Saint John council will consider a contentious 80-lot housing development proposal on Tuesday night that was voted down by the city’s planning advisory committee.
The controversial housing development is proposed for the Glen Falls area and has been rejected by both the planning advisory committee and city planning staff.
But council does not have to follow the recommendations of its advisory committee or staff as it considers the proposal on Tuesday night.
The Glen Falls area of the city has repeatedly faced significant flooding over the years.
Debly Enterprises, the development's parent company, has promised a storm water management plan, including a system to temporarily capture and store runoff water.
Coun. David Merrithew said he will support the housing development project as long as he is satisfied with the storm management plan.
'We've got to have people building. If this is going to be OK regards to water and flooding, then I'm all for it.' — Coun. David Merrithew
Merrithew said the housing development will create additional tax revenue that is badly needed in the city.
"Building permits in the City of Saint John have declined two years in a row, quite dramatically," he said.
"We've got to have people building. If this is going to be OK regards to water and flooding, then I'm all for it," Merrithew added.
The company said the project would generate $7 million in additional tax assessment base for the city.
The councillor said it's not a problem the proposed subdivision lies just outside the area zoned for development by PlanSJ. It requires an amendment to the municipal plan in order to go ahead.
Glen Falls resident concerned about flooding
Several neighbours have also raised concerns to the city about how the development might add to flooding in Glen Falls.
John Coffey has seen a lot of water in his east Saint John neighbourhood over the past 40 years.
Coffey said his main concern about a proposed housing development is that it might bring more runoff water.
"Any time that you take away ground cover, whether it's here or anywhere on this east side, you're going to have more flooding," Coffey said.
Saint John has looked at ways to minimize flooding in the Glen Falls area in the past and the city even looked at relocating residents who live in the flood-prone area.
A city report said more than 150 homes are in a one-in-five or one-in-10 year flood-risk zone. The report said it would cost $5 million to just purchase the 63 homes in the one-in-five year flood-risk zone.
The city report stated that some amount of flooding will continue in the area no matter what is done to control it.