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Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 12:40 PM
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planarchy planarchy is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
All that aside, the Heritage Trust won't be able to make these appeals once the Centre Plan comes into effect.
Yes they likely will still be able to appeal. As drafted, a project like this would only be approvable through a heritage development agreement under the Centre Plan. Development Agreements are always appealable to the NSUARB
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Old Posted Aug 23, 2019, 2:42 PM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Heritage Trust spoke out on the Lotus Point development on Ochterloney and the proposed change to the adjacent registered heritage property. HRM planning staff ignored the correspondence from HT for a long time until the day of the public hearing when HT hired a lawyer who wrote to HRM. As a result of the legal action the the planner Mitch Dickey told the November 14 2013 meeting of the Harbour East Community Council " The revised staff recommendation also clarifies that no development is to take place on the lands unless Council approves the deregistration of the rear portion of 99 Ochterloney Street, which is intended to be subdivided and consolidated with the rest of the subject lands "
Until that date staff had ignored HT correspondence and intended to proceed in a manner which did not comply with the bylaw.

When the meeting was opened to public comment on the application the lawyer for HT spoke first and said
" Ms. Kelsey McLaren, lawyer with Pink Larkin, representing the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, commented on a letter sent on behalf of her client to Community Councilearlier in the day. Her client is asking that Community Council defer decision on thismatter for staff to review and analyze Municipal Planning Strategy policy CH-1. Ms. McLaren indicated that policy CH-1 applies when considering any development agreement application in connection with any municipally registered heritage property, and in particular “a lot in which a municipally registered heritage building is situated”.
Ms. McLaren emphasized this point, and noted that the staff presentation indicated that policy CH-1 primarily applies to a redevelopment of heritage buildings. She noted that the staff report reviews policy CH-2, which applies to lands abutting municipally
registered heritage structures. Ms. McLaren indicated that their client submits that HRM staff are pre-determining this issue as analysis with CH-2 pre-supposes that part of the property from the municipally registered heritage property will be subdivided and deregistered. She noted that the proposed development agreement includes 99 Ochterloney Street, which is the municipally registered heritage property, although neither subdivision or deregistration has taken place, which would require a public hearing following By-law H-200. Ms. McLaren commented that policy CH-1 should be analyzed clause by clause in relation to the proposed development agreement, the same way that policy CH-2 was for the purposes of public fairness. She noted that it is not a forgone conclusion that the deregistration and subdivision will take place, and this condition is not included in the proposed development agreement. "

After the public meeting and at the end of the meeting when the public are allowed to speak on any matter the Phil Pacey spoke :
" Mr. Phil Pacey, Chair of HRM Committee, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, advised that the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is a volunteer non-profit organization. Mr. Pacey commented that the Trust feels that heritage buildings are important to the community.
He advised that the Trust is involved in the community through holding monthly lectures, have published books about Nova Scotian heritage, have a grant program and offer assistance to heritage property owners, and publish a quarterly newsletter about heritage in the province.
Mr. Pacey noted that the Trust is also involved in the community through writing briefs to HRM Council and Committees, assisting in the improving heritage policies and policy in general.
Mr. Pacey advised that the Trust intervened in the public hearing this evening (Case 17863) because they felt that HRM policy was not being followed and was not being taken into account in a staff report. He noted that as was indicated earlier by the lawyer for the Heritage Trust and the HRM Solicitor, policy CH-1 should be part of the consideration and is relevant with regard to Case 17863.
Mr. Pacey commented that the Trust have not tried to delay the process in any way, they were ensuring that the correct policy was considered and the public had the correct information.
He reviewed the timeline of the Trust’s involvement in Case17863, noting that they wrote a letter to the Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC) on August 27, 2013 pointing out the omission of policy CH-1 and asking for a new staff report.
Mr. Pacey indicated that staff argued against that at the HAC meeting of August 28, 2013. He noted that a supplementary staff report to Community Council for Case 17863 was brought forward as an added item at the October 3, 2013 Community Council meeting in Ship Harbour, and they only became aware of it last week.
Mr. Pacey indicated that the supplementary staff report asserted that policy CH-2 was the correct policy, and when the Trust became aware of the report, they immediately contacted HRM staff and legal department pointing out the error. He noted that the Trust spent money to hire a lawyer and the earliest that correspondence from the Trust’s lawyer could be sent to Community Council was this morning.
Mr. Pacey suggested that the revised staff recommendation approved by Community Council was brought forward by staff in response to the correspondence. He hopes that Community Council realizes that this error was corrected because of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. "
To sum up : HRM planning staff were quite willing to mislead the community council until they were informed that there would be legal action to ensure the planning rules were complied with and that any delay to the project and any increase in costs were the sole responsibility of HRM planning staff.


At the time I did not know that certain members of the planning staff were in receipt of cash bonuses which have never been disclosed to taxpayers. I'll have more to say on bonuses to planning staff on August 27 after 9 a.m.

Last edited by Colin May; Aug 23, 2019 at 2:53 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 3:14 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Fascinating post, Colin. I was unaware of all that went on behind the scenes with this project.

I am interested on what you will have to say in tomorrow's installment.
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Old Posted Jun 8, 2020, 6:51 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Well, it looks like this has surpassed at least one of the hurdles the HT has put in front of it, as the UARB dismissed their appeal of this project decision. I will quote the article in toto below b/c it is paywalled, and there are some interesting quotes. To refresh readers memories, the approval by HRM was for a revised proposal of a dizzying 8 storeys.


Heritage advocates say the historic flavour of a north-end Brunswick Street block could change drastically if a developer goes ahead with plans to build a nine-storey addition onto a 130-year-old brick building.

On June 1, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board dismissed an appeal by the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia to block this particular development of the former St. Patrick’s Rectory at 2267 Brunswick St., between Cornwallis and Gerrish streets. The appeal was based on the grounds that it didn’t meet the requirements of Halifax’s municipal planning strategy.

Owned by Brunswick Street Developments, the Victorian Gothic Revival building next to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was sold by the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. in 2015 to raise funds for the church’s renovations. While the church is a registered heritage property, the former rectory — a three-storey structure that now contains apartment units — is considered a heritage building but not a registered heritage property.

Heritage Trust president Andrew Murphy argues that Brunswick Street Developments’ proposed addition designed by Studioworks International Inc. — originally intended to be as high as 13 storeys — was approved by Halifax and West Community Council based on the height of the neighbouring church and its towering steeple.

In the hearing held in March, the trust’s lawyer, David Donnelly, argued that the municipal planning strategy required that developments should be similar to surrounding heritage residential buildings, which are two to three storeys tall, or at most the church roofline, which is roughly five to six storeys high.

“Donnelly gets the planner who wrote the report which the council saw to admit under oath that he was wrong,” says Murphy, referring to the March hearing.

“He admitted that the building had to be similar and goes through what similar means, which nine out of 10 people at the bus stop could tell you.

“Then under cross-examination, he gets him to agree that what was approved isn’t similar and was totally in contravention of the bylaw. . . . But in the decision, there’s no reference to the fact that he did that.”

In the 80-page decision handed down last week, the board ruled that the council’s decision to approve the development met the policies contained in the Peninsula North Secondary Planning Strategy and the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy that address heritage resources and concerns that arise when developments abut registered heritage properties.

For the trust, considering the height of the addition to the former rectory solely in comparison to the church and not nearby residences like Heustis House, the two-storey registered heritage property next door, does not meet the requirements of the city’s heritage bylaws.

But Murphy says the Heritage Trust isn’t against the idea of further development of the Brunswick Street property, just one that would tower over its neighbours to the north. He considers the proposed addition “a fine building,” just not one that suits the environment for which it’s intended.

“We like a lot of the new development that’s going on in Halifax, and we want to build a modern, new city that still respects the heritage side,” says Murphy.

“But there’s also a business case for keeping heritage districts intact. That Brunswick Street stretch, even though a lot of people take it for granted, is a unique area of the world. It has the Round Church that Queen Victoria’s father commissioned, it’s got Sir Sandford Fleming’s house and Sir John Thompson’s house, so there are a lot of reasons to keep it around.

“Foot-for-foot, it’s probably the most historic heritage district in Canada in terms of what happens there.”

Murphy argues that the trust isn’t against the idea of an addition per se, pointing out Huestis House has a recent rear addition in keeping with the nature of the building and the flavour of the neighbourhood.

What does concern him is the “thin edge of the wedge” effect that putting an eight- or nine-storey structure in place next to St. Patrick’s Church will have on future developments in the area.

“We think if this goes ahead, all the developers are going to say, ‘Well, I know this is supposed to be four storeys, but what was supposed to be three became nine, so why can’t I add another six?’” says Murphy.

Ultimately, he says, the trust feels that the legal test is whether or not approving the development was a reasonable interpretation of the municipal planning strategy. Even with the leeway that it grants in terms of design and architectural choices, he says the trust could still prove that given the bylaws, council could not approve the proposal as it stands.

“At the end of the day, what we want council to start doing, if they don’t want to follow the laws, is to debate the law and vote it out in a democratic fashion. We don’t want them to ignore the law.”
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