Charlottetown aims to balance development and heritage in historic downtown

Charlottetown's planning department is getting closer to bringing changes to the city's 500-lot plan.

Council will see some amendments in March

Charlottetown's downtown has extra rules around its planning. (Downtown Charlottetown Inc./Twitter)

Charlottetown's planning department is getting closer to bringing changes to the 500-lot plan.

The document outlines rules and regulations for development in the historic downtown area. It has been in place since 2013, but staff feel it needs an update, and have been reviewing it. 

Planning in Charlottetown's downtown is challenging says Alex Forbes, manager of planning and heritage for the city. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

The department met with the business community this past fall, and Tuesday night they met with the Charlottetown Downtown Residents Association. 

The business community is concerned about the process of applying to develop in downtown, and that is something the city is looking to make easier, said Forbes. 

"There's a lot of requirements to provide detailed drawings, design review process, an architect looks at your project," he said.

"The concern was they go through that process, but they want to make sure after they spent all of this money that there's a good likelihood that they'll get an approval."

Residents concerned for old buildings

At Tuesday night's meeting there were a lot of questions from residents about older buildings being torn down. 

"There's a good many properties in the downtown that aren't designated [heritage]. We're trying to review if we do encounter a situation if a building is not designated, but it is a significant building," Forbes said 

 "We just want to make sure that there are mechanisms  in place for the right decision maker — it will likely be council — to make the decision of what should happen in those circumstances."

Many downtown residents at this meeting Tuesday night had concerns about older buildings in the area. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

The department is also aiming to merge the 500-lot plan with the waterfront plan, which was done the year before, to make planning for developers in the downtown area more seamless.

There will be more public hearings on the changes before any changes are made, said Forbes, and many would have to go through a legal process through the province.

He said staff are expected to bring some suggested amendments forward to council in March. 


Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.