Nova Scotia

Nature Trust wins zoning appeal

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is celebrating a victory in a zoning dispute with Halifax Regional Municipality.

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is celebrating a victory in a zoning dispute with Halifax Regional Municipality.

The provincial regulator has ruled that the Nature Trust has the right to sell three lots of land on Moody Lake in Williamswood, outside Halifax.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board released its decision on Tuesday.

"We're delighted the utility and review board has recognized HRM made a zoning error," Bonnie Sutherland, the trust's executive director, told CBC News.

In 1997, the environmental stewardship organization was given the land as an asset to sell. There was a mapping error, however, and the land was later zoned as protected and therefore could not be sold.

"The lands in question are small urban lots surrounded by houses," said Sutherland. "We are delighted we now have the ability to honour the gift of those assets."

The group needed the lots rezoned from conservation to residential to proceed with the sale. But last September, the western region community council voted against the move.

The Nature Trust appealed the ruling to the review board.

In her ruling to overturn the council's decision, UARB board member Dawna Ring said the lots do not meet the requirements for a protected area under HRM's own municipal planning strategy.

Sutherland said the Nature Trust is now considering its options, which include holding, selling or trading the lots.

The land was donated to the Nature Trust by Darlene Stone, and her late husband, Jack.

"I am delighted, absolutely delighted, that the zoning has been changed back to where it was supposed to be," she said Tuesday.

"I hope that eventually the Nature Trust will be able to realize quite a bit of money out of selling the land in order to obtain some land that is of significance environmentally."

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