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A city planner is reassuring residents of a Halifax neighbourhood worried about a proposal that would allow more rental units to be installed that their concerns will be heard.
Dean MacDougall, with the Halifax planning department, said the proposal to amend the land-use bylaw for the area bounded by Chebucto Road in the north, Flinn Park to the south, Roosevelt Drive to the west and MacDonald Street to the East is still in the early stages.
The amendment would allow applications for internal conversions that would increase the number of rental units in a given building if there was enough space.
There is a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Halifax Forum’s Maritime Hall.
MacDougall said the framework for the proposal is not built yet.
“I’m still doing my analysis (and) going to the public with this information and hearing what they would like to see,” he said in a recent interview.
“The meeting on Wednesday is really just me presenting to them what an internal conversion clause is, the definition, what it looks like elsewhere in the city and for the parameters around how it can be activated.”
In such a case, the age of the building is the major regulation involved, he said.
“It’s not for new construction, it’s for retaining the existing stock of building and allowing for stock densification by converting internally to allow for additional units, whether that’s two, three, four, five or six, I don’t know. And what are the triggers to allow six, we don’t know that quite yet. We’re still doing the analysis to figure out what would suit the neighbourhood, if anything.”
The area is made up of primarily residential dwellings with a mix of some stand-alone, single-unit homes and some small apartment buildings.
What restrictions will be set on any internal conversion for the neighbourhood are not determined yet either.
“There aren’t any regulations put forth,” MacDougall said. “We don’t know what it’s going to look like just yet, all we have is that overarching regulation in the motion from council saying go to a staff report, make your recommendation for a possibility of internal conversion of up to six units. That’s all we have to work with right now.”
He said the process will take shape over time with planners developing some regulations and then ultimately get more feedback from the public and bring that information before council.
“This is really step two of maybe eight, so to speak,” he said, adding that he’s researched internal conversions allowed in the north and south ends of the city.
Residents will still input, “One hundred per cent, yeah,” MacDougall said.
“That meeting is just sort of a formal way of doing it but I’ve been conversing with residents currently and I will continue afterwards. It’s not like they can’t collect comments after this meeting, it’s just sort of a formal way for them to voice their opinion on record.
“I’m definitely receiving all comments. I’m available for conversation. You can call me, email me, or meet with me, I’m definitely available. I’m not blocking anybody out.”