanding the disease. This is not about the Centre Plan which is just another victim of that same contagious disease.
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