Downtown Charlottetown apartment development faces another hurdle
APM CEO Tim Banks says he still plans to begin construction by spring despite appeal of approval
A Prince Edward Island developer is standing his ground after Charlottetown condo owners appealed the approval of his plan to build an apartment complex in the city's downtown to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
The appeal was issued Friday by a lawyer on behalf of the condo corporation at Rochford Condominiums to APM Group CEO Tim Banks. APM Group wants to build a four-storey apartment building on Richmond Street, located next to the condominiums.
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Rochford Condominiums is asking the regulatory commission to review the city's recent decision to approve the 23-unit, four-storey apartment building at 55 and 59 Richmond Street proposed to council earlier this year.
In the summer, council voted against the project proceeding to the public consultation phase. The mayor had raised concerns about the proposed apartment building's proximity to the condominiums next door.
Banks later filed an appeal with the regulatory commission. But before that review happened, councillors voted unanimously to rescind their original vote, and a public consultation went ahead in November.
Appeal to review bylaw amendment
Banks was also approved for a site-specific bylaw amendment to the downtown neighbourhood zone as the existing zoning only allows for buildings up to three storeys.
But in the recent appeal filed by Rochford Condominiums, they argue the city failed to apply "sound planning principles" in approving the bylaw amendment.
Dan Hurnik, president of the condo corporation at Rochford Condominiums, said he had no comment on the appeal other than he was "disappointed with the city's decision" to allow the project to go through and that he hopes the "will of the residents is respected."
Hurnik has previously expressed concern over how close the new building would be to the existing units, and the challenges it would create with parking.
Developer vows to break ground in April
Banks said he's not surprised by the appeal and that it makes no difference to him.
"When the end of April comes, whether we have a building permit or not, we will be digging a hole and building the building," he said, and added his company will slow down the appeal process as much as possible.
Banks argued that the city is in desperate need of affordable housing options, and that's he's already made several compromises to his project including setting the property line back five feet and removing some balconies on the complex.
"People want it and there is a need for it in Charlottetown and if people in the building next door want to take a bunch of lawyers and fight it, then they're welcome to do that."
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With files from Katerina Georgieva