CBRM gives staff more power over changes to subdivision development
Planning department can now approve phases in Cossitt Heights without having to go to council for a vote
Cape Breton regional councillors have voted unanimously to allow a developer in Sydney, N.S., to build the phases of a residential subdivision out of chronological order.
Cossitt Heights Development has been building single-family homes, duplexes and 12-unit apartment blocks in a subdivision off Upper Prince Street.
The first two phase are underway and a few weeks ago, the company began work on Phase 4. But municipal building inspectors shut the work down because building had not yet started in Phase 3.
Cossitt Heights Development president Jim Kehoe said that was hard on his workers.
"There was 10 people home now without paycheques, so it's not the way to do business," he said.
The third phase included more single-family dwellings, but the developer told CBRM council on Tuesday that the market has changed.
The company said CBRM is now facing a housing crunch and there is greater demand for the apartment blocks and duplexes planned in Phase 4.
Councillors agreed with that and voted to allow staff to decide on the order of construction without having to come back to council for a vote.
Kehoe said that makes more business sense.
"This is great that the councillors approved this and now we can go forward ... and I think this will be the easiest community in Nova Scotia to do business with," he said.
"It's a huge change, because we've been trying to get this for 30 years."
Mayor Amanda McDougall said council understood the need to change the rules.
"Staff didn't have the authority to say, 'OK, you can flip around the stages and work on this phase here instead of this phase.' And so that's exactly what the purpose of today was, to make sure that staff have the authority to work with developers on developing large pieces of land and housing," she said.
Kehoe said work will resume on Phase 4 at Cossitt Heights as soon as CBRM lifts the stop-work order.
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