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The following was provided to Halifax Regional Council on June 17th, 2014. The implications of the proposed development on us is significant.

Submission of Objection | Case 18547 & Case 18548

Applicant: Housing Trust of Nova Scotia

The Bus Stop Theatre & Walk-eh? Enterprise Ltd
2203, 2205 Gottingen Street & 2268 Maitland Street
Clare Waqué, President & Managing Director

Halifax City Council,

I respectfully request that you do not approve the Housing Trust development application as it is presented in Case 18547, building proposed for The MET site. This is an important decision that will affect my future, the Bus Stop Theatre and Gottingen street.

The Bus Stop has been a pioneer in leading renewal on Gottingen Street and it will be pushed out if we are not given the chance to develop it’s property. The Bus Stop is in the process of converting to a not for profit and preserving an opportunity to reduce the Mortgage burden would increase the long term viability of the Bus Stop operation.

I recognize Metro Housing Trust’s mission is to provide affordable housing and that they have invested a significant amount of time and effort, and greatly improved the plans. However I do not believe that due consideration has been given to the impact on surrounding properties as well as on the development of the neighbourhood.

In the case that the development is approved, I request that the proposed tower setback provided above the second storey of the MET building be increased from ten feet to seventeen-and a half feet, as that is the distance afforded to proposed units that face existing buildings. I believe this set back is required to retain the development potential of the The Bus Stop Theatre’s back lot PID 00154377.

It is my understanding that a basic principle of city planning is that proposed developments do not adversely impact their neighbours. My property is sandwiched between the two Housing Trust proposals, Case 18547 ( the MET ) and 18548 (Diamonds). I am asking Council speak up for us now because because we are not being heard.

The staff report does not reflect our voice when it reports that : “there are no concerns with the impact of the proposed high density residential use.” Concerns have been raised and are maintained in this submission. Specifically, it is reported that : “Overall, these setbacks mitigate the effects of height and maintain the development potential on the adjacent properties.” This is incorrect and maybe the result of a misunderstanding of the development potential of my adjoining property.

During the public consultation session held at the North End Library I expressed concerns about the impact the development would have on the backlot and easements with the existing condo units North of the Bus Stop Property. However, the minutes do not properly reflect an understanding that the vacant lands behind the Theatre on Maitland Street also benefit from an easement, which prohibits construction on the north neighbouring strip owned by the condo. This would permit the development of units fronting to the north – south on my lot. This would allow us to build more, smaller, and thus affordable, but quality units that would help people capable of paying 700 dollars a month be able to get mortgage and own their own home.

If the proposed tower is built 10 feet from the property line the urban form produced would be two towering concrete blank walls 10 feet apart. More likely is the fact that the inability to provide for South facing windows will lead to the lands remaining vacant, rather than being developed in a way that provides revenue for myself, my business and our city.

In submitted proposal, the shadow studies show how its height and current set back would mean the loss of sunlight on my adjoining property. I believe increasing the distance between the proposed tower and my property line would mitigate that impact. I also noted that of all the exteriors presented side of the building facing my lot looks like a parking garage and is the least advanced in design and consideration.

I am also concerned that snow load studies have not been provided to the impacted owners.

There is a significant retaining wall between the two properties and no plan is presented which explains how this will be addressed.

It is understandable but inexcusable to assume that the backlot, which is currently empty except for my garden, greenhouse and pond, is a free and public good. It is private property of value to my enterprise, and has potential to further contribute to the neighbourhood’s development, as well as my own.

We receive no public funding. The Bus Stop can’t afford to pay staff or decrease the debt it carries. If the lands I hold lose their development potential the likelihood of the project continuing to be viable decreases significantly. My vision had been to substantiate NFP coop, a process we are two years into, and have the cooperative buy the building.

The neighbourhood needs more people, I just moved into one bedroom for 450 just up the street. This project will interfere with the existing market and the area will lose the interest of small independent investors. I can afford to not get paid a fair wage because I have i high quality of life, i can see the ocean, and I live in a community.

The theatre will lose revenue due to construction sounds disrupting the theatre environment. Debris from construction will mean that i won’t be planting seeds in that soil. The Bus Stop Theatre would love to have hundreds more people living on Gottingen Street, but if we are going to live to see that day, we need you to help us protect our future.

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