Halifax developer wants duplex setback rules eased for large housing project

·2 min read
Halifax city hall is shown. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Halifax city hall is shown. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

A Halifax developer wants to reduce the minimum space between duplexes for a large housing project it is planning in the Spryfield area.

The current rules for the Mainland South Planning Area require at least 2.4 metres from the side property lines and 3.7 metres from the closest building on neighbouring properties.

Armco Capital wants to build 938 new homes in a new subdivision off Herring Cove Road, called Green Acres.

According to the company's director of development, Marc Ouellet, people are no longer interested in a "narrow design" for duplexes. But he said under the current rules, the buildings cannot be widened on a 15.2-metre lot and using a larger lot would "affect the price."

Ouellet told CBC that Armco has applied for setbacks of 1.2 metres from the side property line and 2.4 metres from the closest building in an effort to keep the housing affordable. He added that planners recommended amending the Land Use Bylaw because it was the "quickest process."

According to an online presentation by municipal planner Meaghan Maund, "other requirements, including the minimum lot size, the amount of land the building can cover, setbacks from rear property lines will not be changing." She also said the proposal will not allow any more density.

The municipality sent out letters about the proposed changes in early April. People have until Thursday to send in their comments.

Following the public consultation, planners will write a report for the Halifax and West community council. If it agrees to continue with the process, there will be a public hearing and then a vote by the community council.

It's unclear how long it could take, but Ouellet said it could be at least a year.

Ouellet said the changes could apply to all R2 (two-family dwelling) zones in Mainland South or they could be limited to Armco's new subdivision, depending on the public feedback.