Proposed affordable housing units to be larger than originally planned

by Keith Corcoran

Units inside a residential complex slated to be built off Victoria Road in Bridgewater will be bigger than originally planned, with town council green-lighting amendments to a previously-authorized development agreement.

The three-storey, 30-unit affordable housing development at 144 Victoria Road, which is targeted at the seniors' market, saw its site and landscaping plan, along with elevation renderings, changed to accommodate the size increase.

"Increased unit sizes would result in an increase in the building footprint, a reduction in the roof height, changes in the shape of the roof, slight landscaping changes, and separate changes to the exterior building colours," according to a report to civic politicians prepared by planner Mackenzie Childs.

"The applicant has been negotiating with the Province of Nova Scotia regarding the building design. Consequently, the applicant is proposing a 15 per cent increase in building width." In order to accommodate the spike in size, "a change in the roof shape (pitch and orientation) and reduction in its overall height is required. Changes to the colour of the exterior cladding are also proposed," Childs's report explained.

Civic politicians approved the development deal with Bedford-based Front Line Properties and a Queens County numbered company last year.

The planning and land-use rule changes impacted properties near the corner of Victoria Road and York Street on the west side of town. The regulatory changes and development contract cleared the way for building on the vacant land, which is less than a hectare and has been cleared for construction. The site is near where the old MacKenzie Bus Lines terminal was once located.

Previous information provided to town council indicated all of the units would be subsidized through deals with Housing Nova Scotia and the Western Regional Housing Authority.

A pedestrian walkway parallel to the driveway is proposed from the main entrance of the building to the existing sidewalk on Victoria Road, while trees will be retained wherever possible along the lot line where the development abuts properties near St. Phillips Street and Victoria Road.

"Where the retention of mature trees is not possible due to the limitations of construction, new trees will be planted to provide buffering from adjacent uses," a previous report to council indicated. "Where tree retention or planting is not feasible due to limited space, fences will be constructed to provide a visual buffer," adds the report.

The 2019 development contract also allows for a future two-storey, four-unit dwelling in the same area, but "would require going through the site plan approval process prior to proceeding to construction," a report to council said.

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