Anne McShane, former chair of the PlanSJ citizen advisory committee, says she put two-and-a-half years of her life into the municipal plan that council seemed to ignore on Tuesday. (City of Saint John)

The former chair of PlanSJ's citizen advisory committee says she is frustrated with the way city council dealt with a development proposal earlier this week and worries about the precedent it has set.

Anne McShane contends some councillors gave little thought to the new municipal plan — the city's blue print for growth — in approving the housing development for the Glen Falls area.

The subdivision for 80 mini-homes on the city's east side falls just outside the PlanSJ zone designated for residential development.

"They were so dismissive of that plan," it seemed like they had made up their mind well before Tuesday's public hearing, said McShane.

City planning staff had previously recommended the development be denied, as did the city's planning advisory committee.

Not only does it fall outside the residential development zone, there are also concerns it will add pressure to the only road leading into the neighbourhood and that it will contribute to storm runoff and flooding in the area.

Voted not to hear from city staff

But the majority of council voted not to hear a presentation from city planning staff after listening to three formal presentations on behalf of the developer.

Instead, council voted unanimously to approve the development and seemed to have nothing but praise for the project and developers.

"Planning advisory committees will come and go, so will councillors. But the staff are the keepers of that plan," said McShane.

"And when they opted not to hear from them, I really thought that was a disservice to the community who made this plan."

McShane wonders what this will mean for future proposals.

"That made me nervous of what that means for the future of it," she said. "This is a plan that the community came together with over two years and there was some hard discussions and some big debate that went down."

Developer Kemel Debly and his consultant Rick Turner have said the project will employ 28 people for about 18 months.

They contend an underground containment system will mean less runoff from the property than there is now, without the development.