Increased traffic in a neighbourhood already teeming with vehicles was the main concern raised during a public hearing held Monday night for a proposed development project in Rothesay.
During the hearing, three residents stood up to express their concerns about what the four-storey, 48-unit apartment building could mean for traffic. If approved, the building would have 38 parking spots underground and 24 spaces on the street level.
"It's an excellent project, the building itself, all of that is top-notch, (but) it's traffic," said John Barry, who lives at Chapel Hill Estates, referring to the intersection of Marr and Chapel roads. "(Traffic) is a concern right now ... traffic lights have to be put in there. The entrance to the intersection needs to be expanded. It's a dangerous intersection."
Barry isn't the first citizen to raise the issue. In July, resident Eric Marr wrote a letter to the town outlining his concerns about the dangers of crossing Marr Road. He said there are no marked crossings and vehicles often exceed the 50 kilometres per hour limit.
At Monday's meeting, business owner Les Gillete, who represents several businesses at Chapel Place, said the plan, which outlines a driveway that would come off his parking lot, would mean more vehicles entering an already packed space.
Gillete said the current design would make it easy for tenants to take a shortcut through the business area's parking lot, instead of the driveway designed for them.
"There are some grave concerns with that because we already have an extremely dense, high-use parking lot. We really are at over-capacity as it is," he said.
During the special meeting following the hearing, councillors echoed those concerns.
"The common theme on this development is traffic lights," said Coun. Peter Lewis. "I don't think this development has caused the problem, but at that intersection, that problem has always existed ... If we do move forward with this project, I'd like to see the town seriously look at a signal at this intersection."
Coun. Tiffany Mackay French said if the project is approved, she wants fixing the intersection to be part of the agreement, too.
"I do think there's been a problem there for years. There's a lot of traffic on Marr Road, and I think it will benefit the community on the other side as well," said French, referring to the resident's letter.
Mayor Nancy Grant said she supported the project, calling it a "good addition to the neighbourhood." She also said the volume of traffic and traffic lights at the intersection need to be addressed.
"The walkability of the project to amenities close by is a major factor. Businesses seem to be pleased. Police and fire are satisfied," she said.
On Monday night, council voted unanimously on the first reading of the bylaw, which would rezone the land from general commercial to multi-use residential.
The next steps involve a review from the planning advisory committee in September, followed by a second reading by council likely in the same month.
Robin Grant, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal