opinion

Developing Dartmouth: Is Linden Lea the right place for this building?

Back in August, the Halifax Examiner ran a story on a development proposal brought forth for the property at 8 Linden Lea, Dartmouth. In it, Tim Bousquet ably conveys the charm of the existing neighbourhood. The article gives background on why the city might be considering this type of development, and raises some questions about whether it makes sense on this site. Bousquet states, ” …I have no idea what council will do with this, or what neighbours think of the proposal.” (Read the full story here.)

The proposal went to Council on August 5th, and was quickly passed. It then moved on to a Public Information Meeting on October 22 at Sportsplex, where there were about 20 community members in attendance. There were concerns voiced at the meeting, one of which was that only a very small number of neighbours were informed that the meeting was taking place.

A group called “The Friends of Linden Lea” has formed to make the public aware of the proposed development, and to present their case for why a 41-unit, 5 storey rental apartment building is not appropriate for the site.

Below are some thoughts from The Friends of Linden Lea. What do you think?

Apartments and duck pond on Linden Lea, 2014

Apartment building and duck pond on Linden Lea, 2014

Proposed new building

Proposed new building

 

 

WM Fares, on behalf of Milestone Properties, have applied for an amendment to the Secondary Planning Strategy (SPS) to have 8 Linden Lea designated an “Opportunity Site”. There are five such sites designated under the SPS, only two of which have started development. The SPS was designed for specific sites of downtown, and this is not one of those sites.

Secondary Planning Strategy (SPS) Requirements include:

  • Be in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood
  • Shall not involve wholesale demolition of existing housing stock
  • Provide substantial benefits to the neighbourhood in terms of additional open space, landscaping and urban design amenities
  • Provide adequate recreation and amenity space including play areas for children
  • The proposed building would not meet the current by-law for the neighbourhood, which limits structures to three storeys
  • The requirement for building design and development which is in keeping with the natural terrain is not in compliance

This proposed apartment building does not meet the requirements of the current zoning and will not meet the requirements of the SPS should it achieve the amendment it is looking for. Further allowances would have to be made. Some of the resident’s concerns are:

  • Potential for 90 rental residents – parking for only 49 vehicles
  • Traffic control and parking is a serious issue. There is nowhere to turn around as it is a dead-end street, leaving private driveways as the only option to turn.
  • It would quadruple the population of the street
  • It is not in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood in any way
  • WM Fares are calling it a 4 storey building, not counting the parking level. 5 stories can clearly be seen in the rendering, making this much too high and towering over all else
  • Demolishing existing building and displacing the residents, some of which have lived there for many years
  • The shaded area in the rendering is actually a two family duplex home. This building would actually sit in behind it

Milestone Properties – check out their website. They advertise this building as though it were already approved. Milestone call Linden Lea a cul-de-sac when it is actually a dead end gravel street, also occupancy is expected for the end of 2016.

This is moving a lot more quickly than we were lead to believe at the Public Information Meeting in October. We need to act NOW before it goes to the public hearing stage. It needs to be stopped at Regional Council. And it can be.

This is very concerning for all of us in HRM, even if we are not directly affected. Where will this end? Let’s not let it happen at Linden Lea. We need to put a stop to these types of amendments that serve only to financially benefit the developer and owner and alter the unique character of our neighbourhoods.

We do not oppose development that enhances and fits in with the character of this old neighbourhood and our existing bylaws, but this proposed development clearly does not. Please help in protecting and saving our beautiful community of Downtown Dartmouth. We are in this together.

All information regarding the Proposal, Secondary Planning Strategy (SPS), Traffic Study and more can be found at the Halifax Planning website.

Yes, we can stop this from happening.

Please contact the following representatives with your opinion:

Dr. Gloria McCluskey, Councillor, District 5 at gloria.mccluskey@halifax.ca

Mayor Mike Savage at mayor@halifax.ca

Hon. Mark Furey, Department of Municipal Affairs at SNSMRMIN@novascotia.ca

10 Comments

  • The ‘Friends of Linden Lea’ have a challenge ahead of them to keep their fine neighbourhood in tact. These residents require, and deserve respect for their chosen lifestyle to remain as sound and enjoyable as when they decided to make Linden Lea neighbourhood their home. There are no benefits to this neighbourhood to allow this project to manifest. The proposed plans would be marring; and significantly disturbing to the neighbourhood, therefore, they are obviously inappropriate.

    • The ‘Friends of Linden Lea’ have a challenge ahead of them to keep their fine neighbourhood in tact. These residents require, and deserve respect for their chosen lifestyle to remain as sound and enjoyable as when they decided to make Linden Lea neighbourhood their home. There are no benefits to this neighbourhood to allow this project to manifest. The proposed plans would be marring; and significantly disturbing to the neighbourhood, therefore, they are obviously inappropriate.

  • I feel that this project is too big for Linden Lea, which is really a lane, not even a street. I’m all for development, but this is too much of a footprint for this little area of only 1.2 acres. MUST WE cram every piece of concrete possible onto every piece of land?

    They are also showing the street as directly next to the pond, which concerns me. The pond is an important part of the local ecosystem that needs to be protected. Having any more cars any closer to it than it currently is will inevitably destroy it. As well, the current Linden Lea residents keep the area clean and look after the pond. I’m concerned that more people will increase pollution and threaten the pond, the ducks, and the turtles that have been seen there.

  • The NIMBYism in this city in unreal. We’re talking about a run down apartment building in DOWNTOWN Dartmouth. This isn’t some idyllic country lane in the middle of Queens County. This is the City. I’m so tired of seeing urban developments getting shot down because of the whiny bleeding heart people Like Mrs./Miss Watson.

    I have a background in planning and work in the planning field. How does someone with things on her resume like “The Coast’s theater reviewer; ; coordinator for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award” feel qualified in the least to speak on planning and development matters is incredible to me.

    we’re trying to keep people in the city core no? Then more density is key, especially in urban areas. We’re trying to grow this city not let it continue to stagnate like it has for so many years.

    • Logan, I am a journalist and a concerned, involved citizen of Dartmouth. I am not a member of The Friends of Linden Lea, but I AM reporting on something that is happening in my community.

      The article asks what people think about this development, and there are some valuable, interesting conversations being generated by it.

      Do you honestly think you have to be a certified planner to discuss planning and development?

    • Logan, why do we need to CRAM so many people into small spaces? This isn’t NIMBY-ism. This is a LANE, a dirt one at that. As well, don’t ignore the pond. It is a delicate ecosystem of its own.

      Also, I would argue Dartmouth is *not* stagnating. The proof of that is all over the city. Cole Harbour was farmer’s fields just a couple of decades ago. King’s Wharf? Does that happen in a stagnating city?

      Stop insulting the very people you want to support you “in the planning field”.

  • I happen to live near the proposed development and I am a big advocate of increasing density in the urban core. I want to see more people living, working and shopping in my neighbourhood. But denser development, like anything else, needs to be properly situated. Even big cities like Toronto focus on concentrating density in appropriate areas: generally along main corridors (what Toronto calls “the avenues”). That ensures that denser development occurs in places where it can be more easily reached by services like transit, and that it adds to existing neighbourhoods instead of taking away from them. Linden Lea is not in “Downtown” Dartmouth. It is in one of the residential neighbourhoods (Hazelhurst) that surrounds the Downtown. It is a quiet cul de sac. The pond is a great feature that makes this an oasis of peace in an otherwise busy area and one of the reasons this remains a great neighbourhood in which to raise a family. In other words, Linden Lea is totally unsuitable for a development on this scale. There are numerous opportunity sites along main corridors like Portland and Pleasant that should be given priority for re-development over Linden Lea. Density has its virtues, but urban planning should be about building communities and neigbourhoods people actually want to live in, not trying to squeeze every square inch of concrete possible into every space you can find.

  • Hi everyone, my name is Mark Bergman and I’m the owner of 8 Linden Lea. I am working with WM Fares on the proposed new building that would replace the old building. I want to say thank you to Kate for writing this article. And thank you to the residents who have shared their important perspectives. My desire is to better understand the concerns, ideas, and insights of neighbours and other residents. If we are going to invest to replace the old building, we would hope that local residents would both feel that they have been listened to and respected – and that their feedback has actually made a difference. As a result, I am looking to meet with residents to hear directly from them. If anyone is interested, I’d be delighted to connect. Please email me at mark@milestoneapartments.ca. Thanks everyone. ~Mark Bergman

    • Mark, when you talk “replacing” – that is one thing – but your proposal is much more than a “replacement”. It is an increased footprint and a much larger one, at that. This is a delicate area, particularly, the lane and the pond. Please respect that. Many thanks.