Wellington Street

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 An 8 story 101 unit apartment building has been proposed by Banc Development for Wellington Street,  North of Peter Green Hall.  

In June, 2017, Staff recommended and Council agreed to allow 14 of 22 development applications to proceed through the standard approval process as they were more in line with the proposed guidelines of the Centre Plan.  This Banc application at 11 storeys was not one of them.  Staff had concerns regarding height and mass. 

Subsequently, Banc Investments  was asked to make a "reasonable" adjustment to the original plan that would bring it more in line with the Centre Plan framework before the proposal would be permitted to move forward to a public process. As a result, the building height was adjusted to 8 stories with modest changes through a podium design and articulation to visually reduce the massing.   

It should be noted that Park to Park did not oppose the movement to the public process for the 14  proposals nor Banc’s, anticipating more sensitive amendments to his plan. We recognize that in our support of the Centre Plan we have supported increased density in our area, with mid-rise development (4-6 stories) provided the context was sensitive to the surroundings and scaled appropriately and improved or maintained the livability of our street. 

A Public Information meeting was held at the Westin on April 19 , Park to Park members outlined their concerns about the building though our oral presentations as well as presenting the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC ) members with a full written submission and our new Park to Park brochure.  A special thanks to Mary Lou Rossiter for designing and printing. 

Our comments covered elements under site context , building design, human scale including GFAR, transition to lower buildings to the North, pedestrian  orientation , parking and traffic , and timing of construction ...given that if approved this year , we would have two full scale developments on our small two block street.  If you wish to see the submission let us know. 

We believe that careful balance must be struck between adding density to existing communities and not disturbing the elements of the community which make it livable and desirable for residents.  This proposal appears overly aggressive in achieving density at the expense of livability of residents and pedestrians. Among other things Park to Park recommended that the height and mass be reduced to comply more specifically with the proposed guidelines of the Centre Plan.

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Construction of Phase 1

 The Gorsebrook Park Condo Development


Construction is well underway for Phase 1 and sales for Phase 2 were initiated in September with Phase 1 to be completed in 2019 and Phase 2 in 2020.  Strong sales mean that construction will be over sooner than later.  

Aside from the usual disruptions that major construction causes with regard to noise , parking and traffic Urban Capital  and Marco Constriction have proven themselves to be considerate of the residential nature of the street. The fact they havenot worked, evenings, Sundays or Statutory holidays and have been responsive to complaints has been appreciated by the neighbourhood.  This hopefully sets a precedent for other developments in residential neighbourhoods. 

As disruptive as the construction is we were lucky to have ended up with a developer willing to see communication and cooperation as priorities and will hopefully continue to be a good neighbour for the duration of the project.   
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The Four Properties

Current  Status of the Wellington Street Site

(formerly the Dino Capital site)


In March 2016, the Park to Park Community Association Board was made aware of an impending sale of the Dino Capital property to a Toronto developer.   We had the opportunity to meet with the new owner, David Wex of Urban Capital, Toronto in April, 2016 to discuss the transition. The Board was encouraged that the new owner was interested in meeting with us to share his ideas for the design and to hear our suggestions.


While we are disappointed in the overall process that brought us to this point (Council approval for 10 stories & 140,000 sq. ft. – see the full development chronology below), we saw the ownership transition as having many positive aspects. First and foremost the construction of high end condos and a new design highlighting the lovely Gorsebrook Park location.

On September 8, 2016 Community Council approved the Development Agreement for Gorsebrook Park condominium residence.  Park to Park members supported that approval while making it clear to Council that the Public process  remains flawed. 

Park to Park will continue to monitor the development to ensure construction guidelines and mitigation are followed and the Development Agreement is implemented as intended.  

For the full chronology of the development of the Wellington Street site, formerly known as the Dino Capital Site, see below.

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The Development Chronology


Case 18565:
In 2012, Dino Capital Ltd. received development permits for four properties located at 1034, 1042, 1050 and 1056 Wellington Street. (See map below) In early 2013, Dino Capital applied to amend the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Use By-law (LUB) with a Public Information meeting (PIM) hosted by the Planning Advisory Council (PAC), held November 13 (Case 18565). It was attended by over 100 people who presented a 377 signature petition against the development. Subsequently, Community Council voted to have the case go to a public hearing.

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The South end area, the bubble indicates where the Dino Capital development is proposed.

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Case 19326:

A little used rescind motion later adopted by Council cancelled the public meeting but the initiation to amend the MPS policy remained in effect.  Park to Park members submitted many letters protesting this move by Council but our protest was ignored.  A new application (Case 19326) was submitted by Dino Capital Ltd. for a multi-unit residential building of 8 and 10 story towers. 

 

Another public information meeting was held on September 3, 2014 at St Mary's Boat Club attended by over 100+ residents. Another petition, containing over 1000 signatures, was submitted endorsing appropriate development of not more than 55 ft. in height rather than the high rise development proposed.  The PAC at their September 22 meeting totally rejected the application and recommended the development not proceed. HRM Planning Staff also strongly recommended against this application to Community Council.

 

Community Council then voted (4 to 2, Councillors Mason and Watts opposed) to move the application to a public hearing before Regional Council on December 9th, 2014.  Again, this hearing was was attended by 100+ residents with over 45 speaking against the application.  The hearing ended at 11pm, and the decision was deferred to a January 13, 2015 HRM Regional Council meeting. No discussion of the matter with Council was permitted between meeting dates.   At the January meeting, after much debate, the application was approved by a vote of 9-6: A majority vote of the full Council not just those present was required so we lost by one vote.

 

The final motion as voted on by Council:

 

"MOVED by Councillor Mason, seconded by Councillor Whitman that Halifax Regional Council adopt the proposed amendments to the Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and the Halifax Peninsula Land Use By-law (LUB), as contained in Attachments A, as amended, and Attachment B of the September 26, 2014 staff report; and that Council shall consider an application pursuant to this amendment to the MPS which shall be consistent with applicable portions of the Halifax Downtown Design Guidelines, more specifically, sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3."

 

In a final attempt to stop the Council decision from becoming law an initiative to lobby for a two thirds majority vote requirement on important matters such as MPS amendments was undertaken with the province, subsequent to the decision but before final sign off by  the Province required before the Council decision became law. The Province refused to consider such a motion.  Later attempts to have Council initiate a Charter amendment to that effect were also rejected.

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Case 19987:

 

With the passing of this motion we achieved a reduction in the square footage of the building from 191,000 sq. ft. to 141,000 sq. ft. and the requirement to follow the Downtown Design Guidelines.  This latter point required Dino Capital ltd. to submit a new plan (Case 19987) which then triggered the following schedule:

 

1.     Internal Review of plan changes from HRM departments

2.     A public information meeting (September 16, 2015)

3.     Public Meeting chaired by the PAC (January 25, 2016 and April 29, 2016  at which time they provided recommendations to the Community Council

 

For the January meeting of the PAC, Park to Park submitted a lengthy letter outlining our major concerns: policy, phasing, design, the park, density Bonus-ing and other miscellaneous items.   The PAC supported our position and made a long list of 13 recommendations they then provided to Community Council.

 

Notice of Motion at Community Council to consider the proposed Development Agreement (August 3, 2016)

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