NS: New HRM Charter changes support planning, affordable housing


Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) now has the authority to carry out more flexible planning, implement faster development approvals, and generate more affordable housing and other community improvements that will benefit residents, according to a statement.

Changes to the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter expand the municipality’s power to use bonus zoning and site planning tools throughout the peninsula and in Dartmouth within the Circumferential Highway.

Until now, these tools were limited to use in the downtown Halifax area. The changes became effective Feb. 4.

“These changes give the municipality the flexibility it needs to move forward with strategic development,” said Mark Furey, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “We are pleased residents of HRM will see additional community benefits as a result of these changes.”

Site plan approval provides clear, consistent, predictable policies for development. Its faster approval process has been proven to encourage development and increase economic activity.

Incentive or bonus zoning is a strategic planning tool used by municipal governments to secure community benefits from developers, including affordable housing.

“The proclamation of Bill 83 provides Halifax with a greater range of tools to advance planning and development applications in the Regional Centre,” said Mayor Mike Savage. “These new land-use planning tools will advance affordable housing and other public benefits while also streamlining and simplifying approvals for new construction.”

“This offers one additional tool to create affordable housing in HRM,” said Kevin Malloy, CEO of Housing Nova Scotia. “We look forward to working with our municipal partner to bring the greatest benefits to the community.”

The changes support and help advance the province’s first long-term, affordable housing strategy.

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