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Some residents of a Halifax neighbourhood near the Armdale roundabout are concerned about a city proposal to change land-use bylaws allowing more rental units to be created in area buildings.
The area is bounded by Chebucto Road to the north, MacDonald Street to the east, Flinn Park to the south and Roosevelt Road to the west. Homes in the area are a mix of single-unit detached dwellings and small multi-unit buildings.
The municipality has sent notices to residents regarding the proposed change. A public information meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Halifax Forum’s Maritime Hall.
Shawn Cleary, the city councillor for the area, said the suggested change relates to what’s called an internal conversion clause.
“We have those in a number of different secondary plan areas on the peninsula and what it does is if someone has a building now, if it’s a large house or a small apartment (building) and they have additional space ... you’ll be able to apply for this internal conversion, meaning you could go from, say, two units to four units or something along those lines.”
There are restrictions, including that the house must not have been renovated or expanded within an allotted time frame dating back to around the 1970s, Cleary said. He added that he thinks there are only four or five buildings that would fit the bill in the area.
“Although it affects only a small number of buildings in the area, it’s a way for us — and that’s why it’s done in other areas — to add what’s called ‘gentle density,’ so you can add a few more residents to an area without changing the nature — the character — of the area itself,” he said.
“In this case, with internal conversion, it doesn’t change anything about the neighbourhood because you’re not allowed to renovate or expand. In fact, that would disqualify you from being able to do an internal conversion.”
One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she likes the neighbourhood the way it is.
“I don’t want to see more apartments or rooming houses or whatever because I don’t want it to become a transient lifestyle with people that come and go (with) no real roots,” said the woman, who lives on Joseph Street.
She said it’s a common sentiment among her neighbours.
“It’s a very settled area and a lot of my neighbours have been in my area for their lifetimes and none of us really want to see that change,” she said.
Cleary said the restrictions involved with internal conversion applications should help allay concerns.
“You wouldn’t be able to buy something and tear it down or expand it or build on top of it and get an internal conversion. That’s not how internal conversions work. It has to be internal to the existing building, so you can’t add a floor, you can’t add an extension, you can’t add any of those things. You have to be substantially the same as it was at some past date.”