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Massive highrise moves ahead despite city staff recommendations

Click to play video: 'Massive high rise gets go ahead from council' Massive high rise gets go ahead from council
WATCH ABOVE: A 29-storey highrise is closer to becoming a reality on the Halifax common after council voted to move ahead with the developer's proposed height for a mixed-use building – Sep 7, 2016

A vote by municipal councillors to move ahead with a 29-storey highrise proposal is being met with mixed reviews.

“I’m deeply disappointed in council’s decision to move ahead with the proposed height of this building situated on the Halifax common,” said Kenna Manos, a Halifax resident who’s been actively engaged in public hearings on the development.

Manos is one of several citizens who submitted written concerns surrounding a development proposal for a location known as the Willow Tree Intersection.

The proposed 29-storey development is for a mixed use commercial and residential building located at the corner of Quinpool Rd. and Robie St.

It’s being proposed by APL Properties Ltd., an Armco Capital company.

READ MORE: New $200 million development pitched for Halifax waterfront

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“When this building first came forward to council for consideration it came at a proposed 22 storeys, and then it came back again at 28 storeys, and then it came back again at 29 storeys,” Watts said.

The development proposal remained at 29 storeys, despite strong public opposition that came forth in hearings and through written submissions to council.

“The open house a year or so ago expressed serious opposition to this building being constructed,” Manos said. “At that time the proposal was for 22 storeys and city staff had hesitation about it and expressed concern about as did as did the residents and concerned citizens who were there.”

The development doesn’t follow current zoning rules and would require amendments to the municipal planning strategy and city bylaws.

A city staff report recommended the building be limited to 20 storeys because the extra nine storeys would be too much for the area.

Council voted against that report.

Watts was one of the councillors who voted against the developer’s request for a 29-storey build.

“The reasons I heard from other councillors for the decision is No. 1, the property owner has development rights and should be able to develop the property accordingly. No. 2 is the economic viability of the project if the developer’s not allowed to have that height. Three is that we shouldn’t be concerned about height, height’s OK and that’s an appropriate place to have that height,” Watts said.

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Manos believes council’s reasoning isn’t taking public concern into enough consideration.

“It’s right across from the common, it will create huge wind and shadow problems, not to mention things like traffic, which will greatly be impacted by three parking levels for the building.”

Watts says from here staff will develop a land use bylaw for the site, it will go back to council after that and be followed by another public hearing where citizens will have the opportunity to provide comment to council again before a final decision is made.

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