A proposed eight-storey apartment building along the Bedford Highway with 18 affordable housing units is a step closer to being built.
The area around 205 Bedford Highway, located at the bottom of Flamingo Drive near an intersection, is only zoned for up to five storeys. But Tuesday night, Halifax regional council voted unanimously in favour of making changes to allow the extra height — three floors — in exchange for affordable housing.
"This is the first affordable housing off the peninsula that's being put in by density bonusing to even be allowed so ... to me this is setting a landmark decision," said Coun.Russell Walker.
"I do hope that this will be the first of many — to follow up on Coun. Walker — affordable housing projects off the peninsula in addition to ones that are on the peninsula," Coun. Tim Outhit, who grew up in the area, said ahead of the vote.
The proposed 26-metre tall, 55-unit building would be mixed-use, with commercial space on the main floor and residential space above.
For the 18 affordable housing units, there would be two two-bedroom units and 16 one-bedroom units. They would be rented out at a 30 per cent discount to comparable units for at least 15 years.
There is currently an apartment building at 205 Bedford Highway that has been used for housing since the 1950s.
Nick Stappas's family has owned it since the 1990s. He said offering affordable housing in the new building he wants to build would be a way of giving back to the community.
"I appreciate the need for affordable housing and my folks could have also benefited from this kind of support as new immigrants many years ago," Stappas said.
There was a lot of support for the proposal, with several members of the public talking about the need for more affordable places. Nicole Mosher, a resident of Clayton Park, told council there isn't a lot of choice.
"As a voter, I can assure you that I want this and as someone who would jump at the chance to be a resident of such a building, I can assure you that I want this," Mosher said.
Other supporters noted the building is in a good location that's close to public transit and amenities.
Municipal staff had some concerns about the development.
In its report for council, staff noted "the proposal to permit additional residential density at 205 Bedford Highway is not supported by good planning principles."
Staff listed the proximity to an industrial rail yard and to a busy intersection at Bedford Highway and Flamingo Drive as reasons.
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