Some of the apartments are already occupied. ((CBC))

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says the city will look at the residential zoning near a chemical plant in the north of the city.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission turned down an appeal this week by BioVectra, the operators of the plant. BioVectra is concerned about the safety of apartments built next to its operation.

"The whole issue in this particular case raises a question about zoning in that particular area of the city," said Lee.

"We will be having our planning department look at the whole zoning in that particular area to see if there is more appropriate zoning."

The building is already up and people are living in most of the apartments.

BioVectra Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer that works with hazardous chemicals and other dangerous materials, claims the apartments are too close to its operation, and residents in the buildings would be in danger is there was ever an explosion or fire at the plant.

The city argued the land is zoned residential and the building meets the national building and fire codes.

In its ruling, IRAC said it had little choice, but it did express concerns about the location of the residential development.

"It must be the decision of the Commission to deny this appeal," the decision reads.

"However, this decision should not be regarded as an endorsement of the City's actions regarding public safety, the zoning of the property, or the siting of the apartment building."

BioVectra CEO Ron Keefe is frustrated with the ruling.

"In my view, IRAC is clearly stating that they are of the view that this is not a safe development and should not have been approved," said Keefe.

"Ultimately it's still a public safety issue, one that the city of Charlottetown should've dealt with properly."

Keefe said his company brought its concerns to the city's attention before the building permit was issued. He's considering further legal action.