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Proposed changes for apartment tower near Lake Banook

The developer of an apartment tower on the corner of Prince Albert Rd. and Bartlin Rd. in Dartmouth has announced they intend to make some changes to the building's plan
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An architect rendering of the old proposed apartment complex (left) versus the new proposed towers (right). (Twin Lakes Development)

The developer of an apartment tower on the corner of Prince Albert Rd. and Bartlin Rd. in Dartmouth has announced they intend to make some changes to the building's plan.

In 2006, Twin Lakes Development got approval to construct a 12-storey apartment tower, with 84 units.

"This location, the Graham's Grove area, we've identified as a good spot to accommodate some more growth," says Sam Austin, HRM councillor for District 5 Dartmouth Centre.

But after acquiring an additional property at 327 Prince Albert Rd, they now plan to build a 16-storey building with two towers, totalling 175 units.

"The Centre Plan envisions a 6-storey height limit, so this is a fair bit bigger than that," says Austin. "But this is coming in under the current rules, the Centre Plan is not quite law of the land yet."

But Twin Lakes has committed that at least 20 per cent of the building will be affordable housing. It will have one, two and three-bedroom units, and the proposal also says there will be three levels of underground parking, and commercial space on the ground floor.

The site is just two blocks away from another controversial development project -- a 13-storey hotel.

"The commercial zoning in Dartmouth, you can have a hotel and here is no height limit," says Austin, who has been outspoken against the hotel at the corner of Prince Albert and Glenwood Rd.

The hotel comes in under as-of-right legislation. 

"That's mainly because our zoning dates to 1978," Austin explains. "I don't think anyone ever contemplated in 1978 that Dartmouth would be building a 16-storey hotel. And it's come back to bite us now."

But Austin isn't against the apartment towers like he is the hotel.

"It's in the core, it's near existing services. The question just becomes well, is the form too much or not?" he tells NEWS 95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show.

Because the change to the development proposal is significant, Austin says will undergo a whole new approval process.

"This sort of amendment is considered a substantial amendment," he says. "There'll be a public information meeting and then staff and developer will negotiate, and then there'll be a public hearing at the end if they get to a yes recommendation."

Austin thinks the process will take at least a year to run through., and the councillor says he doesn't want to take a hard stance on the building before he hears from his residents.

"I don't really have a position yet, because in my job you have to weigh all the information, and I don't have it all yet," he says. "We're really early yet. So far I don't think I've gotten a single email on it."

If the changes are approved, Austin says there is a trade-off. The building will be taller and take up more ground, but it will leave room for a green space at the top of the hill, near Alderney Elementary School.

"The key is how we balance all of this," he says. "Cause whatever is built is going to be with us for -- at least-- decades. That's a pretty long term legacy, so you want to make sure you get it right."




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Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as HalifaxToday.ca's weekend editor.
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