Nova Scotia

Developer drops appeal on heritage decision affecting Young Avenue homes

Developer George Tsimiklis has withdrawn his appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board against new development rules for Young Avenue in Halifax's south end.

Developer George Tsimiklis has withdrawn the appeal so he can pursue new plans for his properties

Some locals fought to keep the local character of Young Avenue intact as properties changed hands. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Developer George Tsimiklis has withdrawn his appeal to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board against new development rules for Young Avenue in Halifax's south end.

Tsimiklis had argued that changes approved by the Halifax community council do "not reasonably carry out the policies" of the city's planning strategy.

But he dropped the appeal Thursday. His lawyer, Michael Moore, notified the UARB in a letter dated May 10.

Moore said Tsmiklis's plans have significantly changed and he no longer needs to continue with the appeal. 

Tsimiklis has made an application to the municipality for a further amendment to the land-use bylaw that would allow him to increase the size of his lots on Young Avenue. He has also asked for approval to build larger homes on the properties.

This plan is more in line with the municipality's new development rules, said Moore.  

Cleveland Estate, also known as the 'wedding cake' house at 851 Young Avenue in Halifax, is one of the properties purchased by Tsimiklis. The house was later demolished. (Submitted)

"Common sense would tell me and hopefully other people that this is better use of the property. It's more consistent with a lot of the properties on Young Avenue," said Moore. 

"It appears to me to be consistent with what many of the residents on Young Avenue have been voicing previously to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board in the forms of letters or emails."

Moore is hopeful the municipality will approve his client's new application in the next few weeks or months so Tsimiklis doesn't miss another construction season. 

"The bottom line is people should not overlook what would be in the best long-term interest of Young Avenue and I believe that the proposed application for further amendment to the land use bylaw will result in larger lots, larger more stately homes more in keeping with the neighbourhood," said Moore.  

But the new plan doesn't sit will with some people who live in the area.

"Our position is that there is a bylaw now in place, we don't support anything other than something that is consistent with that bylaw," said Darrell Dixon who lives on Young Avenue. 

He said Tsimiklis's original plan was a bad one, his appeal to the UARB was "frivolous" and his new plan isn't good either.

"Mr. Moore and Mr. Tsimiklis's rose-coloured glasses are really fixated on profit and greed. They're not talking about improving the streetscape and the grandeur of the street. They're talking about improving their bottom line."

Dixon said Tsimiklis still doesn't understand the history of the area, the community that lives on the street or the intent of the new bylaw.    

Character and heritage of Young Avenue

George and Steve Tsimiklis bought two large mansions on Young Avenue in 2016, including one known as the Cleveland estate.

The houses were torn down and the lots consolidated with a couple of properties located directly behind on McLean Street. The developers were given a subdivision permit to construct 14 single-family homes on the site.

But others living along Young Avenue lobbied the municipality to come up with rules to protect the character and heritage of the neighbourhood, with its tree-lined boulevard and large homes surrounded by wide expanses of lawns and gardens.

This house, at 825 Young Ave., was one of the houses purchased and demolished by Tsimiklis. (CBC)

The amendments were approved by the community council on Sept. 12. They include:

  • An increase in the required minimum lot frontage to 24.4 metres of continuous street frontage.
  • An increase in the required minimum lot size to 743.2 square metres.
  • An increase in the required minimum lot width to 24.4 metres.

Increases to the lot depth and side yard size were also included. Under the rules, Coun. Waye Mason had said Tsimiklis could still build the 14 houses he had proposed for Young Avenue. He won't be allowed to make a number of multi-unit dwellings though.

With files from Pam Berman and Jon Tattrie