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  #101  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2016, 2:58 AM
scryer scryer is offline
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Unfortunately the tower-scare is real. Anyone have anymore insight into this?

But towers can be done right, and I bring Vancouver in as an example. Generally I find that things don't get built here unless they meet the street very meticulously. Having small retail available on the ground floor, or offices; having landscaped your surrounding sidewalk (or even widening it), and other small street-scaping techniques will help keep the city walkable. The tower is just a tower, it's really the podium design and how the tower meets the street level that really positively impacts the city/area.

And from what I can see, this proposal is doing just that! The height just equals more business and the amenities will provide jobs. It's a good looking proposal. I hope that the committees can brave it and let one tower (just shy of 100 metres) pull through just to see what happens.
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  #102  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2016, 4:01 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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For some reason, the discussion seems to move from extreme to extreme.

I was sarcastically critiquing HRM planning staff because it seems no matter what the height of a proposal-- 4, 5, 10, 30 storeys-- they tend to always have a problem with height.

To ridicule that way of thinking about planning and development isn't to also support the opposite extreme: that I, or others who criticize the city planners, for 40 towers all over the city.

Some sites are more appropriate for 30 storeys than others. This is one, as someone123 has pointed out.

I just wouldn't mind an approach to planning and development in the city, wherein a proposal's height isn't almost always a problem for staff.
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  #103  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2016, 4:06 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
One of the weird views that I hope really will go away in the future is the idea that capping building heights leads to more stable neighbourhoods and heritage preservation. Some people even think that height limits make housing more affordable; they are confusing cause and effect. Desirable neighbourhoods tend to get shiny condo towers. Developers' power to turn undesirable neighbourhoods into expensive neighbourhoods by building towers is limited. If the Toronto condo developers all decamped to Detroit they'd go bankrupt pretty quickly.

This is a prime 30 storey building site because it's on two wide streets and there's a desire to preserve the character of the side streets. There are few candidate building sites so the heights need to be taller to achieve the same population density. Hopefully the need for more population density on the peninsula is something else that more people are starting to understand. It used to be so common in Halifax for people to demand low population density and high service levels, but they're a trade-off.
Well said.
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  #104  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2016, 6:39 AM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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I don't think 40 storeys is an "extreme", it's certainly plausible, but I just meant that it isn't really a given that newer planners will want taller buildings. Things like shadow impacts actually tend to be a concern for newer planners/designers, perhaps more so than in the past (but not less).

There are subtle disadvantages that actually tend to not come up in conversation around developments here but do come up in planning literature a lot. One derives from the idea of "eyes on the street": that streets with a combination of lots of pedestrians and lots of prominent windows tend to be safer for the average pedestrian than those that have few other pedestrians and few prominent windows facing onto them. This is assuming that criminals do not want to be seen/caught.

Where towers fit in here is the level of engagement with/awareness of what is going on on the street tends to drop significantly around the fifth floor (+/-) due to the vantage point and the increased distance between the street and the "observer". Another manifestation of "levels of engagement" is that it's somewhat less convenient for someone in a 40th storey penthouse to pop over to the cafe on the street corner than it is for someone living on the second floor, which tends to be observable in practice.

This isn't a horrible thing, but there is currently a sense that, at least in this regard, four 5-storey buildings are preferable to one 40-storey building with the same number of units, especially if it is surrounded by a lot of open space or 1-2-storey buildings. This of course would be just one consideration among many, and many of the others would ultimately be more important. There are also efficiency/convenience concerns related to elevators, provision of water, emergency evacuations, and 911-type situations. Assuming that there would be underground parking, a smaller footprint usually requires a deeper parkade, which has financial and timeline implications.

None of these are necessarily reasons that towers absolutely shouldn't be built, but they are things that probably factor into decision-making at least a bit currently and probably more in the future.

Ultimately each of these factors (including the myriad not mentioned) is more/less important depending (I would argue mostly) on the site context and (less, but still significantly) on the personal biases/values/experiences of those making the decisions. In this case this tower makes sense in this location, IMO, all things considered, and again I think the merits/disadvantages of highrises need to recognize that "spreading units out more" pretty much inherently requires more land to be developed - whether this means sprawling outward, cramming buildings in closer together, or redeveloping older properties at a faster rate, or all three.
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  #105  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2016, 11:53 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
.
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This isn't a horrible thing, but there is currently a sense that, at least in this regard, four 5-storey buildings are preferable to one 40-storey building with the same number of units, especially if it is surrounded by a lot of open space or 1-2-storey buildings. This of course would be just one consideration among many, and many of the others would ultimately be more important. There are also efficiency/convenience concerns related to elevators, provision of water, emergency evacuations, and 911-type situations. Assuming that there would be underground parking, a smaller footprint usually requires a deeper parkade, which has financial and timeline implications.
.
.

Good points.

As much as I like the appearance of a 30+ storey apartment building, I wouldn't want to live that high. If I were ever to live in an apartment again, I would choose to live on the 2nd to 4th floor; but my preference would be the 2nd which is more secure than a 1st floor from break and entry but a quicker walk down the stairs to the outdoors than anything higher.
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  #106  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 1:13 PM
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stevencourchene stevencourchene is offline
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Originally Posted by fenwick16 View Post
Good points.

As much as I like the appearance of a 30+ storey apartment building, I wouldn't want to live that high. If I were ever to live in an apartment again, I would choose to live on the 2nd to 4th floor; but my preference would be the 2nd which is more secure than a 1st floor from break and entry but a quicker walk down the stairs to the outdoors than anything higher.


I don't comment often but your comment struck me and I had to write.

for those who don't like tall buildings may I suggest clayton park! this is a city and if we want to grow we need to take the steps forward to do so and this and theses developments are the only way we are ever going to grow.

we are a pretty sad excuses for a city.


we need housing/jobs/population and in the end will have the buying power that's needed in this "city"
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  #107  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 10:34 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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I don't comment often but your comment struck me and I had to write.

for those who don't like tall buildings may I suggest clayton park! this is a city and if we want to grow we need to take the steps forward to do so and this and theses developments are the only way we are ever going to grow.

we are a pretty sad excuses for a city.


we need housing/jobs/population and in the end will have the buying power that's needed in this "city"
???

I think all Fenwick said is that HE would prefer to live 2nd or 4th floor apartments. I saw nothing to suggest he doesn't think 30-story buildings should exist at all.

This *is* a city, but, no, it's not a "sad excuse" for one. The fact that we don't have what other cities 10 times our size have doesn't make us a "sad excuse."

We're an urban centre of just around 300,000 people and we're doing really well on the highrise front for a city of that size, and we're getting even better, and we should recognize and be proud of that.

I think one of the very worst things that Halifax needs to deal with is this terrible (and rather childish) inferiority complex, always putting ourselves down for not being a much larger city with all the same things that exist in much larger cities.

Last edited by portapetey; Jan 27, 2016 at 10:50 PM.
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  #108  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 11:03 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
???

I think all Fenwick said is that HE would prefer to live 2nd or 4th floor apartments. I saw nothing to suggest he doesn't think 30-story buildings should exist at all.

This *is* a city, but, no, it's not a "sad excuse" for one. The fact that we don't have what other cities 10 times our size have doesn't make us a "sad excuse."

We're an urban centre of just around 300,000 people and we're doing really well on the highrise front for a city of that size, and we're getting even better, and we should recognize and be proud of that.

I think one of the very worst things that Halifax needs to deal with is this terrible (and rather childish) inferiority complex, always putting ourselves down for not being a much larger city with all the same things that exist in much larger cities.
Thanks for clarifying my point. Yes I am in favour of highrises for those who want to live in them, but it is no longer what I want.
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  #109  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 11:31 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
???

I think all Fenwick said is that HE would prefer to live 2nd or 4th floor apartments. I saw nothing to suggest he doesn't think 30-story buildings should exist at all.

This *is* a city, but, no, it's not a "sad excuse" for one. The fact that we don't have what other cities 10 times our size have doesn't make us a "sad excuse."

We're an urban centre of just around 300,000 people and we're doing really well on the highrise front for a city of that size, and we're getting even better, and we should recognize and be proud of that.

I think one of the very worst things that Halifax needs to deal with is this terrible (and rather childish) inferiority complex, always putting ourselves down for not being a much larger city with all the same things that exist in much larger cities.
As someone pointed out on here a few weeks ago, there are few if any North American cities as small as Halifax, which come anywhere close to having as many tall buildings as we do.

And, of course, tall buildings are not the measure of a city's success or desireability. I like a good skyscraper, but I like a good four-storey streetwall a lot more.
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  #110  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2016, 1:30 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by portapetey View Post
???

I think all Fenwick said is that HE would prefer to live 2nd or 4th floor apartments. I saw nothing to suggest he doesn't think 30-story buildings should exist at all.

This *is* a city, but, no, it's not a "sad excuse" for one. The fact that we don't have what other cities 10 times our size have doesn't make us a "sad excuse."

We're an urban centre of just around 300,000 people and we're doing really well on the highrise front for a city of that size, and we're getting even better, and we should recognize and be proud of that.

I think one of the very worst things that Halifax needs to deal with is this terrible (and rather childish) inferiority complex, always putting ourselves down for not being a much larger city with all the same things that exist in much larger cities.
Pretty much agree on all points. Plus we have to consider that for a 30-storey tower to be viable, you have to have people in it who are happy to live on the lower floors in addition to those who want to live up high.
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  #111  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 2:31 AM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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I like a good skyscraper, but I like a good four-storey streetwall a lot more.
We don't have enough of those... and when we do they are build away from the street in a suburban way. You make a good point here.
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  #112  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 2:49 PM
portapetey portapetey is offline
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We don't have enough of those... and when we do they are build away from the street in a suburban way. You make a good point here.
Agreed. We have far too many strip-mall style developments behind large parking lots. It's nice to see that is starting to be addressed in at least one area - Young Street.
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  #113  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2016, 2:07 AM
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There is a staff report going before Regional Council regarding this proposal. Staff appear to be giving it thumbs up for the most part and are appreciative of the applicant updating the plan to address some of the noted issues. They are still hesitant about the height though and are suggesting it proceed through the approval process provided it is maxed out at 20 stories.

http://www.halifax.ca/council/agenda...0906ca1418.pdf
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  #114  
Old Posted Sep 7, 2016, 4:17 PM
Good Baklava Good Baklava is offline
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Council has voted not to impose a 20 storey limit on the 29 storey development

The 29 storey building will continue through HRM's planning process (thankfully)

http://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/...low-tree-tower
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  #115  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 1:10 PM
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Surprise surprise Waye Mason voted against it as per the usual.
I wish he would realize that the normal everyday constituents want these changes to happen. I I know we aren't special like some people but he's supposed to represent us all
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  #116  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 1:55 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Surprise surprise Waye Mason voted against it as per the usual.
I wish he would realize that the normal everyday constituents want these changes to happen. I I know we aren't special like some people but he's supposed to represent us all
Mason was simply voting with the staff recommendation. I think a 29-storey building is fine here, and if the discussion were about changing the zoning on a permanent basis, I'd be pro-height all the way. I think the "it doesn't fit here" arguments from anti-height types make very little sense.

But if I were on council voting on this specific project, I'd have voted in favour of the 20-storey limit as well. There is a perception, not undeserved, that council simply hands to developers any zoning exemptions they ask for. Zoning and heritage restrictions in Halifax are not particularly onerous, yet our development community (by and large) is constantly proposing projects that seek enormous exemptions. And they typically receive those exemptions, or very generous compromises.

The development industry is essentially rewriting the city's planning regime piecemeal every time a new project is announced, and it's breeding a distorted sense of reality. And watch out when a developer occasionally doesn't get his way: i.e., John Ghosn throwing a public hissy fit because the city won't let him build a swimming pool backing into the Northwest Arm, and claim that such rules are "stagnating growth". This is also why people like Louie Lawen can apply to demolish heritage buildings on Barrington Street as an opening gambit for a development proposal. There's no sense that the rules exist to be respected, they exist to be weaseled around as much as possible by playing hardball and complaining about "anti-development" attitudes when you don't get what you want.

Council needs to reign that in, rather than enable it by voting "sure, do whatever you want" every time someone decides that the rules don't apply to them.

Hopefully once the Centre Plan is done and implemented, council will find the cojones to say "NO" to developers who seek to undermine the whole thing with massive variances. Otherwise there's no point even having planners, or a land-use bylaw, or anything. Just let developers go wild.
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  #117  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 4:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Mason was simply voting with the staff recommendation. I think a 29-storey building is fine here, and if the discussion were about changing the zoning on a permanent basis, I'd be pro-height all the way. I think the "it doesn't fit here" arguments from anti-height types make very little sense.
Mason is a captive tool of staff. Being the lefty he is, he will almost always defend the actions of the bureaucracy over an individual or a private business. He needs to be tossed out this fall.

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But if I were on council voting on this specific project, I'd have voted in favour of the 20-storey limit as well. There is a perception, not undeserved, that council simply hands to developers any zoning exemptions they ask for. Zoning and heritage restrictions in Halifax are not particularly onerous, yet our development community (by and large) is constantly proposing projects that seek enormous exemptions. And they typically receive those exemptions, or very generous compromises.
These "zoning exemptions" are sought because there has been no update to zoning since the 1960s on much of the peninsula that is not covered by HRMxD. So the question of a 20-storey versus 29-storey is rather moot, since the zoning would not allow anything over 3 floors anyway. So it becomes a bit of a pi&&ing contest - why is 20 OK but 29 not OK? Is there a substantive difference? Or is it simply a planning dept trying to prove who's the boss? I suspect so. Council was right to overturn their recommendation.

The Centre Plan, when it ever comes, will hopefully not be hijacked by the anti-tall building brigade the way HRMxD was. We will need a fulsome debate on what it contains, which I fully expect will be overly restrictive.
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  #118  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 4:34 PM
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Let's hope certain people do get voted out this October..... I am so tired of the NIMBY/TOO TALL brigade. Let Halifax keep growing. If not, the young people and the immigrants we so sorely need, won't be staying here, let alone coming here at all.
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  #119  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 6:57 PM
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Let's hope certain people do get voted out this October..... I am so tired of the NIMBY/TOO TALL brigade. Let Halifax keep growing. If not, the young people and the immigrants we so sorely need, won't be staying here, let alone coming here at all.
Watts is going away thank god, but some of the candidates in her district seem just as bad - Sommerhalder is just a mini-Mason, and there are some of the usual hipster anti-capitalist types in the mix there too I believe. That's the problem with HRM, in that the city is overrun with clueless left-wingers of various sorts who are unable to get real jobs and so gravitate to politics.
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  #120  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2016, 7:02 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Let's hope certain people do get voted out this October..... I am so tired of the NIMBY/TOO TALL brigade. Let Halifax keep growing. If not, the young people and the immigrants we so sorely need, won't be staying here, let alone coming here at all.
Young people and immigrants will come and stay here if there's decent-paying work and enough other amenities (heritage being a big civic amenity that does, believe it or not, attract people).

I'm tired of the ultra-NIMBY types too, but the effect of NIMBYism on our attractiveness to young people and immigrants is undoubtedly close to zero. No one moves away because there aren't enough tall buildings, and tall buildings in and of themselves don't represent economic health and civic growth any more than sprawly subdivisions do. They represent tall buildings, nothing more.

Also, if Mason gets voted out, who's his replacement. Sue Uteck? Oy.
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