New Brunswick

Rothesay council holds public hearing on condominium complex

A condominium complex proposal in Rothesay is getting some backlash from residents.

The 65-unit complex requires a zoning change from single family to multi-family residential

The 65-unit complex includes two 24-unit buildings and a number of buildings with one to three units. (A.E. McKay Builders)

A vacant lot on Hillcrest Drive and Hampton Road in the town of Rothesay is causing public debate.

There is a proposal to make the four-acre property the site of a 65-unit condominium complex.

A zoning amendment is required for the project to go ahead. Currently, the land is approved as single family residential and A.E. McKay Builders hope to get the zoning changed to multi-family residential.

The town has received at least 15 letters from residents who don't want high-density dwellings in their neighbourhood. In fact, there was such a large response to the proposal that the town moved a public hearing from the town hall to the larger Rothesay High School.

'It seems to us to be extreme'

Stephen Palmer believes there is only room for four to 15 units in the four-acre space. (Roger Cosman/CBC)
Stephen Palmer lives across the street from the proposed site. He and his wife moved into the neighbourhood three years ago, and chose it for its character.

He's never written a letter to council before, but he said the condo proposal compelled him to do so.

"We love the area and we're supportive of higher density of dwellings for seniors and that sort of thing, but we just think this particular proposal is too dense, is extreme."

He is one of the residents who sent a letter to council, stating the lot could feasibly hold four to 15 units, but no more. He said 65 units on four acres is unreasonable.

"In our view, it is an extreme departure from the character and likely evolution over time for this area, and will negatively affect our enjoyment of being a homeowner at our current location," the letter read, in part.

A need for the condo complex

Many residents are concerned that the development will affect traffic flow and ruin the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. (A.E. McKay Builders)
Joe Bent, a development consultant for A.E. McKay, said the project was requested by a number of people looking for that sort of living experience.

"We have a list of well over 30 people and they're either retired, semi-retired, or about to retire.

"It's designed basically for that demographic."

According to Bent, that is what drove developer Andrew McKay to come up with the plans in the first place. He kept getting requests from older people looking to move into a condo, where they wouldn't have to worry as much about maintenance work as they aged.

That argument won over seller Sharon Long, who said the land had been in her family for more than 100 years and she wouldn't have sold it if she didn't agree with what they were going to do.

She said there is a need for multi-unit housing for seniors and the condo project will help meet that need.

Bent said A.E. McKay is willing to take serious concerns into account and the plan may be modified in the future to account for some of these concerns.