A draft of the Centre Plan — a design manual to shape peninsular Halifax and Dartmouth within the Circumferential Highway — is expected by the end of 2016.
The plan, which has been in the works since 2006, touches on everything from the height of buildings, to transit options, to municipal parks. It will be used to update existing rules and regulations that have been in place since the late 1970s.
Municipal planners hosted an open house about the Centre Plan at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth Monday night. Attendees were encouraged to write suggestions on sticky notes that will be reviewed before the draft is presented to council in December.
"This is about updating ... bringing the current community into the planning process," said Jacob Ritchie, the manager of urban design for the municipality.
"What we see from people a little concerned is that they're not quite sure what's happening in their neighbourhoods, they're not quite sure the development that's coming in is what they expected and they would like a little more help understanding how we go about doing that work," he said.
Tom Emodi, a Halifax resident who works for TEAL Architects, says he's looking forward to one day having a solidified Centre Plan.
"If the process can be streamlined and the land use bylaws and other regulations can be simplified and made open and transparent and the timelines can be predictable, it would help everybody," said Emodi.
"It would help the landowners and the developers and the professionals working on projects and it would help the city a lot.
Room for improvement, variety
Matthew Burke stopped into the open house on his way home to Dartmouth.
He left a sticky note about improving transit connections to outlying communities.
"The communities are designed around you're going to have a car," said Burke. "That causes all sorts of problems with pollution and dividing communities."
Glynis Mullen, who's lived in downtown Dartmouth for 19 years, says she would like to see improvements on Wyse Road.
"Wyse Road is not a very attractive commercial area. I think we could do a lot there to bring people in," she said.
"I think mostly some updating and something to attract some different kind of stores rather than groceries and liquor stores and Tim Hortons. We have three of those on one block."